My Favourite 48 Natalie Imbruglia songs

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For my money, Natalie Imbruglia is the best female pop artist since the mid nineties. As Glancers will know by now, for me emotion and honesty are more important than originality or fitting in with the current musical scene. Imbruglia fits these personal criteria as well as having a superb, appealing, harmonious voice and being an all round great human and bad-ass. I was a fan from day one. Scratch that, I was a fan from her Neighbours days, long before she hit the charts with her multi-million selling debut. Most people know her for the smash hit Torn and… that’s about it. As great as that song is, it only hints at her talent – the real deal would come out in White Lilies Island her second record which I have called (and continue to call) one of the best albums of all time. It genuinely is – do yourself a favour and get it now – melancholy, brutal, euphoric pop at its finest. A bunch of complete morons gave it, seriously, gave it bad reviews. Jesus wept.

Since then her general popularity has waned, no doubt due in part to a less than frequent series of releases. Five albums (including one entirely of covers) in twenty years isn’t great, but the general quality of those more than makes up for those missing years. Sort of. She has also recorded a large number of B-Sides and rarities, the best of which would make at least one more superb album. From the indie Brit-pop rock of Left Of The Middle, the majesty of White Lilies Island, the mature pop of Counting Down The Days, and even the much maligned Come To Life and covers album Male, Imbruglia has carver her own path and deserves a hell of a lot more exposure and critical acclaim than she has received thus far. I’m giving links to Youtube for each song, where there is a single I’ll give the official video link and the album track as there are usually differences. Here is a rough list of my favourite Imbruglia songs. Listen and love!

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48. Only Love Can Break Your Heart

We kick off our list with a cover from Male. This droopy-bass heavy is a slow effort with not a lot of exterior instrumentation which suits the downbeat grunge feeling of Neil Young’s original. I will say this – Male is not an album I am super familiar with yet and while a number of songs immediately leaped out at me others did not have the same impact. Songs like this one which I enjoy now may drop out of the list if I was to write it in a year’s time and likewise others which have not been included here could appear. Today is today though, and this is how I feel. I also feel warm, because I’m writing this on a train filled with sweaty types.

47. Goodbye In His Eyes

If you’re a regular glancer on my blog you’ll probably know I’m not much of a country fan. Country music is an inherent US product, yet also oddly a Northern Irish one. Country music is everywhere in my home crust Earth and I’m biased in that I associate the whole stinking genre with either idiots, scumbags, people who don’t really care about music, or people who refuse to listen to any other type of music. Massive stereotyping ahoy! I do like this as it doesn’t contain the usual whining guitar or vocals which is prevalent in the genre. I haven’t heard the original at the time of writing, but I’ll get to it.

46. Identify

Natalie Imbruglia. Patricia Arquette. Billy Corgan. Blood. This cut from the movie Stigmata is one I liked a lot more around the time that movie came out. I think it’s a movie and a song I thought I liked more than I actually ever did – both are things I wanted to like more but they’re just okay. The song is better than the film; it’s smokey and mysterious and dreamy, almost like a lost Portishead song. It’s a song that doesn’t really sound like anything else Imbruglia has ever done, aside from one song which will appear later on my list. The various contributors to the song are each masters at their craft and ensure it is a ghostly partner to the film it fits. I do love the line ‘am I lonely or am I just alive?’

45. My God

The opening song to Come To Life – Imbruglia’s first album in x years had a lot to live up to for me. It sort of sets the tone of the album in that there isn’t really a tone. Come To Life’s main problem is that it feels like a collection of leftovers or experiments – main problem is that it feels like a collection of leftovers or experiments – My God a pulsating, thronging pop punk thing with strange noises and spirited vocals. It works, but it doesn’t work as well as it could and doesn’t compare favourably with her opening tracks. Still, I include it here because it is an interesting effort.

44. Lukas

The second track from Come To Life goes off in a tonally and totally different direction from the first – this one clearly a Coldplay song with their usual mixture of simpering mistakes and pseudo-Radiohead bating. Imbruglia adds a smooth layer of quality, slicing out any pretension and leaving a light, jolly song which is better than I thought it would be.

43. Stuck On The Moon

The first of the new tracks recorded for Imbruglia’s greatest hits album Glorious to appear on my list, Stuck On The Moon has lovely, poetic flourishes in the lyrics and a fine juxtaposition between the cascading piano and clattering drums. It would have been sad to end her musical career at this point as this song proves she was as capable of crafting a simple yet catchy pop song as anyone.

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42. Wishing I Was There

I’ll let you in on a secret; I’m not a huge fan of Imbruglia’s first album. I like it, obviously, but it doesn’t compare with her second and third, and as such there won’t be many songs from it on my list. This is probably the best example of her twisting the indie sound of the era to her own means. It’s a little bit Morrissette, and a little bit Brit-Pop, but fluid, fun, and the chorus –like many on the album, is designed to be ear sherbet. When you get to the end of the list you’ll see which songs from her debut were left off in favour of this one – I simply find this one more fun.

41. City

As above, this one merges independent the rawk girl sound which emerged in the 90s with Imbruglia’s own captivating presence and uniquely sweet vocals. This song feels a little more progressive or different from the more obvious hits on her debut, it still has its heavy indie moments but is infused with jazz and mystery and the sombre undertones which would characterize her next album.

40. Just Another Day

Out of all her B-Sides ad rarities, this one feels most Brit-pop, going as far as reminding me of Robbie Williams back when he was starting his solo career by stealing from Oasis. This was actually a B-Side to That Day so that particular era was long turned over to dust by the time it was released. I’m convinced this was written earlier though and that sound was retained, even if a few touches of instrumental colour were added near the end of the song to expand its sound. All that being said, it’s a bowl full of sunshine, whatever that means.

39. My Own Movie

What I loved about discovering all of the B-Sides and rarities is the variety. Yes, they all still fall into the rock/pop/girl and guitars category, but the songwriting and general styles vary and there seems to be more freedom or less restrictions on what the song needs to be. This one seems to start like a downbeat ballad before the booming chorus floats those notions away. I love the chorus harmonies/filler vocal bits, the jangling guitars, and the strangeness which is allowed to lurk in the melody.

38. Sanctuary

This is arguably the happiest, most obviously joyful song Imbruglia has recorded and I defy anyone who listens to it to not smile throughout. Lyrically, I’m not really sure what’s going on – suggestions of stress and speed and crap with Imbruglia offering herself as an anchor in the storm. The verses are fine, but the chorus is pure grinning heroine. Harmonies, guitars, strings, melodies, happiness!

37. Pigeons And Crumbs

The first expansive song on her debut and another which hints that she was already demanding to break out of the overall sound of that album. The verse vocals are sung in little girl lost style which somehow doesn’t annoy, rather it incredibly adds to the song. Imbruglia may be the only singer who sings in a prominent accent which never irritates me. This is still a simple verse, chorus, verse album track, but it evokes a more epic scope thanks to some angelic production and layering.

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36. I Will Follow You Into The Dark

I’ll admit again here and now to not having heard the original, knowingly at least. I checked and saw it was by Death Cab For Cutie – a band I don’t know much about but remember laughing at their name when I first heard it. I still don’t know much about them but I admit I lumped them in with a bunch of other pop rock for children American acts which have been charting in recent years. The strength of this cover makes me want to listen to the original and see if the band has any good stuff. I imagine anyone who can write the line ‘Lover mine, some day you will die, I’ll be close behind, I’ll Follow You Into The Dark’ must be a decent writer because, God, that line really gets me every time. Imbruglia’s delivery along with the music and melody seal the deal, and I’ll admit to being tearful when I first listened.

35. Left Of The Middle

The title track closes the debut, the softest, quietest song on the album but one rich with feeling as Imbruglia yearns for the lover she is yet to find. It’s a great vocal performance, gentle in the verses, stretching to breaking point with each renewed chorus. It’s a very simple song but she again proves you don’t need to have complex structures to get a wealth of emotion and quality across.

34. Apologise

A song recorded for Come To Life and written with the singer from British band Ben’s Brother. That band decided to release their version first so Natalie kept her one as a rarity. Again, I haven’t heard Ben’s Brother’s version but this one is great – love the build up to the chorus and the chorus has a fantastic hook. Come To Life is a short album and there’s definitely room for this one to be included. Again the vocals find and highlight the emotion of the lyrics beautifully and the closing chorus where she half-shouts, half-sings is glorious.

33. Only You

This one opens with some dark, ambient, warbling electronic sound – like ears filling with water. The vocals come in cleanly and plainly, work through a double pre-chours thing before giving way to gentle guitars and a lovely chorus. The song basically repeats everything above but with greater power in those repetitions. It’s all lovely.

32. Fun

You probably know, or can guess I’m not a Coldpay fan, mainly because they’re shite. I didn’t mind their first album but everything since has been pale and bland and painful attempts at cloning Bends-era Radiohead. Normally I wouldn’t mind such things, but it’s so blatant and so clearly missing the point that it’s laughable. But people like them, so fine. Credit where it’s due though, this is a fine song but you can instantly tell it’s Coldplay thanks to that piano and beat and rhythm which appear in several of their biggest singles. Imbruglia does her best to make it her own and I much prefer her vocals to how I imagine Chris Martin would yawn his way through it.

31. Goodbye

Much of White Lilies Island is sombre and soaked in melancholy, though generally the music covers the angst of the lyrics. Not so with Goodbye – lyrically and musically it is inward looking and despair fuelled, the despair of love voided. We’ve all been there, whether concerning love or loss, the well-meaning comments which suffocate and further distance us, the anger crushed by sadness, and the utter confusion. The lyrics are mumbled semi-coherant thoughts, the verses droned into the bottom of a glass, and the chorus the shattering of said glass against a wall.

30. Perfectly

‘When I say it doesn’t matter, it matters most of all’. We’ve all seen those silly women cliché posts on social media or in decorative shops – ‘Things a woman says and what she really means’. That opening line always reminds me of such things, but not in a negative way. You can guess then that we have more contradictions in the lyrics, but musically this features the summery guitar driven pop which is a central feature of Counting Down The Days. The melodies and chorus don’t grab or reach as much as others on the list, but the overall warmth of the song ensures you come back for more.

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29. That Girl

That Girl always reminds me of a Motown track, the jangled guitars, the beat, the horns in the introduction – it all has the vibe of a Supremes song. The lyrics seem to speak of the multiple personalities we adopt to cope with the many facets of life forced upon us or which we have to cope with – one face for romance, a face for fans, one for friends, family, the smiles and acts which we hone over time for a variety of reasons until one day we see ourselves performing these perversions but fail to recognise the actions as our own. It’s a classy song with lovely harmonies and a great chorus to boot.

28. Always Never

Speaking of contradictions, this one is driven by such thoughts – the clue is in the title. This one is a perfect mixture of evocative vocal performance and verse to chorus melodic wonder. The lyrics are very nice too, once again speaking of the inner and outer self and an inability to cope with that balance until misery becomes the preferable solution.

