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.

Ranking The James Bond Songs – Summary

Here’s a quick summary of my ranking of the major songs from Bond movies, all in one handy place:

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26. Die Another Day – Madonna

25. We Have All The Time In The World – Louis Armstrong

24. From Russia With Love – Matt Monroe

23. Never Say Never Again – Lani Hall

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22. Thunderball – Tom Jones

21. Another Way To Die – Alicia Keys and Jack White

20. Skyfall – Adele

19. The World Is Not Enough – Garbage

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18. A Ha – The Living Daylights

17. Under The Mango Tree – Diane Copeland

16. Licence To Kill – Gladys Knight

15. All Time High – Rita Coolidge

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14. Moonraker – Shirley Bassey

13. Goldeneye – Tina Turner

12. Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow

11. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey

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10. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell

9. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey

8. The Look Of Love – Dusty Springfield

7. The Writing’s On The Wall – Sam Smith

6. The Man With The Golden Gun – Lulu

 

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5. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton

4. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon

3. A View To A Kill – Duran Duran

2. Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings

1. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra

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So there you have it, all the major Bond songs ranked and with a couple of bonus tracks thrown in. What are your favourites? Which ones are beyond mentioning? Let us know in the comments!

Ranking The James Bond Songs # 3 -1

3. A View To A Kill (from A View To A Kill) – Duran Duran

Glorious stuff, 80s transcended, and probably the band’s best song. This one has the Bond blasts, a fast, rock oriented sound, and most importantly it has the melodies. The video is good fun too. I see that I’m picking a lot of Roger Moore film songs in the top end of the list, but then I grew up in the Moore era and many of his films my favourites. This one is super catchy and evokes plenty of moments from the film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV4UqmbzIq4

2. Live And Let Die (from Live And Let Die) – Paul McCartney and Wings

Moore again, and McCartney partners with George Martin once more for another hit. I do feel the Guns N Roses version of this is vastly superior, but credit to the writers for creating this in the first place of course. The film always creeped me out when I was young, what with all the skulls and voodoo stuff, and the song was also able to send shivers up and down my spine. Those Bond blasts serve a duel purpose then – they are clearly supposed to call back the Bond themes of old, but are also clearly designed to scare – many moments of the song are just off enough to disturb the listener. The main riff is excellent, the song is filled with beautiful slow moments, there is a hell of a lot of chaotic moments too as instruments race and collide with one another. It’s a fantastic song all round, worthy of much more than simply being remembered as a Bond song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=784k3EEuZYA

Number 1. You Only Live Twice (from You Only Live Twice) – Nancy Sinatra

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It has been slightly sullied by Dickhead of the Century – Robbie Williams, but even his worthless mitts couldn’t truly taint this slice of perfection. My favourite Connery Bond movie has a flawless theme which opens with some of the most gorgeous strings ever recorded. The song has an ever so slight oriental feel, Sinatra gives it the full frontal performance, the guitar copies the string melody, the lyrics are possibly the best in any bond song, and it’s one of a handful whose melodies are sublime throughout. It’s elegant, epic, and just the right length. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcIl_6amBvU

There you have it, my top 3 Bond songs. I’ll write a summary post showing my picks in a single post, but for now feel free to leave your thoughts on my picks in the comments below!

Ranking The James Bond Songs # 6 – 4

6. The Man With The Golden Gun (from The Man With The Golden Gun) – Lulu
images Most people hate this one with a passion, but it’s easily one of the most catchy, fun, energetic Bond songs. It’s funky with a rock and disco manic edge, great guitars, a blistering performance by Lulu. We even get a bizarre, soft, slow brief break in the middle where Lulu does a Bassey for a few moments. I’ve never quite understood why people, or so many people despise this – it hits all the right notes in my ears. I love love love each ‘golden shot’ that she sings, great stuff.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSbj2Mx2By8

5. For Your Eyes Only (from For Your Eyes Only) – Sheena Easton

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I’ve always had a soft spot for this one, partly because it’s from one of my favourite films in the series, and partly because I’m a sucker for ballads. It may get awfully cheesy, but it still does the job for me. This one also gets deathly close to being dated due to the instrumentation. But it’s just so lovely and so tragic. The film begins with Bond visiting the grave of his dead wife, we see one of the series’ most brutal killers dispatch a number of other likeable characters, and a rare somber turn by Moore. I love the verse and bridge, but I feel the chorus vocals could have been reined in a little, or would be better with a different singer. I’d love to hear some covers of this – I’m sure I’d love it even more if sung by one of my favourite singers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN1WBgS9u_E

4. Nobody Does It Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me) – Carly Simon

Beginning like a forgotten ballad by Queen, Simon again may not have been the best choice to perform this, but aside from that it’s a superb song and close to stealing that definitive Bond song crown. Naturally Radiohead’s version is better, but the song itself it so good that you’d be hard pushed to find a bad version of it. Again it’s super sexy, I love the combination of piano and violin, and it’s one of the few Bond songs that doesn’t have the typical blasts of string and horn – and doesn’t miss them for a second. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNA7DcVppEs Radiohead bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfmQe_eBvrc

Let us know below what you think of these Bond songs as I rarely see two of these in other lists of favourites.

