The songs of James Bond

What’s your favourite James Bond film theme song? Madonna’s Die Another Day? Tina Turner’s Goldeneye? Or maybe A View to a Kill by Duran Duran?

We are quite partial to Adele’s opening number in the 2012 film Skyfall. And as it turns out, we have great taste in music. Rolling Stone magazine ranked James Bond film theme songs from best to worst and crowned Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger (1964) as the winner; Adele came in at number four.

How did your favourite fare? Apologies to all of you who enjoy Lulu’s The Man with the Golden Gun. It is the worst of its genre, according to the 2015 Rolling Stone magazine article.

The iconic music magazine isn’t the only publication that has examined the songs of 007. We came across a particularly interesting title in the Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO) music collection.

Written by Adrian Daub and Charles Kronengold, The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism (2015) illustrates how our conception of what a pop song is has changed over time.

The authors ‘argue that the story of the Bond song is the story of the pop song more generally, and perhaps even the story of its end. Each chapter discusses a particular segment of the Bond canon and contextualizes it in its era’s music and culture’ (Amazon).

You can access the full text of The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism online in OSO. The OSO music collection contains titles from Oxford University Press and covers significant titles in musicology and music history, ethnomusicology, and music theory. The collection now includes over 160 new titles.

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