27. All The Magic

Sounding like a cut from Counting Down The Days, All The Magic is as pure and easy as you could wish for – acoustic guitars and Natalie’s voice dancing through the verses. The pre-chours comes in suddenly, and then the chorus soars into the sky taking the corners of your mouth with it. Yeah, you’re going to smile at this one as it forces you to remember your first love – those excited feelings about getting ready to meet, about catching one another smiling across a room, about allowing your defenses to come down and your feelings to be shared.

26. Be With You

This is how you do piano drive pop – a very simple descending piano line leading in to soft electronic beats and a basic, short verse. It all serves the chorus, it all sounds like typical happy pop stuff except she’s saying ‘I don’t want to live if I don’t want to be with you’. This reminds me of some of the Lifeblood era Manic Street Preachers stuff, at least in terms of production and melody. Regardless, it’s another one which never fails to make me smile. And hop about.

25. All The Roses

The last great song from Come To Life is this brooding, bleeding ballad. It’s slow, led by unusual electronic hums and beeps and punctuated by alarm bell piano. With most of the music stripped back you get a clear shot of the vocals – strong throughout with the best moments coming in the bridge before the final chorus. I like how the song unearths a subtle beat in the final moments which threatens to build and turn into some dance track – instead a little violin takes over and the song comes to an abrupt end.

24. Do You Love

We stay in darker territory, which means we must be back on White Lilies Island. This is a mixture of low register guitars, soul-churning strings, and mournful vocals. The pre-chorus goes grunge, the chorus goes stadium rock, and the song instantly lands in my favourite’s list. The volume and backing sound continues to grow, all the way to the massive final chorus. You should know by now that this album is essential and almost everything on it is fantastic – this song should reach out to a multitude of fans of different genres – like all good music it doesn’t matter what your preference is, you just hear and appreciate.

23. Counting Down The Days (official video)

A sad song about distance, a happy song about looking forward to being together again. This one kind of lost out a little when the single trimmed parts of an already short song – stick to the album version. It starts out as a tear-jerker with John Lennon’s Imagine piano and Imbruglia’s vocals bemoaning the fact that she is apart from the ones she loves, but holy crap the pre-chorus with it’s tiny guitar piece, and the chorus itself are exquisite. Moving back into the verse feels like a come down meaning the song plays a little with your emotions and expectations – none of which I have a problem with. Then the Christmas/Wedding bells come in at the end to confuse me even more. Still time for one last Hawaiian guitar bit and another chorus!

22. Against The Wall

My favourite new song from her Glorious Greatest Hits album is one which wastes no time – thronging guitar chords and more summery melodies. Imbruglia is a master of that segue-way from verse and chorus as I have written about already and this is another prime example. It can fall apart if you don’t have a pay-off in the chorus, luckily here all three pieces are flawless. You already know I love the bridge too.

21. Friday I’m In Love

What can you do to a beloved The Cure classic to make it your own? Why this of course. Whatever the hell this is, that’s precisely what you do. It’s a little bit country, a little bit weird, and a hundred percent marvellous. As mentioned earlier, some of the songs from Male may go up and down drastically in my preferences as I’m not as familiar with them as everything else but I don’t see me ever not liking this. The first time I listened to this I almost literally laughed my balls off. I mean I laughed, yes, but then a few minutes later as I was driving some old fucker pulled out in front of me leaving me with no choice but to pound the breaks futilely and smash into him. My balls remained in check, and in sack, but my car was a write off. True story. Do I like this more than the original? That’s hard to say – they almost feel like different songs. In the end, both give me the same feeling of euphoria, and that’s all that matters. It’s an achievement because it includes two things I hate – Country music and hand claps – yet it’s inexplicably wonderful. SATURDAYYYY – WAIT!

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20. Talk In Tongues

We need to calm down after that last one – back to White Lilies Island for another downbeat, heads-down-walk-in-perpetual-rain-uphill-to-nowhere song. This opens a little like Lucky by Radiohead – similar guitars for a few seconds anyway. There are bizarre little moments throughout, little digitized ticks and strange jangles, and explosive vocals blast in the bridge where the song changes almost entirely, only to be pulled back down by the old-black-and-white-movie strings to the somber chorus once more.

19. Shiver (Official video)

Pop perfection. Imbruglia announced her return with this first single from her third album, a song which ended up being the most played on British radio in 2005 apparently. I don’t recall it being played at all. I assume then you’ve heard it, but if not get listening now. There’s the usual sense of melancholy, but it’s more underplayed here thanks to the warmth of the melody.

18. Instant Crush (official video)

Covers are funny things. I had not heard the original by Daft Punk, and I’ve never been a huge Daft Punk fan anyway. After hearing people raving about the original I went back to it and found it too twee. Imbruglia’s version feels much more emotional to me, or at least it speaks to me much more. That’s the funny thing about cover versions – we usually like whatever version of a song we hear first. Thanks for writing the original guys, but Natalie beefs it up into a soul-searching, heart-rending ballad and blows your one away.

17. Torn (official video)

If you were around in the 90s you heard this song. You saw the video. Presumably you fell in love with the song and the singer. It’s perfect, but I’ve heard it so many times and it’s such a part of the public consciousness that it doesn’t top my list. Technically a cover, it’s Imbruglia’s entirely – can you think of any other version which comes close to this? If I’m picky I prefer a live version without those silly digitized drums. My favourite parts? The way she changes the vocal slightly for one of the final ‘I’m cold’ lines and the way she sings the first ‘That’s what’s going on’. I don’t know why.

16. I Won’t Be Lost

Lovely lovely lovely. One of my favourite vocals from her, mainly because the lyrics have so many vowel sounds and soft sounds – row, vertigo, unaware, billionaire – and the way her accent tackles them is gorgeous. Then there is the pleading, breathy delivery. Then there’s the superb ‘Don’t you give up on me’ section. I will understand fully if people see this as boring, but for me it’s among her best ballads, beautiful, sweet, defiant.

15. Twenty

When this kicked off Come To Life on my first listen, my first thought was ‘Holy Heavens, she’s done it again’. The album as a whole doesn’t live up to this first track, but it’s a brilliant opener and should have been a single. There’s enough of a beat to dance to it or blast from your stereo, it has the mixture of love, hope, and sadness that she conveys so well, it has glorious backing strings, and a chorus which deserves to be performed live by thousands of adoring fans.

14. Hide Behind The Sun

We’re now at that point in the list where the songs are all so good and I love them so much that there isn’t much difference between them. This B-Side to Wrong Impression could easily have made it on to White Lilies Island – it certainly fits the general anguish and strength coursing through that album. This is absolutely gorgeous, note-perfect piano, flawless vocals, I love how the strings and guitars drift in and fade away, I love the weird wind instrument piece in the middle – everything is so underplayed as if she just walked into the studio one day and announced she’d written a new song and the band added their own pieces in a single take.

13. Scars

My favourite song from Come To Life is a ballad and was planned as the second single. I’m not sure how well it would have performed, yet in our current climate of bland Adele love pap, this one deserved to soar to the top of the charts. The lyrics have a wealth of honesty, you can feel each word like a slash at the wrist, the performance an undressing of bandages and a presentation of the scars. It’s simple, brutal, wonderful. There is a more up-tempo, earlier version out there but I’ve only heard live versions of it – I prefer the album take.

12. Smoke (official video)

My favourite song from Left Of The Middle, and the first sign that Imbruglia was much more than a pretty face and a decent singer. Smoke is entirely apart from everything else on that album – unnerving, majestic, cryptic, mesmeric. It’s also a greater vocal performance than anything else on her debut, but for me it’s all about the mystery and fear which is conjured. When the strings come in and the volume increasing around the ‘you’re pushing me’ line – my gawd. For the longest time I assumed she would not top this, but then White Lilies Island came out and.. well, you’ll see.

11. Starting Today

The opening track of Counting Down The Days just missed out on my top ten. That’s meaningless though because this is another nigh-on perfect song. A song of realization, opening your eyes to your self, your worth, and what is on front of you, a song of moving on, on leaving behind but not looking over your shoulder, looking ahead, head held high. Each time I hear this I forget how slow it is – something about it makes it seems faster than it actually is. Favourite part here? ‘Eve-RE-day, ev-RE-day, ev-RE-day-ee!’

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10. Come On Home

Top ten now, and we start hitting songs that have some weird single moments that I love – putting them in my personal pantheon of best single moments in music. For Come On Home that moment occurs late in the song when Imbruglia suddenly wails on one of the last ‘Come on homes’. It’s completely unexpected and brilliant, for me at least. I don’t see anyone else getting as much joy out of that moment as me, but it helps to push the song high on my list. The rest of the song is great, that goes without saying, mid-rock, plenty of pounding pianos and chugging guitars.

9. Satellite (live acoustic)

Remember I mentioned earlier about happiest songs? Well, this may be one of the happiest songs by anyone, ever. None of that Pharell balls. If you don’t find yourself repeating the ‘do-di-do’s then you need to be put down, stat. Every single note here is joyous, heavenly. You can feel the smiles in her vocals. There’s a cyclical nature to this song and several others on White Lilies Island – you know, songs that start out a certain way and end the exact same way? I don’t just mean verse chorus verse, I’m talking a complete mirror – intro, verse, chorus, verse, outro. Enough of that nonsense, this is just fun beyond words.

8. Wrong Impression (official video)

Another hit single now, albeit one which starts out with a hilarious fake classical intro. Man, I love the pronunciation on some of the ‘I want you’ lyrics. This is another sublimely sunny song, especially given the general dark tones of the album. What else do I love? The key change at the end, standard pop fare I know, but it works even better here. Also, the dragged out ‘didn’t want to leeeeeavve you there’.

7. What’s The Good In Goodbye

It’s another example of those times when the B-Side is as good as, if not better than the single. This is better than Counting Down The Days – both terrific songs, but this one is special. Sure on the surface it’s another soulful ballad about lost love, but it’s so damn genuine and drenched in truth and feeling that it’s painfully universal. Every melody is perfect, the simplicity doesn’t require a single extra note or instrument, she does that cool vowel thing that I love when she sings ‘no’, ‘go’, ‘know’, and ‘hello’ and the chorus with its central lyric will rummage its way around your brain for days after a single listen.

6. When You’re Sleeping

Another track which begins with extravagant strings, which you should know by now I’m a sucker for, and then leads into what seems to be a depressed verse until you realise the the lyrics are actually positive and touching. Another brilliant vocal, just acoustic guitar, Natalie, and the strings, an entirely charming song to melt the stoniest soul.