Ranking The James Bond Songs # 9 -7

9. Goldfinger (from Goldfinger) – Shirley Bassey
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Everyone’s favourite Bond song makes my Top 10, but it has never been my favourite. Is it the definitive Bond song? Yes, probably, and it features one of the finest vocal performances and set many of the standards, but it isn’t my favourite. It has a superb introduction, wailing horns gradually getting softer and leading in to a seductive verse. Bassey towers over the music as if the music was played much louder in her ears when recording her vocals – completely belts them out with much more force than is remotely necessary. Massive swell and massive final note. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSnbaPW1Cfw

8. The Look Of Love (from Casino Royale 1967) – Dusty Springfield

Blasphemy! A spoof Bond song finishing higher than the definitive song!? I feel this is (at this point in time) the stronger song, with Dusty giving a timeless performance, her voice sounding disturbingly similar to some of the instruments. It’s a smokey, sexy performance, a beautiful series of melodies throughout, brilliantly constructed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf1d65OHYXo

7. The Writing’s On The Wall (from Spectre) – Sam Smith

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I assumed I wouldn’t like this given that the previous couple of films have had atrocious songs, and that I had not liked anything I had heard from Smith so far. This one is getting a lot of stick currently for sounding too…. feminine? I don’t know, sounds like a lot of Dude Bro types just felt their testicles get a little less hairy when they heard this, wanting instead a song suitable for blasting quads in the gym or whatever it is dickheads do with their time nowadays. This has grown on me quite a bit, and maybe it’s so high on my list because it’s fresh, but nevertheless Smith gives an emotional performance in a song that feels honest, and feels like another chapter of the Bond saga coming to an end. It has a desperate, dark tone, full of angst and melancholy. There is the big Bond opening, followed with a bleak piano line. I’m hoping dearly now that the film will be emotional in the vein of Casino Royale and that James gets some closure over Vesper. It is a gorgeous song.

Let us know below what your favourite Bond song is.

Ranking The James Bond Songs # 12 – 10

We’re at the point now in the list where I love all of the songs, and can’t find much to pick between any of their rankings.

12. Tomorrow Never Dies (from Tomorrow Never Dies) – Sheryl Crow

This has a terrific screechy, string-led intro, followed up by a melancholy verse with unusually strong lyrics. This one works extremely well as both a Bond song and a standalone. Crow is great during the verses, but her voice isn’t quite strong enough for what she tries to do in the chorus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BxTwJtpGYA

11. Diamonds Are Forever (from Diamonds Are Forever) – Shirley Bassey

I love the eerie, mysterious intro to this song, before the vocals kick in. It’s quite creepy and yet alluring. Bassey feels like she’s giving a lesson on diction in this one. It has a bit of Motown, a bit of jazz, a bit of disco, and all the requisite blasts of string and horn. All through the song, we get subtle changes yet the melodies ring true throughout along with Bassey’s great performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=098dHqw-87c

10. You Know My Name (from Casino Royale) – Chris Cornell

The first authentic rock track for a Bond film in quite some time, it also has a suitably bombastic opening. Cornell has long held one of the most unique voices in music and brings it to play here. It was a new start for Bond, and in many ways it doesn’t really sound like a Bond song. It has an up tempo chorus clashing well against a slower, more tempered verse. Aside from the occasional blast of horns this could really be a Cornell track entirely unrelated to 007. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnzgdBAKyJo

What does everyone think of these ones- any favourites? Let us know in the comments!

Ranking The James Bond Songs # 15 – 13

  15. All Time High (from Octopussy) – Rita Coolidge

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One of the cheesiest song openings of all time (and possibly one of the cheesiest songs in its entirety) with soft porn horns and dumping bass gives way to a genuinely good song, with touching melodies and a good verse and chorus combination. The vocals are a little grating in the chorus, so with a better singer and a stripping away of the 80s stuff, this could be a much more potent song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFurkDf6WXg

14. Moonraker (from Moonraker) – Shirley Bassey

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The least of the Bassey Bond songs, this is still a decent, full-bodied ballad. It lacks the memorable hooks or the powerful vocals of her other two tracks, but it does have a suitably otherworldly feel. Bassey, as expected reaches some sublime notes and though it’s a weightless, drifting melody it doesn’t have that wowza moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt3oQN0cAv0

13. Goldeneye (from Goldeneye) – Tina Turner

Bringing Bond smashing into the 90s after an unfortunate hiatus was going to be a difficult job, but both the film and the theme do an admirable job. It sound(ed)s modern and refreshing while at the same time hitting all the Bond trademarks, and Turner gives a sexy performance, both seductive and explosive – some of those final notes are damn impressive. The chorus is a little unspectacular, but the backing strings are superb, and the verse blasts of horns are catchy, and good for making up your own lyrics – all together now – ‘Goldeneye, cuts through the hedges!’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hGQ97tCTOs

Any favourites in this bunch? Let us know in the comments!