The sad news of Sir Roger Moore’s passing on May 23 at the age of 89 brought to mind his most popular role as the British secret service agent #007, James Bond.
Known for the more suave and comedic flair he brought to the role, the debonair Moore happened to star in more Bond movies – seven – than any other actor besides the legendary Sean Connery, who also has seven to his credits, but one of those, 1983’s “Never Say Never Again,” is not normally counted among the continuum of Bond flicks because it wasn’t an Eon Productions film like the others.
Still, of all the 007 actors, Moore and Connery are alternately considered as fan favorites when it comes to ranking the best James Bond, depending upon whom you ask and in which generation they grew up.
A friend of mine and fellow music connoisseur Alex Pereczky of Palm Springs reminded me of the strong ties between the James Bond films and their theme songs, which usually play with the films’ opening credit sequence and often became hit songs in their own right.
It is possible that, collectively, Bond theme songs are the best of any movie franchise. And an equally strong case could be made that Moore’s Bond movies had better tunes than those of either his predecessor Sean Connery or any of the other actors to play the role.
Think about it. How can you top the melodramatic combo of “Nobody Does It Better” from 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me,” or “Live and Let Die” from the 1973 movie of the same name?
Or what about the only Bond theme to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Duran Duran’s bombastic “A View To A Kill,” the title song to that 1985 Bond flick?
Okay, I realize only people of a certain age will appreciate those tunes more than say, Adele’s “Skyfall” or Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall,” but I think it’s a tall order to top the mystery and intrigue evoked by some of those earlier hits. And quite frankly, those songs would have likely done well even without their connection to the Bond movies.
Moore’s seven-pack of James Bond flicks includes: “Live and Let Die” (1973); “The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974); “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977); “Moonraker” (1979); “For Your Eyes Only” (1981); “Octopussy” (1983); and “A View to a Kill” (1985).
In honor of Moore, djrobblog is paying tribute to the late British actor and his most famous role with a ranking of ALL the Bond theme songs from worst to best, which includes Moore’s films as well as that of the other five actors (Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig).
The franchise began with 1962’s “Dr. No” starring Connery and continues to this day with the most recent Bond flick, “Spectre,” featuring Craig in the lead role.
Excluding “Never Say Never Again” and an earlier satirical take on “Casino Royale,” in which David Niven played the lead role, there have been 24 Bond films with 24 distinct theme songs. For this special djrobblog countdown, however, the famous instrumental James Bond theme introduced in “Dr. No,” the one that has been common throughout all the films, is not included in this ranking. It would clearly have the unfair advantage given its franchise tag and its familiarity to all Bond fans.
So only the theme songs used in the next 23 official films are included. And there are some monster hits among them, including the ones I mentioned earlier and other classics by Shirley Bassey (the only singer with more than one – she has three), Tom Jones, Louie Armstrong, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight and Nancy Sinatra.
Even the recently deceased Chris Cornell of Soundgarden fame once joined the fray.
So, now here are the James Bond themes ranked by djrobblog in order from worst to best, along with some interesting tidbits about each.
And yes, a Roger Moore or Sean Connery film has the No. 1 song on the list (sorry Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig fans!).
Scroll through the list and enjoy!
Star: Daniel Craig. Song: An unlikely pairing of stars from the 2000s resulted in a predictable failure song-wise. Watching Keys clink and clonk her way on the piano through this go-nowhere tune while she and White deliver uninspired vocals is tough to see. Hearing them at the 2:35 mark with the "ohhhh ohhhh oh ohh ohh" is even harder on the ears.
When you finish scrolling through the above countdown, leave comments either here or on my Facebook page and let me know whether you agree and what your favorite Bond theme is.
RIP Roger Moore.