5. Shikaiya

It’s only in relatively recent years that I tracked down Natalie Imbruglia’s b-sides and rarities. I knew Identify and Glorious from their respective releases, but I never bought any of her singles even though I bought each album around the time of release. I can’t remember what b-side I heard first, but the moment I heard this one I knew that she was one of a select few artists capable of recording varying material which could be just as strong as her album tracks and singles. I’m not talking just a handful of flukes, but at least an album’s worth of rarities which would be just as good as any of her official releases. Shikaiya is one of the finest B-Sides (here it’s the B-Side for That Day) I’ve ever heard, an unashamedly beautiful ode, a song of new life, new love, of dedication, one to play surrounded by blue skies, white sand, and blistering sunlight.

4. Everything Goes

White Lilies Island again, and another one of those cyclical, perfectly symmetrical songs. By this point in the album you already know it’s an all time classic, songs like this popping up everywhere. By this point in the list I don’t need to explain how I feel about these songs or how good they are – perfect verses, perfect pre-chorus and chorus, guitars, strings, vocals, everything. I love how chaotic the chorus gets and then how the verse sucks everything back in and calms the mood, I love how she switches up which part of the chorus comes first each time around, and I love how it ends as it began.

3. That Day (Official video)

I still remember the first time I heard That Day – the first single from White Lilies Island. I caught the video and was immediately smitten – it was very different from her previous stuff and had a more mature and dense sound – the 90s were long gone and this was Imbruglia’s personal blend of pop and rock, still replete with everything that made her special. The video is pretty great too, simple but a sign of the defiance and spark of the album – everyone and everything pushing against her but she is walking on regardless – a simple motif, but it works. The album version is of course superior but the single gets the jist across – great riffs and melodies, but my highlights are simply how many words there are in the song meaning the vocals become a frantic rushing of thoughts. My second highlight is the way the line ‘I lay down beside myself’ is changed every single time – a different inflection, or word selected to pronounce more heavily or emphasize, or give it slight melodic twist. What the hell – my third highlight – which shouldn’t really count, are the bizarre overdubbed harmonies on ‘it’s supposed like this’. They sound like mistakes which were accidentally left in, but again they somehow work.

2. Come September

White Lilies Island comes to a close with this downpouring of loveliness. The opening drums suggest it will be a heavier affair but then the swooning guitars and vocals join in and we know this is more of a mini epic ballad. Her vocals are never more angelic than here, the way she pronounces the word ‘die’ is maybe my favourite moment in any of her songs and yet the rest of the song is filled with similar little moments. It all feels so effortless, from the subtle introduction of the strings to the chinking piano loops, to the celebratory key change leading into the final verse. The lyrics are wonderful too, my only issue though is that I hate September and can’t bring myself to agree that everything wrong’s gonna be alright come September.

  1. Hurricane

My number one song has basically been my number one since I heard it, and yes we’re staying on White Lilies Island for it. If you trust anything I’ve said in any of my music posts (and I’ll admit my tastes are pretty weird) then go and buy that album now. Hurricane starts off with a slow guitar arpeggio or note progression played through a filter which makes it sounds like it’s from some old timey 1910 era sepia movie. There are some sort of seaside noises too, or at least that’s the sense I get while listening. Then the vocals start, creeping through the verse’s undergrowth, lyrics about shock and confusion, before the song emerges into the clarity of the chorus with perfect string section building and guitar change. The second verse is more of the same with the addition of bass and off kilter percussion and then, as we have come to expect with this album, the two part chorus is again switched around so that the second part comes first. Everything peaks and we drift off into the sunset. It’s simple, symmetrical, and if it isn’t one of the best songs of all time then I think I’m finally done with the human race.

Phew. I think Natalie Imbruglia as an artist is someone who can appeal to any music lover and if you have dismissed her as pop pap or sub-Morrissette/Brit Pop stuff I would urge you to give her another try. Hit a few of the links above and let me know. If you have any special thoughts or memories of any Natalie Imbruglia song or if you want to share you favourites then drop them in the comments below!

Ranking The Bond Women – The Majors

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Finally we reach the climax of our sordid affair (revisit Part One and Two here). Pop! Below are the most famous Bond girls with the biggest, juiciest parts. The women which all the men want to be with, the ones which fans remember most fondly, and the ones which have kept many a teenage boy warm and wet on a cold winter’s night. I hope you’ve saved some energy for the final push. Here we go. Here we GO. HERE WEEE GOOOOOO!!!!!

41. Tiffany Case – Diamonds Are Forever

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What can I say – I just don’t like Jill St John. At least not here, where her face, hair, voice, and running around all piss me off. Jill St John has also appeared in The Lost World, Tender Is The Night, and a bunch of other stuff.

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40. Fatima Blush – Never Say Never Again

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A general WTF, this mauling of Fione Vulpe from Thunderball is a sadomasochist who enjoys the kill in a way Xenia Onotopp would later perfect. There’s so much wrong with the movie that is’s not a shock that this character is a bit of a mess – failing to kill Bond in ever more outlandish ways. Before he blows her up. With a pen. leaving just her smoking shoes behind. Having said that, Barbara Carrera has a real go at the role, and even bizarrely earned a Golden Globe nomination for it. She appeared in some notable movies and TV shows through the 70s and 80s, including The Island Of Dr Moreau, and Lone Wolf McQuade but has since retired as an actress.

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39. Magda – Octopussy

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A lead henchwoman of Kamal Khan, she helps him at the various auctions for the Faberge eggs. She starts out in the traditional route by trying to seduce Bond, but unlike most she succeeds in her ulterior motive. However, she takes a 180 turn in the end, switching sides to eventually helping Bond. A little too stern for my tastes though, but she does kick ass pretty effectively. Magda is the former Miss Scandanavia Kristina Wayborn’s most famous role, but she has also shown up in shows like Airwolf and Baywatch. 

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38. Miranda Frost – Die Another Day

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Ah yes, the old ‘Olympic medalist turned MI6 agent turned turncoat’ shtick. In a better film she would make a much more interesting character, but… but. You all know Rosamund Pike so I don’t need to tell you about her – she’s fine in the role, a little bland, too cold, and doesn’t do anything to make her stick out in the upper echelons of Bond girls.

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37. Christmas Jones – The World Is Not Enough

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She doesn’t come only once a year. Heh. Hum. Yeah, she’s hot. Denise Richards.

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36. Strawberry Fields – Quantum Of Solace

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Another case of an interesting character given bland treatment. I’m not the biggest fan of Gemma Arterton anyway, and nothing she does in this film changes that fact. Still, the character is interesting, and she does help Bond, and she does of course end up dead, but we don’t get to care enough about her to make Bond’s revenge any more engaging. Arterton’s rise was very quick, appearing in her first movie shortly after graduating, and becoming a Bond girl a year after that. She has also appeared in the St Trinian’s series, Clash Of The Titans, and The Girl With All The Gifts.

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35. Rosie Carver – Live And Let Die

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Everyone hates Rosie Carver, right? Terribly annoying, sells Bond out, spends most of the movie screeching, then freaks out in a potentially culturally insensitive scene. She’s high though because she is memorable, or because she appears in memorable scenes – her death scene is hilarious. Gloria Hendry has remained active over the years, appearing in many famous Blaxploitation movies in the 70s and the odd comedy or horror up to present day.

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34. Plenty O’Toole – Diamonds Are Forever

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Maybe the Bond Girl who is least remembered out of all those with a truly memorable name, Plenty represents the worst of the series’ treatment of women. It is made clear she is only interested in money, attaching herself to various men in various casinos. Bond doesn’t give a shit about her, she’s thrown out of a window, she’s jealous and possibly manic, and then she is drowned. What was the point? Lana Wood is still very active today, having seemingly retired in the mid 80s after appearing in many hit TV shows from the 60s onwards. You’ll know her from Peyton Place and even as a child in The Searchers. 

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33. Madeleine Swann – Spectre

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A combination of good actress, beauty, and good character ensure Swann makes a strong Bond girl. She’s the sort of estranged daughter of the villain Mr White, and she is intelligent and self-sufficient. There’s just something missing, either in the performances or the character or the story that keeps her from being a personal favourite. She doesn’t feel conflicted enough. I’ll need to watch the movie again and see if she moves up the list, but for now this is where she stands. Lea Seydoux is one of Europe’s biggest stars currently, after giving notable performances in a variety of blockbusters and critically acclaimed movies such as Ghost Protocal, Blue Is The Warmest Colour, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

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32. Severine – Skyfall

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The latest in the long line of tragic Bond girls, Severine starts out helping the bad guys. Dark, sultry, seemingly evil, it isn’t long before she sides with Bond. We all know what that means folks, as within a few scenes she is beaten, bloodied, tied up, and then shot in the head. She is there to make Silva seem all the more evil and cold-hearted, but she makes enough of an impact in the movie that we feel her loss. The film continues without a traditional Bond Girl. Berenice Marlohe came to acting quite late, making her first appearance at 28 and known mostly for French TV before appearing in Skyfall, though she will also be in Terence Malick’s Weightless.

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31. Camille – Quantum Of Solace

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Camille, and Quantum Of Solace, suffers by following Casino Royale and Vesper. Fans were clamoring for a direct sequel and ending to that story, but instead get led into more questions, tangents, and less interesting characters. Camille gets a powerful back story and is one of those characters who could see having their own spin-off  – she is strong, resourceful, and bent on revenge – she also doesn’t submit to Bond’s magic dong. Unlike previous movies and Bond girls she doesn’t get any standout scenes, although I need to revisit the movie to see if my feelings have changed. Olga Kurylenko is another former model who began a string of action movie appearances after giving notable performances in French Cinema, and can be seen in Hitman, Seven Psychophaths, and Oblivion. 

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30. Elektra King – The World Is Not Enough

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Elektra is someone who deserved a more nuanced and exciting film. She is a central villain, but for much of the movie garners our sympathy as she appears to be a victim of torture. Of course it turns out she had a perfect upbringing, born into wealth and fame but eventually betraying her family and joining Renard as terrorist partners. Even after killing her, Bond appears to feel bad. Sophie Marceau first appeared on screen as a teenager, quickly picking up higher profile roles and eventually appearing in Braveheart and Anna Karenina.

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29. Jinx – Die Another Day

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It’s Halle Berry, yo, and she’s one of the few respectable parts of Die Another Day. Like every other part of the movie, she is infected by camp – bad dialogue, knowing smirks, and other assorted shite, but still – it’s Halle Berry yo.

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28 – Holly Goodhead – Moonraker

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As it was the late 70s, those crazy women took it upon themselves to infiltrate all manner of male-oriented jobs, eventually leading the fight to Outer Space. Goodhead is a match for Bond in all departments, outdoing him in the brains department. Not that any of this stops him from attempting re-entry (or rear entry as I like to imagine Q saying). Bond and Goodhead fight and escape from Jaws and a variety of other henchmen all over the world only to find themselves in Space, having to to it all again. Goodhead is good in a fairly bad movie. Lois Chiles had appeared in a string of hits during the 70s before making Moonraker, and although she wouldn’t have the same successes in later years, she continues to appear in high profiles works such as Dallas and Broadcast News. 

