The Daily Record offers their picks, and some of their choices are…surprising.
First, when I pick theme songs, I exclude the Bond Theme itself, because nothing can touch it. Most people want to discuss songs, as in something with a singer. So I’m not faulting them for not mentioning it, that’s fine.
They have “Goldfinger” as a number one choice. Fine choice. Excellent, iconic choice.
In the number two slot, “You Know My Name.” WTF? It’s at best mediocre. It doesn’t move the action, plot, or mood forward in any way; instead it holds it back. The melody, as picked up in the soundtrack, works well enough, but the vocals are thready.
#3 is “A View to a Kill.” Great choice. This is one of those songs that used sensibility of the day (1980s, that is) to create a new sound that’s still a Bond sound. I actually like it better today than I did in the ’80s, when Duran Duran suffered from overexposure.
#4 is “You Only Live Twice.” This is many people’s favorite, because the melody is exquisite and the lyrics are haunting. However, both John Barry and Nancy Sinatra herself admitted her voice was not up to the task of singing such a lush melody, and the lackluster performance doesn’t work for me.
#5 for the Daily Record is “Licence to Kill.” WHAT? It’s weak, it’s stupid, and Gladys Knight didn’t like it. Disliked it so much that you can hear the reluctance in her voice.
My list, you ask?
1. “GoldenEye”—Not loved by many, but a powerful vocal with a driving melody and haunting lyrics and instrumentation. I think it’s the modernized “Goldfinger.”
3. “A View to a Kill”
4. “Live and Let Die”—the first attempt to modernize Bond music worked fabulously, and holds up today.
5. “The Spy Who Loved Me”—the greatest of the Bond love themes.