James Bond celebrated his 50th anniversary on the silver screen October 5 with the release of Adele‘s theme tune for the next Bond film, “Skyfall.” The Brit singer’s torch song, of course, joins a pantheon of famous 007 tracks. In honor of Bond’s birthday and Adele’s “Skyfall,” we’re offering a toast — shaken, not stirred — in the form of a look at the top-charting James Bond film theme songs ever.
This top 10 ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart through the tally dated Oct. 13, 2012. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
10. “Diamonds Are Forever”
Hot 100 Peak: 57 Peak Year: 1972
from the Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever”
Bassey’s sultry croon, complete with mid-tempo strings and horns, served as an apt title song for the 007 film in which Sean Connery’s Bond grapples with a gem smuggling ring. “I don’t need love,” Bassey sings, “Diamonds don’t lie to me.” Something Bond himself might have said.
9. “You Only Live Twice”
Hot 100 Peak: 44 Peak Year: 1967
from the Bond film “You Only Live Twice”
Nancy Sinatra’s lighter pop-orchestral stylings kicked off the title sequence of the 1967 Bond flick, just after viewers witness Bond’s untimely death… or so it seems. The song lived more than twice: Coldplay and Bjork, among others, have covered it.
8. “All Time High”
Hot 100 Peak: 36 Peak Year: 1983
from the Bond film “Octopussy” The early ’80s got sax-y with Coolidge’s horn-and-piano inflected Bond tune “All Time High,” which served as the theme for the film that was Roger Moore’s penultimate turn as 007.
Hot 100 Peak: 25 Peak Year: 1966
from the Bond film “Thunderball”
One of the few male artists to hit big on the charts with a Bond theme, Tom Jones and his melodramatic ballad for “Thunderball” reached the top 30 of the Hot 100, and as you can tell by the screams in the video above, found an enthusiastic reaction from female fans.
6. “Die Another Day”
Hot 100 Peak: 8 Peak Year: 2003
from the Bond film “Die Another Day” Pair a pop icon with a pulsing beat and a Pierce Brosnan 007 film and you get Madonna’s early aughts jam, one of the few Bond themes to hit the Hot 100’s top 10.
Hot 100 Peak: 8 Peak Year: 1965
from the Bond film “Goldfinger” Bassey, who later used her melancholy contralto to great effect on “Diamonds Are Forever” (as seen above), first really showed off her prowess singing a Bond theme with this classic, complete with famously blaring horns complimenting the over-enunciated refrain of “Goooldfingah!”
4. “For Your Eyes Only”
Hot 100 Peak: 4 Peak Year: 1981
from the Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” Sheena Easton’s 1981 title song — a tender contemporary ballad that didn’t exactly scream typical Bond theme — climbed all the way into the top five of the Hot 100.
3. “Live And Let Die”
Paul McCartney & Wings
Hot 100 Peak: 2 Peak Year: 1973
from the Bond film “Live And Let Die” This epic 1971 blast — which kicks off with Paul McCartney behind the keys before exploding into a pounding guitar-piano rocker — is arguably the most famous 007 theme song. Bond sung by a Beatle: what’s not to like?
2. “Nobody Does It Better”
Hot 100 Peak: 2 Peak Year: 1977
from the Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” Recipe for a No. 2 hit in 1977? Have key ’70s singer/songwriter Carly Simon belt out a Marvin Hamlisch-composed power ballad for a Bond film from smack dab in the Roger Moore years.
1. “A View To A Kill”
Hot 100 Peak: 1 Peak Year: 1985
from the Bond film “A View To A Kill”
“Le Bon, Simon Le Bon,” the Duran Duran frontman jokes at the end of the video for group’s angular ’80s pop-tinged 007 title tune. Turns out he could afford to compare himself to the superspy. The suave British ladykiller of the film was served well by the suave British ladykillers of the song: “A View To A Kill” is the only Bond theme ever to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100.