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27. Andrea Anders  – The Man With The Golden Gun.

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It’s Maud Adams again, and it’s yet another tragic Bond girl death. The mistress of Scaramanga, she wants Bond to kill Scaramanga so that she can escape his clutches. As is almost always the case, Bond gets what he needs but the villain discovers the betrayal and the girl dies. It’s another iconic death scene as Bond chats to Anders for a few moments not realizing she has already been shot and killed in front of thousands.

26. Teresa Di Vicenzo – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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I imagine many people would have this character much higher on their list than I have placed her. She is one of the more important Bond girls, given how she and Bond actually get married. But this is Bond we’re talking about, so we all know how that marriage will end. She’s not as high on my list as the character simply isn’t interesting or memorable enough – certainly not to the extent that I would see Bond wanting to settle down with her – it just doesn’t come across as convincing to me. Diana Rigg is good in the role – you’ll know her from The Avengers and Game Of Thrones.

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25. Aki – You Only Live Twice

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Aki and Suzuki from You Only Live Twice have always been interesting to me. Although Aki gets a great death, I’ve always thought that her character should have been merged with Kissy Suzuki; if that had happened she would have been one of the finest Bond women and Bond characters. Aki shows herself to be a strong agent and saves Bond from death on more than one occasion. She was played by Akiko Wakabayashi, a veteran of Godzilla and other Toho monster movies.

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24. Fiona Vulpe – Thunderball

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Another early femme fatale for Bond to deal with, Volpe is particularly skilled and bloodthirsty, killing her own team members as punishment. Ironically she is later killed by one of her own when Bond spins her into the path of an oncoming bullet. She is played by Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi who has made mostly Italian movies such as The Venetian Affair but also appears in US films like The Greek Tycoon.

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23. Domino Petachi/Derval – Thunderball/Never Say Never Again

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The character of Domino doesn’t differ enough between the two movies to warrant two separate entries. Domino doesn’t merely sit around waiting to be rescued and sexed, she helps Bond investigate, fight, and it is her who brings down the big bad. You all know Kim Basinger, while Claudine Auger has continued a successful European career throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s in movies like Sons Of Satan and Lovers And Liars. 

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22. Sylvia Trench – Dr No/From Russia With Love

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The original Bond girl – before Honey Ryder, before Miss Moneypenny, Sylvia Trench was the booty call Bond kept on speed dial between missions. She never had much screen time and as the series progressed and Moneypenny was introduced, Trench disappeared without subsequent mention – presumably she was shot, fell into a shark infested lava pit, and had her remains scattered to piranha. Or she got a mid-management job in Tesco. Eunice Gayson appeared in British TV ad movies such as The Saint and The Revenge Of Frankenstein but gave it all up in the early 70s.

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21. Tatiana Romanova – From Russia With Love

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Bond’s drilling stick does its stuff early on in the series, as it repeatedly turns foes into fuck buddies, and Tatiana Romanova is no exception. An agent of SPECTRE, she is basically forced into making a sex tape with him so that the British Secret Service look like…. faded rock stars? I don’t know, the details are a bit fuzzy. Who know how it ends though, one shake of Bond’s magic wang and she betrays her bosses and kills Rosa Klebb. She’s pretty hot for an early Bond girl too, so that’s good. Daniela Bianchi was a ballet dancer, then model, then actress in mostly Italian movies, but retired in 1970.

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20. Octopussy – Octopussy

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When the movie is named after you, you’d better be spectacular, and when you have a name like that, you’d better be suitably protected to block the advances of eight Donald Trumps. We’ve covered Maud Adams already in our list yet she deserves special credit for appearing in three separate Bond movies. She’s high on the list because she’s very good in the role and because Octopussy is an important character. She is further away from my taste in Bond girls than most though, and because of that I can’t rate her any higher. The movie isn’t that great either which doesn’t help, but still – Adams is a Bond legend.

19. Lisl Von Schlaf – For Your Eyes Only

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I’ve often said For Your Eyes Only is one of the most emotional Bond films, and not merely because of what happens on screen. Lisl Von Shlaf surrenders to Bond in the film, and is of course killed later (by The Dove), but in real life actress Cassandra Harris was married to one Pierce Brosnan at the time of filming. She was instrumental in getting her husband cast as Bond, although she would never live to see it – dying after a long battle with cancer in 1991, making her appearance and performance all the more poignant now. She isn’t in the movie for very long but always made an impact on me, possibly accentuated by how much I love the film.

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18. Pam Bouvier – License To Kill

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MRS BOUVIER!!! Yeah, I can’t read that name without thinking of old Abe Simpson. One of the most active Bond girls, she is a pilot and is handy with a gun, so I should love her but sorry people, I just can’t get too enamoured by short hair. Yep, short hair does nothing for me, and as at least half of this list is based on sleaze I half (have) to be hairsh (harsh). I generally like the performance, but she does feel a little too sulky or pouty or something. Sporting the short hair is Carey Lowell, another model turned actress who has since retired – you may know her from Sleepless In Seattle or Law And Order. 

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17. Stacey Sutton – A View To A Kill

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While we’re on the subject of things that don’t do it for me, the old blonde bombshell or ditzy routine leaves me cold (flaccid). There are a few exceptions, which my wife always mocks me for, and while Stacey Sutton is not one of those exceptions, I have a lot of time, patience, and appreciation for her than most and no-one is more surprised than me. Tanya Roberts is just hot here, there’s no getting away from it. Stacey Sutton may be regarded as the most annoying Bond girl of the lot, and it isn’t difficult to see why with all the ‘oh James’ and the more screechy ‘ARGHH JAMES!’ variant passing her lips regularly. I’m not sure of Roberts was meant to be playing the role in such a way, but she has a lot of screen time and is hot for most of it. Maybe I feel bad for Tanya Roberts – always getting roles in crap movies, cult movies, or just missing on on the big credits – you’ll have seen her in Charlie’s Angles, That 70s Show,  Beastmaster, and the epic Bodyslam. 

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16. Pussy Galore – Goldfinger

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Many see Pussy Galore as the definitive Bond girl, and many see Goldfinger as the definitive Bond film. Both are understandable. People forget though that she spends a large part of the movie as a villain, acting as Goldfinger’s pilot. She does turn later on, though this is a grey area as she doesn’t succumb to Bond’s advances and it is implied that she is gay. I like Honor Blackman, but I think this is down to her raw sexiness and energy rather than any sort of physical attraction – based on appearance only she is another Bond girl who does nothing for me. But the name, the performance, and the iconic status ensure she is high on this list. Blackman has been acting since the 40s and is still going now, known for The Upper Hand, Jason And The Argonauts, and Cockneys Vs Zombies.

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15. Kara Milovy – The Living Daylights

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After quite a few ‘not to my tastes’, up pops Kara (played by Maryam d’Abo) who is definitely much more up my street. Kara is a musician who Bond ‘rescues’ and they spend most of the movie together. She is neither a complete damsel in distress, nor a fearless warrior but she proves herself to be capable at both helping and harming Bond, and surviving. It’s good to see Bond girls get this much screen time and attention as the relationships formed feel more interesting. Kara would unusually be the last blonde main Bond girl until Spectre. d’Abo is a British model and actress who missed out on appearing in A View To A Kill but has also appeared in Dorian Gray and Xtro. 

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14. Honey Ryder – Dr No

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The original and best? Well.. yes and no. She is technically the first Bond girl (what about me, Miss Trench?) and she does have that iconic entrance, and she is pretty hot and appears independent and strong. She just isn’t that deep of a character and aside from a few moments she spends most of the movie being dragged along by Connery. In fact, she isn’t even in most of the movie, appearing only halfway through. Still, Ursula Andress in 1962 was one of the most desirable women on the planet and the combination of looks, iconic imagery, and history ensure she is high on my list.

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13. Paris Carver – Tomorrow Never Dies

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I’ve never really been into Teri Hatcher, but I always liked her on Superman and later on Desperate Housewives. It stands to reason then that she would appear quite high on my list of favourite Bond girls. She’s another secondary Bond girl and doesn’t have too many minutes of screen time, but she does make an impact – maybe it’s a mix of the music too as anytime I think of her that violin music pops up in my head too. She is an old flame of Bond – someone that it seemed he was genuinely in love with once, but he abandoned her as he couldn’t afford to have someone close to him in his line of work. She is now married to the big bad – you know the drill by now – Bond meets her again, luvin’, she gets killed, revenge, roll credits. I do like every scene she is in though, short as they may be.

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12. Mary Goodnight – The Man With The Golden Gun

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Yeah, not the most useful character and the epitome of the dumb blond ‘save me, James’ archetype, Goodnight was nevertheless played by Britt Ekland – if Britt Ekland isn’t on your list of top hottest anythings then I have serious trouble believing you’re an actual person. She is sexually frustrated by Bond throughout the movie while she in turn sexually frustrates every single person watching as she spends most of the movie in various bikini states. The character is apparently not as useless in the books, and appears in multiple different stories. Britt Ekland has appeared in many classic and not so classic movies including The Wicker Man, Get Carter, and The Monster Club. 

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11. Lupe Lamora – License To Kill

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With the odd exception now we are into the Bond girls now that I both love the most and get the hornies for. Lupe Lamora is the other Bond girl from License To Kill, the mysterious, and desirable kept wife of the main bad guy – Sanchez. She is sort of unique in that, even though she betrays her man by helping Bond, she isn’t killed – she has wiles and strength and independence, and she doesn’t get it on with Bond. At the end of the movie Bond picks Bouvier over her – rather him than me. Talisa Soto is easily one of the hottest Bond girls and she is another model/actress who has rarely hit the heights of film fame after her Bond appearance, but she did feature in the Mortal Kombat series.

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10. Naomi – The Spy Who Loved Me

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It’s something you’ll see a few times in this top ten – female Bond villains. How can anyone argue against Naomi or Caroline Munro. She is stunning, more than a little dirty looking – whatever the hell that means – smart, and happens to be pure evil. She never turns from the dark side, never gets spurted by Bond’s magical love juice, and she gets an epic death. Munro gives a wicked performance, and spends a lot of time in a bikini. She is notable for also appearing in Casino Royale (The sixties version) and has appeared in some of my favourite cult movies – you may know her from The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad and Gameshow 3-2-1. 

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9. Wai Lin – Tomorrow Never Dies

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The undisputed badass Bond Girl, Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin is a better fighter than Bond and just as capable as an agent, proving to be an indispensable ally. After some early mistrust between the two ,they realise they are essentially on the same mission and join forces, complementing each other well and having only playful hints of attraction. It would have been great to see a spin-off series featuring Wai Lin – basically a Chinese 007, but this never happened and was probably never considered. Michelle Yeoh is of course an all round badass, as seen in everything from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and its sequel, to Sunshine and the Police Story series. She’s also incredibly hot, intelligent, does her own stunts, and could destroy anyone reading this.

