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The Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs

With the arrival of Adele’s new Bond theme, we look back at the best songs from the franchise

The Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs

The James Bond series has undergone many changes over the decades, but the films’ producers have never stopped asking the biggest pop stars of the day to record theme songs. Adele is the latest member of the club, with her new title song for Skyfall. Many of the Bond themes that came before her have become classics, while others were quickly forgotten. Which way will her song go? While we wait to find out, here’s a look back at the 10 greatest James Bond theme songs.

By Andy Greene

 Listen to the top 10 James Bond theme songs:

3. Carly Simon, "Nobody Does It Better" (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

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Carly Simon, ‘Nobody Does It Better’ (1977)

Carly Simon's 1977 hit "Nobody Does It Better," written for The Spy Who Loved Me, was the first James Bond title song to be titled something other than the name of the movie. (Songwriters Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager did manage to work "the spy who loved me" into the lyrics, at least.) The song shot to Number Two on the charts and remains one of Simon's signature tunes. Many people don't even realize it's from a James Bond movie.

2. Shirley Bassey, "Goldfinger" (Goldfinger, 1964)

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Shirley Bassey, ‘Goldfinger’ (1964)

Shirley Bassey already had a number of U.K. hits under her belt when she sang "Goldfinger," but the Bond theme became her first true international hit. This song and "Diamonds are Forever" became so famous that she had a hard time establishing a separate pop career outside of England. But Bassey remains a popular touring act, and "Goldfinger" brings down the house every night.

1. Paul McCartney and Wings, "Live and Let Die" (Live and Let Die, 1973)

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1

Paul McCartney and Wings, ‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)

Paul McCartney reunited with Beatles producer George Martin to record the title song for Live and Let Die, and wound up scoring one of his biggest post-Fab smashes. He's played the bombastic rock tune at practically all of his concerts over the past 40 years – often with pyrotechnic explosions during the climatic moments. Guns N' Roses gave the song a second life when they released their own even more over-the-top cover in 1991.