The Importance of the James Bond Theme Songs

The Importance of the James Bond Theme Songs 2

The James Bond theme song is one of the most important parts of each film. Find out more about why these songs are so iconic here.

It is often one of the first glimpses we will get of a James Bond song. Long before the first trailer comes out, we will get a hint of what the film might be like, and this is in the form of the theme song. How do these songs shape our understanding of the film as a whole, and why are they such an iconic part of James Bond media? Let’s take a closer look!

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As Iconic as the Films Themselves

Think of a James Bond film, and you will be reminded of the theme songs in some way. Whether it is the iconic theme by Monty Norman with its thrumming guitars, or one of the big blockbusters by a superstar musician, they form an important part of the film.

If you are searching for the perfect indication as to what the film might be about, you only need to listen to the theme song. Though every Bond film is action-packed in its own way, the more upbeat and energetic ones certainly have a more thrilling theme song than some of their more sombre counterparts.

Just take a listen to “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell. This was the theme song for Casino Royale, the first outing for Daniel Craig’s 007 and the chance to kick off a new era of Bond. The introduction to a new iteration of James Bond needs to be powerful and show what the new one is about while also paying careful homage to those who came before him. This theme song might not be the most famous on the list, but it definitely sets a good tone and a brilliant introduction for Craig.

The Best Artists

There are so many amazing artists who have had a chance to work on the music for James Bond. One of the most iconic by far is Shirley Bassey, who voiced Diamonds are Forever, Moonraker, and the unforgettable Goldfinger. Her powerful vocals definitely helped to define a generation of Bond, and are nearly as iconic as Norman’s orchestral theme.

There have been many other amazing artists who have worked on themes for James Bond. Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Paul Macartney, and Tina Turner are just some of the names of greats who have created iconic songs for the Bond franchise. Whether you are listening to unforgettable songs about poker or some of the other songs in these artists’ repertoires, it is not too much of a reach to say that their work on Bond is some of the finest that they have ever produced.

The recent films have also featured some of the biggest artists of the moment. Skyfall and Spectre had theme songs from Adele and Sam Smith respectively, while the latest, No Time to Die, was written by Billie Eilish. The latter actually received a lot of backlash when it was announced that she would be producing and voicing the latest Bond theme. Her catalogue of music until that point had been in a very different direction to what we typically saw in a Bond theme tune, but her slow crooning ballad showed her versatility as an artist.

An Important Part of the Bond Experience

Bond very much set the precedent of being a gentleman spy. When you sit down to watch a Bond film, you expect gadgets, sharp suits, and maybe a game of baccarat at some point. They are all iconic parts of the Bond brand, and the same can be said about the songs.

It is rare nowadays that you sit down to a film that has these sweeping opening credits with a beautiful theme song over the top of them. You are more likely to find an immediate introduction to the action with a few choice credits over the top. Bond films set themselves apart here – they still do the opening credits. It is a chance for them to celebrate some of the important people who helped to bring these films to life. The best thing to complete these opening credits is a powerful theme song, welcoming the audience in and giving them a taster of what to expect in the rest of the film.

A Vital Part of the Bond Experience

The theme song is a part of the Bond experience that cannot be missed. It does not matter which film it is, who is playing Bond, and who the bad guys are. The theme song is what ties everything together. Some of these themes are as well-loved as the films they are attached to – while others, not so much.

If you have never explored the theme songs of Bond then you should definitely go back and have a look at them. Some are celebrated as much as their films – and for good reason!


Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as hosting interviews for the weekly XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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