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8. Kissy Suzuki – You Only Live Twice

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As mentioned earlier, I think it would have been more interesting if Aki and Kissy were merged into one character. Kissy is another strong and capable ally for Bond, helping him investigate Blofeld’s base and eventually getting stuck in during the epic ninja battle at the end. It goes without saying that she’s sexy, but it’s that ability to hold her own that ensures the high spot. Mie Hama had already and later went on to star in a bunch of Japanese movies before apparently retiring in 1989 and becoming a cultural ambassador.

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7. May Day – A View To A Kill

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Another villain, and easily one of the toughest, most recognizable Bond girls of the bunch. I can’t say that I’ve ever been attracted to Mayday, but there’s no getting away from the fact that she’d snap you in two and that she appears to be just as strong and dangerous as Bond. She does die in the end after kind of changing sides when she sees how truly psychotic Zorin is, but by that point she has killed several people. She gets a heroic death of sorts, her final words being a request for Bond to get Zorin – in her way she is just as iconic as Honey Ryder. Grace Jones is a model, actress, artist, and musician, having great success in all fields.

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6. Anya Amasova – The Spy Who Loved Me

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Bond has met a few capable women in his time, women who are just as good at their job as he is – quite a few of them in this top ten. Anya may be the best of these – basically a KGB, female version of 007. Agent XXX blames Bond for her boyfriend’s death (he did kill her) and their relationship is tense in the opening moments, with her knowing much of his history and frequently getting the upper-hand. Later they are instructed to work together for the common goal and they flirt by trying to out-perform each other in their mutual tasks. Amasova is a terrific Bond Girl and even though we know Bond is the star and that she will eventually fall into his arms, we know that she has been, and will again be out there doing her own thang.

Barbara Bach is easily one of the hottest Bond women but gave up on acting shortly after marrying Mr Ringo Starr, though you may have also seen her in Force 10 From Navarone.

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5. Solitaire – Live And Let Die

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Jane Seymour is one of the hottest women ever, nevermind being a Bond Girl. Solitaire is a pretty unique character in the Bondverse too, a psychic virgin and kept woman of the voodoo businessman Dr Kananga. Dutifully, Bond takes her virginity and her magic powers, rendering her both useless and untrustworthy to Kananga, but it’s a mystery why any of his henchmen didn’t ‘have a go’ first – that Tee-Hee fella looks the type. After all that she does become a typical damsel in distress who Bond must rescue, but she’s just so damn pretty that I don’t care. Seymour is well cast and while she doesn’t really show off many of her acting talents, we would see those later in the likes of Dr Quinn, and Battlestar Galactica.

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4. Melina Havlock – For Your Eyes Only

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Melina gets a lot of stick. From idiots. Now that we’ve cleared that up, in terms of hotness there are few higher than her in my sick and unnecessary gauge. Dark, mysterious, sultry, what more could you want? Melina wants revenge for the death of her father and is fiercely determined to complete this mission, much to the annoyance of Bond. The two eventually team up and take down the bad guys together, and then do what Bond does best. Carole Bouquet (not bucket) went on to star in a tonne of movies and series, mostly European including Too Beautiful For You and the – wait, there’s a TV remake of Rosemary’s Baby!? WTF.

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3. Xenia Onotopp – Goldeneye

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Straight up, with a twist. That’s kind of all you need to know. Onotopp is simply joyous, and who wouldn’t want to have their final moments being crushed to death between those thighs? Dark, brooding, sexy, and with a comical sexual appetite which dwarf’s Bonds, Onotopp is a psychotic killer who enjoys nothing more than mowing down innocents with her gun. Bond barely escapes with his nuts and life intact after several confrontations with her, and she’s another villain that you don’t really want to see killed because she’s so much fun. Famke Janssen’s electrifying performance ensured that she would have a huge Hollywood career appearing in the XMen and Taken franchises among others.

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2. Natalya Simyonova – Goldeneye

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Ah Natalya, surely a favourite of any geek. Clever, funny, handy enough in a fight, and sweet jeebus wouldn’t you know she’s hotter than a Severnaya Sauna. She is the only survivor of the Janus attack in Siberia (well, unless you count Boris as a survivor too), she escapes certain death a second time, this time with Bond and the two work together to stop Sean Bean’s maniacal ramblings. Natalya is one of the few Bond girls to truly get under Bond’s skin referring to his ‘it’s what keeps me alive’ with ‘it’s what keeps you alone’. She’s another character who I would have loved seeing again and could imagine Bond giving up his other life for. Izabella Scorupco is another model who has tried her hand successfully at music and movies, appearing also in Vertical Limit and Reign Of Fire.

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  1. Vesper Lynd – Casino Royale

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Quite frankly, anyone who doesn’t put Vesper as their number one Bond Girl is a moron. She’s number one is every respect, she just is. Oh look  – dark, sultry, mysterious – is it any wonder she’s top of my list? She’s also an equal to Bond in the flirting stakes and she is the one that he does appear to want to throw it all away for. You know what happens to those women though, don’t you? Her death was the impetus for later Bond movies and it had such an impact in Casino Royale that the resolution to that whole story as played out in later films has been, well, crap. I want full-on, badass, revenge mode Bond, but we never get that.

One of, if not the most important reason that Vesper is number one is down to Eva Green’s performance. Aside from obviously being gorgeous (and thank God we’re at the end of this thing so that I can stop feeling dirty by lowering myself to such base interests) her performance is superb, easily worthy of an Oscar nod and towers above most performances in the series, Bond girl or otherwise. Green is easily one of the best actors in work today, as seen here and in The Dreamers and Penny Dreadful.

New York premiere of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

There you have it – an exhaustive list of breast and other bits. You can go off now, clean yourself up, and then come back and let us know in the comments who your favourites are!

#Thisisyourfilm 2008 – 2016

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It’s the last part… OF MY LIFE. So, this is the period where I turned old, got married, had kids and stopped believing in dreams. As such, I’ve listened to less new music and watched less movies. I’m not even going to bother with books – I still read plenty, but it’s down to like a couple of books a month from a couple a week – #Thisisyourfuture.

2008

Top Grossing Film: The Dark Knight

My Favourite Film: Love Exposure

Have you seen Love Exposure? Is it better than The Dark Knight? Watch it and then tell me what you think. What about Departures? Martyrs?

Biggest Selling Song: Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

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My Favourite Song: Home by Gemma Hayes

Biggest Selling Album: Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne

I don’t think I’ve heard a single song by Lil Wayne

My Favourite Album: Death Magnetic by Metallica

2009

Top Grossing Film: Avatar

My Favourite Film: Inglourious Basterds

Not many standouts this year – I was almost going to pick Drag Me To Hell. I’m being lazy in searching at this point though.

Biggest Selling Song: Poker Face – Gaga

Managed to not hear this until about 2011.

My Favourite Song: Private Hell by Alice In Chains

Biggest Selling Album: Fearless by Taylor Swift

I think I’ve heard maybe one Taylor Swift song.

My Favourite Album: Journal For Plague Lovers by Manic Street Preachers

2010

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story 3

My Favourite Film: I Saw The Devil

Yeah, at the point of writing, I still haven’t seen Inception. What the hell is wrong with me. I know, I know. I didn’t love Shutter Island. A few which I would rank on the same level here – Micmacs, Black Swan, Ip Man 2, Paranormal Activity 2, so any of those I am happy with being my favourite.

Biggest Selling Song: Love The Way You Lie – Eminem

Great.

My Favourite Song: I Think I Found It by Manic Street Preachers

Biggest Selling Album: Recovery by Eminem

Yeah, it’s a good album

My Favourite Album: The Final Frontier by Iron Maiden

2011

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

My Favourite Film: Killer Joe

I also haven’t seen a single Harry Potter movie. There isn’t a single standout US movie this year that jumps out at me. We Bought A Zoo, Hugo? Apparently some critics say 2011 is one of the best, if not the best years for movie quality ever. I just don’t see it. Yet.

Biggest Selling Song: Someone Like You – Adele

Typically bland shrieking by Adele

My Favourite Song: I Am Made Of You – Alice Cooper

Biggest Selling Album: 21 by Adele

The year music died (again).

My Favourite Album: The Hunter by Mastodon

2012

Top Grossing Film: The Avengers

My Favourite Film: Cabin In The Woods

Biggest Selling Song: Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye

Got Ye? I’ll tell ye what I’ve got? SORE EARS. ROFLMAO!

My Favourite Song: Circles by Anneke Van Giersbergen

Biggest Selling Album: 21 by Adele

Oh, fuck off.

My Favourite Album: The 2nd Law by Muse

2013

Top Grossing Film: Frozen

My Favourite Film: The Kings Of Summer

We’re getting into sketchy territory now – from 2012 onwards I have seen very few of the Oscar nominated and biggest grossing movies. I’ve seen five of the top 10 grossing movies of 2013 at the time of writing, 5 in 2012, 2 in 2011, 3 in 2010, 3 and a half in 2014, 4 in 2015, 2 in 2016. Ah well.

Biggest Selling Song: Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

Never heard it.

My Favourite Song: Show Me The Wonder – Manic Street Preachers

Biggest Selling Album: The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake

Don’t care.

My Favourite Album: Drive

2014

Top Grossing Film: Age Of Extinction

My Favourite Film: It Follows

Biggest Selling Song: Happy – Pharrell Williams

Terrible

My Favourite Song: Black Square by Manic Street Preaches

Biggest Selling Album: 1989 by Taylor Swift

See above

My Favourite Album: 1000 Forms Of Fear by Sia

2015

Top Grossing Film: The Force Awakens

My Favourite Film: Fury Road

Biggest Selling Song: Uptown Funk – Ronson and Mars

Awful

My Favourite Song: Our Decades In The Sun by Nightwish

Biggest Selling Album: 25 by Adele

I think she should take a break until she release 40. She won’t be any more relevant by that point.

My Favourite Album: Drones by Muse

2016

Top Grossing Film: Captain America: Civil War

My Favourite Film: Rogue One

Why not. I’ve given up by this point.

Biggest Selling Song: One Dance

Never heard of it so I assume I’ve never heard it.

My Favourite Song: Bird Set Free by Sia

I don’t know anymore, so sticking with Sia. Anything from that album really, but I’m partial to the ‘I don’t want to die’ bit on Bird Set Free.

Biggest Selling Album: 25 by Adele

Trump. Brexit. Adele. Welcome to Hell.

My Favourite Album: This Is Acting by Sia

There you go, my life on a plate. Share your favourites in the comments!

#Thisisyourfilm 1999 – 2007

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1999:

Top Grossing Film: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

My Favourite Film: Bangkok Dangerous.

Quite a few good films and big films this year – The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, and Fight Club are all obvious choices. My pick though is one so very few have seen – there’s no excuse, it’s fucking glorious. Plenty of cult classics this year too.

Biggest Selling Song: Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

My Favourite Song: Unintended by Muse

I almost went for the title track, but then remembered how Unintended grabbed me. I’d heard some of their earlier EP from one of those old radio sampler cds, but it was their ballad that convinced me they would be huge.

Biggest Selling Album: Millennium by Backstreet Boys

My Favourite Album: Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Not too many huge releases this year that I could have gone for, really between this, Muse, and Lene Marlin. Californication is a beast though, a massive return to form and a huge commercial and critical success.

My Favourite Book:  Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

2000:

Top Grossing Film: Mission Impossible 2

My Favourite Film: Battle Royale.

A lot of strong foreign movies this year, aside from my winner. When I first saw Battle Royale I proclaimed it as the most important film of the new millennium. I still stand by that. Pick a better film from 2000, I dare you. 

Biggest Selling Song: Music by Madonna

My Favourite Song: Bumblebee by JJ72

The studio version is quite lovely in its torment, but seeing it live is an entirely different beast – it transforms into a destructive, euphoric masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Album: No Strings Attached by NSYNC

My Favourite Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

I don’t think there was a better album this year, a year which also included Rated R, JJ72,  Lost Souls, Brave New World, Kid A, Wishmaster, and more.

My Favourite Book: A Storm Of Swords by George R R Martin.

2001:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

My Favourite Film: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Plenty of worthy picks this year, but come on, LOTR wins every damn time.

Biggest Selling Song: It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy

My Favourite Song: Hurricane by Natalie Imbruglia

Biggest Selling Album: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

My Favourite Album: Origin Of Symmetry. 

White Lillies Island, Toxicity, Amnesiac, Blackwater Park, and a whole host of euro and american metal and rock coming back into the mainstream. Muse raised their game and easily bypassed any and all expectations for their second album.

My Favourite Book: Black House by Stephen King

I feel like I should apologize for how limited by reading appears on these lists. At this point in my life I was reading 2-3 books a week, mostly for University. Those books were almost exclusively old – pre-20th Century, or pre-1983 at least. What spare time I had was going on King’s latest releases. He had two this year, and Black House (which I stupidly read before The Talisman) is the better of the two. Looking at what else was released in 2001, I think my choice stands.

2002:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

See above.

Biggest Selling Song: Anything is possible/Evergreen by Will Young.

My Favourite Song: Under The Ice by Blind Guardian

Biggest Selling Album: The Eminem Show by Eminem

My Favourite Album: Century Child by Nightwish

Night On My Side, A Night At The Opera, Highly Evolved, I To Sky, Deliverance, and plenty more personal favourites.

My Favourite Book: Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

Some of King’s finest short stories collected here, including Little Sisters Of Eluria and the award winning The Man In The Black Suit.

2003:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

See above. Again.

Biggest Selling Song: Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas

My Favourite Song: No More Lies by Iron Maiden

Biggest Selling Album: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ by 50 Cent

My Favourite Album: Another Day by Lene Marlin

The Music, Damnation, Dance Of Death, Absolution, Souvenirs… probably others.

My Favourite Book: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Not to be an asshole, but I was on the hype train for this before anyone else. I even started an IMDB thread about a potential movie on the book before the book was even released. Anyway, it’s great.

2004:

Top Grossing Film: Shrek 2

My Favourite Film: Dawn Of The Dead

This wasn’t a great year personally for standout films. There were some very good sequels and plenty of films I enjoyed – not many that leap out as a strong favourite. My two obvious picks involved zombies. I’ve gone for the one most would not pick.

Biggest Selling Song: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Various

My Favourite Song: Ghost Love Score by Nightwish

Biggest Selling Album: Confessions by Usher

My Favourite Album: Welcome To The North by The Music

Faded Seaside Glamour, Once, Until The End, Leviathan, Lifeblood, and more. But my album of the year is also the album of the decade and one of the best ever.

My Favourite Book: The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Well, I had to, didn’t I?

2005:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

My Favourite Film: Batman Begins

Plenty of worthy comedies and dramas, but Batman wins it.

Biggest Selling Song: Is This The Way To Amarillo by Peter Kay and Tony Christie

My Favourite Song: Something In The Way by Gemma Hayes

Biggest Selling Album: The Emancipation of Mimi by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Ghost Reveries by Opeth

Counting down The Days, Dirty Diamonds, The Roads Don’t Love You and not a lot else. A pretty crappy year.

My Favourite Book: Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Cats. Cats everywhere.

2006:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

My Favourite Film: Casino Royale

A terrific year for movies and at least five I could just as easily call my favourite. I’m going to go with what might not be the best out of my favourites, but I think it just about cinches it for ‘rewatchability’.

Biggest Selling Song: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.

My Favourite Song: Waking Hour by The Gathering

Biggest Selling Album: The High School Musical Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: A Matter Of Life And Death by Iron Maiden

Inhuman Rampage, Black Holes And Revelations, Blood Mountain, Home. Iron Maiden’s return to form culminates in their epic war-based monster.

My Favourite Book: Cell by Stephen King

I know I know, but it’s good!

2007:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

My Favourite Film: Enchanted

A bit of a crap year, actually. Even all the films which did well at The Oscars which most non-Oscars people like, I felt were a bit meh.

Biggest Selling Song: Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis

My Favourite Song: Bouncing Off Clouds by Tori Amos

Biggest Selling Album: Noel by Josh Groban

My Favourite Album: Send Away The Tigers by Manic Street Preachers

As you can tell, the number of quality releases drastically shrinks with each year this decade, so by this point there is’t much worth mentioning – naturally there’s a tonne I haven’t heard so there’s bound to be plenty of great albums and songs I’ve missed. I narrowed by albums down to three, but none of them are even great choices.

My Favourite Book: Unknown

You know, I don’t think I’ve read a single book published in 2007. I mean, I probably have but I can’t think of any which likely means any I did read I didn’t particularly enjoy.

Next time I’ll squeeze the remaining years into one post and I’ll probably remove the books section as there haven’t really been too many books in recent years that I’ve loved outside of the usual suspects. Maybe that’s what happens when you get old(er).

#Thisisyourfilm 1991 – 1998

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1991:

Top Grossing Film: T2

My Favourite Film: T2

What. A. Year. The top 3 highest grossing movies in the US among my top favourite movies, with T2 maybe being my favourite movie of all time and Beauty And The Beast being my favourite Disney movie ever. There’s a bunch of other classics this year too but Arnie, Eddie, Linda, Robert and co are never going to be topped.

Biggest Selling Song: Everything I Do By Bryan Adams

My Favourite Song: November Rain by Guns N Roses

As cheesy as it is, I do love Everything I Do – especially the long version. I should pick something else though so lets go with Axl’s epic.

Biggest Selling Album: Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Nevermind By Nirvana

What. A. Year. My winner could have been either of the Use Your Illusions, Metallica’s Black Album, Dangerous, Hey Stoopid, and several others come close. But my winner has to be Nevermind – the so called album of a generation ‘nevermind’ the album of the year.

My Favourite Book: Ringu by Koji Suzuki

It’s a different kind of horror from the one on screen, but clinically delivered.

1992:

Top Grossing Film: Aladdin. 

My Favourite Film: Fire Walk With Me

Unlike most years in this era there isn’t one film which leaps out as my absolute favourite – there are four or five which I could choose between, followed by a larger group of almosts. There are a lot of interesting horror movies this year, plenty of comedies and action hits, but for now I’ll go with Lynch’s masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Song: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Winter by Tori Amos

It’s perfect.

Biggest Selling Album: Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus

My Favourite Album: Generation Terrorists by Manic Street Preachers

Well, we also had Little Earthquakes, Dirt, and a few other near shots.

My Favourite Book: Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

1993:

Top Grossing Film: Jurassic Park

My Favourite Film: Jurassic Park

Another terrific year for action movies, with a host that I hold dear, but those dinosaurs stand tall above them all. There are a few close runners so stay tuned for when I eventually reach the 90s in my Oscars posts.

Biggest Selling Song: I’d Do Anything For Love by Meat Loaf

My Favourite Song: Life Becoming A Landslide by Manic Street Preachers

My favourite Manics song is obviously my favourite song of the year.

Biggest Selling Album: The Bodyguard soundtrack

My Favourite Album: In Utero by Nirvana

Also efforts from Radiohead, Manics, and others but In Utero stands alone in it’s bleak rage.

My Favourite Book: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides.

My most easily recalled memory of this is that I read most of it on the toilet.

1994:

Top Grossing Film: The Lion King

My Favourite Film: Dumb And Dumber

One of my favourite years in the history of cinema, there is any number of personal favourites I could choose from as winner. Comedy has been a bit light in my choices so far though, so I’ll go with The Farrelly Brother’s finest film.

Biggest Selling Song: Streets Of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Lost For Words by Pink Floyd

There’s a bunch I could choose from any of the albums below, and a host of other singles, but I thought I’d mix it up a little with Floyd’s last great song.

Biggest Selling Album: The Lion King soundtrack

My Favourite Album: The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers

Classics from Portishead, Nirvana, Oasis, Jeff Buckley and others but they all hold their heads in shame as they bow to the terrible majesty of The Holy Bible

My Favourite Book: Insomnia by Stephen King

1995:

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story

My Favourite Film: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

It was almost going to be Goldeneye but then I remembered Denver came out in 1995 and not 1996. It’s a perfect movie.

Biggest Selling Song: Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio

My Favourite Song: In Motion # 2 by The Gathering

I could have picked something from Jagged Little Pill but in the end I’ve gone for this Anneke era Gathering special.

Biggest Selling Album: Cracked Read View by Hootie And The Blowfish

My Favourite Album: The Bends by Radiohead

Brit-pop, general Indie music, and pop-punk albums were hitting their commercial and critical stride, while metal was roaring back to power in Europe. Only one winner here though. Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette also sold a few copies of their respective albums.

My Favourite Book: Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

1996:

Top Grossing Film: Independence Day

My Favourite Film: Scream

A few standouts and personal favourites this year, but Stabby Joe and co remains a landmark in horror.

Biggest Selling Song: Macarena by Los Del Rio

My Favourite Song: Darling One by Susannah Hoffs

Lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

My Favourite Album: Everything Must Go by Manic Street Preachers

Not a lot to choose from this year, actually.

My Favourite Book: Desperation by Stephen King

1997:

Top Grossing Film: Titanic

My Favourite Film: The Fifth Element

Not a great year for huge personal favorites but a few make the grade with Luc Besson’s genre collapsing tale taking the top spot.

Biggest Selling Song: Candle In The Wind by Elton John

My Favourite Song: Sonnet by The Verve

Lovely lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Spice by The Spice Girls

My Favourite Album: OK Computer by Radiohead

My Favourite Book: In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

1998:

Top Grossing Film: Armageddon

My Favourite Film: Ring

A pretty crappy year for personal favourites, but there are a bunch of smaller, forgotten movies that I love. Japan’s Ring is peerless though.

Biggest Selling Song: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

My Favourite Song: Ready For Drowning by Manic Street Preachers

Another one of my absolute favourite Manics songs.

Biggest Selling Album: Titanic Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: How To Measure A Planet?

Only a few possibilities for me this year, but with one sure winner. How To Measure A Planet? is album everyone should, nay, must hear.

My Favourite Book: Loop by Koji Suzuki

Next time around I’ll let you in on my picks from the new decade/year/millennium! Down boy!

 

#Thisisyourfilm: 1983 – 1990

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Greetings, Glancers. So, if you’ve been lurking around blogs or tweets in the last few weeks, you may have noticed this hastag doing the rounds. It’s nothing exciting, but the brevity and transparency of the medium allows you to jot down your choices and share with the world in a matter of moments. What’s it all aboot? Thanks for asking. Basically, cryou pick your favourite film from every year that you have been plaguing Mother Earth with your presence. Me being me, most of the time, I have decided to branch out a little further so y’all can get to know and hate me a little more.

My branches will cover music and literature too. So, for every year I’ve (officially) been alive – starting in 1983 – I’ll pick my favourite movie, my favourite book, my favourite album, and my favourite song. There’s a caveat on the musical choices as I’m going to pick a song which is not from my favourite album, just to mix things up a little. On top of that, I’m not doing the music in any great detail – more of an afterthought so I’ll probably miss some songs I like more than the ones I give. The ‘official’ info may also be balls. From a film point of view, you’ll get an idea for what my future Oscars posts will look like when I get around to writing them and catch up to the 80s and beyond. As a final twist, I’ll give the top-grossing movie and best selling album/song of the year too, and see if there is any comparison. Today, it’s 1983 – 1990!

1983

Top Grossing Film: Return Of The Jedi.

My Favourite Film: Return Of The Jedi.

My favourite film from my favourite trilogy (yeah, suck it Empire fans), Jedi has all the adventure of the first movie, all the emotion of the second, tops off the series with a great ending, and has one of the most bad-ass fights sequences ever. The year also saw good efforts from Tony Scott, Coppola, Luc Besson, Cronenberg, Scorsese, Brian De Palma,

My Favourite Album: Piece Of Mind by Iron Maiden

Not too many great albums this year, but it did have possibly my favourite Maiden album.

Best Selling Album: Thriller by Michael Jackson (bit of a cheat as it was released in 82, but anyway..)

My Favourite Song: The Four Horsemen by Metallica

Or No Remorse or Seek And Destroy. All chugging, frantic epics showcasing the young band’s ability to play fast and hard, while changing it up throughout the song so that each is filled with ambition and vitality.

Best Selling Song: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

My Favourite Book: The Witches, by Roald Dahl.

I have been reading this to my eldest daughter recently, and remembering just how creepy it actually is – Dahl beckoning the children to trust him with his promises of knowledge to protect you from the REAL WITCHES that grown-ups deny or don’t believe exist. I loved it when I was young, and now I pass it on. Also, for the books I didn’t bother going into research mode too much so I’m picking more or less off the top of my head – this means you’re going to see a lot of repetition of authors. Runner up?

1984:

Top Grossing Film: Beverly Hills Cop

My Favourite Film: The Terminator

Three films from this year feature in my top ten favourite films ever. The Terminator is probably my favourite film of all time, with A Nightmare On Elm Street being my favourite horror movie. But what about Police Academy? I know.. I know. The problem is you don’t know. You don’t know how hilarious this film is, you’ve been swayed by your smart-ass friends. It’s ok, you don’t have to tell them you watched it and laughed till your face fell off – just watch it and enjoy it on your own.

My Favourite Album: Ride The Lightning by Metallica

Losing a little of the youthful energy of their debut, this sees Metallica maturing and further bridging the gap between heavy music and commercial prowess.

Best Selling Album: Yep, Thriller again…

My Favourite Song: Summer Of ’69 by Bryan Adams

Why the hell not?

Best Selling Song: Careless Whisper by George Michael

My Favourite Book: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. King and Straub’s first joint effort is an instant classic – an adventure across worlds with a young boy as the major character. Featuring obvious parallels with The Dark Tower it stands on its own feet admirably and has a wealth of charm and magic.

1985:

Top Grossing Film: Back To The Future

My Favourite Film: Commando

It’s difficult to argue against Back To The Future but 1985 was a terrific year for now classic adventure and action film – many of which also featured in the top grossing list. 85 may well be the ‘most 80s year’ of the decade. It’s another Arnie winner for me, and one of the most watchable and fun and quotable pure action movies you’ll ever see. The plot is simply A to B, but necks are snapped, Sullys are dropped, buildings are blasted to bits, and steam is most definitely let off.

My Favourite Album: Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits

Actually a pretty crap year as far as I can tell, so I’m picking an album I haven’t even heard since my childhood and hoping it’s still good.

Best Selling Album: Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Into The Groove by Madonna

There was any number of Madonna songs and good pop hits by other artists this year… but lets just go for this one.

Best Selling Song: Shout by Tears For Fears

My Favourite Book: Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, by Haruki Murakami. Probably still my favourite Murakami book, this one saw his one chapter per plot style perfected – with two central characters spread over two worlds drawing closer with every page. The inherent strangeness in the novel is downplayed by the semi-passive characters, and all the Murakami trademarks are there – music, food, sex, detachment, free will and fate etc. Throw in the converging plots and a clashing of realism with fantasy and we have a classic.

1986:

Top Grossing FilmTop Gun

My Favourite Film: Aliens

Even though there’s a vast number of personal favourites this year, nothing really comes close. Even the Arnie movie is crap. But imagine if Arnie had been in Aliens…. holy shit, just imagine.

My Favourite Album: Master of Puppets by Metallica

Metallica hit the big time with this one, belting out classic after classic while honing their craft and striving for ever more complex compositions.

Best Selling Album: Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Angel Of Death by Slayer

Listen. Just listen. As mind-blowing today as it has ever been – absolutely ferocious.

Best Selling Song: Rock Me Amadeus by Falco

My Favourite Book: IT, by Stephen King. Another year, another epic by the Master. It is longer than it needs to be and does ramble on and the start for too many pages. But beyond that, this is a terrifying tale with a large cast of characters which covers a group of friends on the cusp of adolescence and later, on the cusp of middle age. You all know the clown, but there is a lot more to fear here – bullies, psychos, sociopaths and more, and once you get over the slow start it flies to the finish like an arrow to the eye.

1987:

Top Grossing FilmThree Men And A Baby

My Favourite Film: Robocop

This was always going to be a tough year, given that Robocop and Predator both feature in my personal top 5 movies ever. So either one wins. Or both. Robocop is probably the better film but in my eyes they are both perfect.

My Favourite Album: Bad by Michael Jackson

Bad and Appetite For Destruction are arguably the two most important albums of my life, coming along before my later love of Nirvana and Manics. I can’t choose between them and they’re both flawless in my eyes. Bad does however have Just Good Friends which I have to skip EVERY TIME.

Best Selling Album: Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi

My Favourite Song: Think About You by Guns N Roses

A great year and a toss-up between anything from Appetite or Bad for my favourite song. I went for Bad for my favourite album so I’ve gone for G’n’R here – with a song no-one ever talks about.

Best Selling Song: Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi

My Favourite Book: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. The Japanese maestro’s most famous work, a nostalgic coming of age story about love and loss – naturally it’s much more than that. Runner Up? Clive Barker’s Weaveworld or James Elroy’s Black Dahlia or Stephen King’s The Drawing of The Three.

1988:

Top Grossing Film: Rain Man

My Favourite Film: Beetlejuice

I don’t think there were as many classics this year, or at least personal favourites. Burton was on the rise though, and Beetlejuice is still great.

My Favourite Album: … And Justice For All by Metallica

I didn’t plan to have all these Metallica albums listed, but that is how it has turned out. Production issues aside, this is the high point of the band – the creativity and intensity coming together to create one of metal’s finest moments.

Best Selling Album: Faith by George Michael

My Favourite Song: Eternal Flame by The Bangles

One of my favourite songs of all time and one which cemented my obsession with Susannah Hoffs.

Best Selling Song: A Groovy Kind Of Love by Phil Collins.

My Favourite Book: Queen Of The Damned by Anne Rice. My favourite thing about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles has always been the large cast of characters and their collective and individual histories. With Queen Of The Damned she perfected this focus while maintaining a pulsating plot and a vast scope – we fly through past millennia in this story which acts as both an origin and an end to the first era of her novels – the books which follow seem minute in comparison. Runner up? Clive Barker’s Cabal or Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. 

1989:

Top Grossing Film: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

My Favourite Film: Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure

There are a few films here i could just as easily have gone with, from blockbusters to cult hits, to indie dramas with fresh faces, but Bill & Ted has probably stayed with me the longest out of all of those with its nonsensical slacker humour and quotable script.

My Favourite Album: Like A Prayer by Madonna

Yeah, after only recently listening to it in full, it’s clear what a fantastic album it is.

Best Selling Album: Don’t Be Cruel by Bobby Brown

My Favourite Song: Patience by Guns N Roses

This had been chucked about by the band in previous years but saw an official release here – one of my favourites by them.

Best Selling Song: Like A Prayer by Madonna

My Favourite Book: The Great And Secret Show by Clive Barker. Barker finally gets in there. It’s another epic as the man continued to move out of the realms of overt horror and into fantasy. Runner Up? Banana Yoshimoto’s Goodbye Tsugumi.

1990:

Top Grossing Film: Ghost

My Favourite Film: Edward Scissorhands

Some great entries this year – some terrific standalones and sequels from around the globe, including many of my favourite comedies, but there’s only one winner for me.

My Favourite Album: Facelift by Alice In Chains

Slim pickings this year with metal already collapsing with inferior releases by the big bands (Rust In Peace and Seasons In The Abyss are still good) and with grunge bands not quite hitting the big time yet. Facelift is a fine debut though.

Best Selling Album: Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson

My Favourite Song: Man Of Golden Words by Mother Love Bone

I couldn’t be arsed looking through for one-off singles so I just went for a great song from a hit/miss album.

Best Selling Song: Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor

My Favourite Book: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. No stranger to science fiction, and a writer who convinces the uninitiated of the possibility of such science leaving the realms of fiction (like Richard Matheson before him), Crichton never forgets that it’s a book about people too. And dinosaurs. Most importantly dinosaurs.

Let us know in the comments what your favourite movies are for each year of your life so far, or alternatively get in on the action and write a blog post or tweet about it. The you can be cool too!

Ranking The Bond Women – The Middlers

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Welcome back, you sad, lonely perverts. Why are you even here when you could be watching the movies for yourself, or even better, hiding in the neighbour’s bushes and pretending to be a spy yourself? I promise you get caught this time. Well, I suppose I should continue now that you’re here. Pull up a pew and make sure the door’s locked in case someone should stumble in and see what you’re up to. That would be embarrassing now, wouldn’t it?

22: Verity – Die Another Day

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It’s hardly a surprise that Verity appears at the bottom of my list. As you’ll see elsewhere on the blog, I like a lot of Madonna’s music. Her acting…. yeah, I like her in some stuff. This is just product placement of the worst kind, in a movie littered with toys screaming ‘buy me buy me’! Die Another Day gets almost everything wrong, Madonna flirting and swinging swords is just one of many sins.

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21: Ruby Bartlett – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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Part of me would love to stick Ruby at the absolute bottom of the Bond girl’s list, except that there isn’t really anything wrong with her. She just irritates the hell out of me – that face, that voice, that hair. Most people have OHMSS as one of the best Bond films, but Ruby, along with Lazenby and the dreadful Louis Armstrong song knock it way down my ranking. Angela Scoular, who also appeared in the original Casino Royale and various other British movies, had a troubled life and killed herself in 2011 after swallowing and dousing herself in acid. Makes me feel bad for not liking her Bond girl now. Shit.

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20: Bianca – Octopussy

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Bianca briefly helps Bond in Octopussy, using all her disguise – applying and thigh-showing skills. Another character who could have been more interesting with a bigger role, but as it stands she’s just another object to look at unfortunately. More unfortunately, Tina Hudson who performed here never appeared in another film or show as far as I can tell.

19: Miss Taro – Dr No

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The first henchwoman we meet in the series, Miss Taro is suitably sultry and wicked, but she is of course no match for 007 and fails to lure him into a trap before failing to seduce him. Miss Taro was played by South African actress Zena Marshall who sadly passed away in 2009, an actress who started out in the 40s before retiring in the late 60s and appeared in many movies and shows including Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and Helter Skelter. 

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18: Pola Ivanova – A View To A Kill

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There isn’t anything wrong to say about Pola, she’s just another agent (KGB) who Bond gets the better of, after some sexy times of course. It’s a case once again of a character that I’d like to see more of, either in the movie or recurring in other movies, but of course the Bond series typically doesn’t do such things. Plus I’m not a fan of short hair. Sorry. Fiona Fullerton started out as a child actress before landing the role of Pola, and since then has become a Property Developer with the odd reality TV appearance or TV movie- Strictly Come Dancing, A Ghost In Monte Carlo etc.

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17: Lucia Sciarra – Spectre

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When I first heard that Monica Bellucci was going to be a Bond Girl, I was more than a little excited. Bellucci is a fantastic actress who I have been a fan of for many years, as well as being gorgeous, and on most days she should be near the top of any lady list. Her appearance in Spectre is disappointingly underwhelming to the the point that she doesn’t really need to be there at all. Of course the series has a history of throwing in a random hot woman just to facilitate a joke or movie the plot forward ever so slightly. But this is Monica Bellucci, and if anything she deserved to play in the lead Bond girl role. She’s there, and then she isn’t, and for most of the movie I was waiting for her to come back.

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16: Pan Ho – A View To A Kill

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One of many henchwomen in A View To A Kill, but probably the least impactful. A partner to Jenny Flex and underling of Mayday, Pan Ho helps Zorin and Co kill and cause general carnage. As loyal as she is, she unfortunately forgets that Zorin is a complete loon, and loses her life because of it. Papillon Soo Soo stars as the ill-fated mistress, a model and former actress who also appeared famously in Full Metal Jacket (‘me so horny’).

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15: Patricia Fearing – Thunderball (and Never Say Never Again)

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Fearing is played by two different actresses, most notably in Thunderball and later in the mostly awful Never Say Never Again. It’s Thunderball that we care about here, where Fearing is a bit of a silly character – first saving Bond’s life and then having sex with them because she’s afraid she will lost her job. Still, she appears in multiple scenes and gets the odd uncomfortable laugh from the audience. Fearing was played by Molly Peters, a model who made a string of appearances in the 60s in minor movies and shows before giving it all up in 1968.

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14: Jill Masterson – Goldfinger

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Famous for dying in one of cinema’s most iconic ways, poor Jill Masterson was immortalized after betraying her boss and being covered in gold paint from head to toe -both as punishment for her actions and a warning for Bond. Shirley Eaton is fine in the role, but aside from her brief early scenes it is her corpse which steals the headlines. Shirley Eaton had been acting since the early 50s in many British TV series and movies such as the Carry On movies, but in 1969 she retired to look after her family instead.

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13: Caroline – Goldeneye

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When I first saw Goldeneye, I mistakenly thought that Caroline was Moneypenny, such was the flirtatious banter between the two, as well as the character’s coy mannerisms and the fact that she didn’t really look like a typical Bond woman. She appears mainly to remind us that Bond is a bit of a lad, likes racing cars, and of course to introduce us to Xenia Onatopp. Caroline is fine, gets in a little bit of dialogue, and is another character who you would mind making frequent appearances throughout the series as a world weary spy evaluator. Unfortunately we don’t get to see her again. Serena Gordon stars as the first Brosnan Bond girl, known for British TV shows such as The Bill and Other People’s Children. 

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12: Molly Warmflash – The World Is Not Enough

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‘Faith, a word of advice – you’re an idiot’. It wouldn’t be a post on this blog without some sort of Buffy reference – it’s quite funny seeing a one-off Buffy actress popping up as a one-off Bond character – she even dresses in the same stuffy manner as her Sunnydale counterpart. Played by Serena Scott Thomas, who you may know as the sister of Kristen, Molly succumbs to Bond’s charms as his doctor, and later tells us that Robert Carlisle is basically Superman.

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11: Rubavitch – The Living Daylights

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Played by Virginia Hey of Farscape and The Road Warrior fame (two of my favourite things), Rubavitch doesn’t get a lot to do aside from lose her clothes and cry when she thinks General Pushkin has been killed. Hey is a terrific actress as well as being gorgeous, and therefore earns a higher spot on the list than others who may be more iconic or have a larger role.

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10: Jenny Flex – A View To A Kill

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Jenny Flex. JENNY FLEX. There’s jsut something about the character names in A View To A Kill which are unforgettable to me – Max Zorin, Mayday, and Jenny Flex. There isn’t anything special about the character, and in truth it is a bizarre name that isn’t as obviously memorable as many others, but for whatever reason that name and by extension that character are stuck in my head for ever more. JENNY FLEX. Flex was played by Irish actress and model Alison Doody, famous for starring as the ill-fated Dr Schneider in The Last Crusade.

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9: Nancy – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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The least annoying, most attractive of the women Bond meets in Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Nancy is a porcelain-doll looking woman who appears in numerous flirtatious interludes with Bond throughout the film, eventually popping up in his bed. Best known for her recurring role in Space: 1999, Catherine Schell has appeared in many shows and movies including Return Of The Pink Panther and Wish Me Luck.

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8: Solange Dimitrios – Casino Royale

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Casino Royale was by no means the first Bond movie to show the character in a tragic light, but it does one of the better jobs of highlighting the fact. Solange is the latest in a long line of women who meet their end (at least partially) due to meeting Bond. A victim of her husband’s abuse she hopes that perhaps Bond could be her way out, but she is murdered in an ugly message to Bond, and a sign of things to come for 007. Caterina Murino is another model turned actress who has appeared in a mixture of European TV and film.

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7: Corinne Dufour – Moonraker

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Speaking of tragic and ugly ends as a consequence of meeting Bond, Corinne gets one of the darkest deaths in the series when Drax allows his hunting dogs to chase and rip her apart. She works for Drax as a pilot but is seemingly innocent of his evil ways and when she shags Bond and inadvertently betrays her boss, her death is inevitable. Most famous for playing the title character in the controversial Story Of O, Corinne Clery also appeared in many French and Italian cult movies.

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6: Tilly Masterson  – Goldfinger

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Although it is Jill Masterson who grabs the headlines thanks to her Golden murder, Tilly is the more interesting character which the bigger role. She tries to kill Goldfinger several times as revenge for her sister’s death but in the end is killed by Oddjob. Tania Mallet made her sole big screen appearance in the movie, returning to the successful modelling career where she made her name.

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5: Saida – The Man With The Golden Gun

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Another character that I always remembered from my childhood, mainly for the amusing scene where Bond keeps trying to remove a bullet from her belly button. In fact, that’s her only scene in the movie but it’s all very funny and oddly sexy in that uncomfortable Moore way, and Carmen du Sautoy acts along playfully. She has appeared on stage in many roles, as well as appearing in many sitcoms and minor movies over the decades.

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4: Manuela -Moonraker

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Manuela doesn’t really do much in Moonraker to warrant being so high on my list, but she does appear in multiple scenes including one memorable one where she is almost gobbled by Jaws. She’s a Secret Service Agent, so you’d assume she’s bad ass – or at least bad ass cheek. She’s high on the list I guess because of potential – she’s another character that could have been someone who was recurring over other movies. But as we know by this point, part of the charm of the Bond movies are that they throw in needless one-off Bond girls in parts which could have been played by a smaller pool of actresses. Emily Bolton stars as Manuela, an actress who has appeared most famously in TV shows such as Tenco and Capital City before seemingly retiring and disappearing like so many other Bond Girls.

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3: Paula Caplan – Thunderball

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One of the earliest, if not the first instance of the tragic Bond girl, Caplan seems like a capable contact for Bond to work with. She flirts with Bond, as you do, but when she is later captured by the bad guys she seemingly kills herself to avoid torture and giving up valuable information. Caplan was played by Martine Beswick who we have already covered here due to her appearance in From Russia With Love. 

2: Helga Brandt – You Only Live Twice

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Is Brandt genuinely a Bond Girl, given that she is also a villain? Who cares, it’s my list. She shags Bond, tries to kill him on a few occasions, and appears in quite a few scenes. She also gets one of my favourite deaths, and favourite moments in the series when Blofeld feeds her to his piranha. Karin Dor played the part, a prolific German actress who is still acting today, mostly on stage, but still popping up in movies and TV. She is also known for Topaz and The Face Of Fu Manchu.

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1: Bibi Dahl – For Your Eyes Only

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I’m sure this will raise a few eyebrows, but I love Bibi Dahl. Or perhaps more accurately, I love Lynn Holly Johnson. I loved her in The Watcher In The Woods, and I love her in this. Okay fine, yes she is an annoying character, but she makes it so believable. And she’s hot as hell too. Her role in the movie is bizarre – she’s some horny kid who wants to get it on with James, but she’s also being trained as an Ice Skater by the bad guy, who does genuinely seem to care for her. She gets a lot of dialogue and screen time for a minor character but I enjoy every scene she’s in as she brightens up a pretty dark movie. She’s a fairly unique character in the Bond canon, and for that she gets my top spot. Yippee! Lynn quit acting in the 90s after refusing to do nude scenes, but returned in 2007 before suffering a stroke and it seems she is again retired now.

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Tune in next time when we’ll be getting the big guns out. And by guns I mean boobs. And by boobs I mean women. And by writing, I apologize.