The Sad Loss of Sean Connery and Bond Themes, Which Is Your Favourite?

Television news is very much focused on one topic at the moment, but last Saturday we found out that Sean Connery had passed away in his sleep, and it was a big story. Sean was born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh in 1930, and despite coming from humble origins he often found himself voted ‘The Greatest Living Scot’ or ‘Scotland’s Greatest Living National Treasure’. Quite something for someone who started life as a milkman.

The joke of course is that Sean Connery always did an excellent job of playing Sean Connery, in every film role, but we didn’t care. Whether he was a Spaniard in Highlander, an Irishman in The Untouchables or indeed the debonair James Bond, he always had the same Scottish accent, but somehow it just worked.

RIP Sean Connery

Back in the early days of this blog I once spent an entire Sunday afternoon visiting all the theme songs from over 50 years of Bond films, and put together my own list, ranked by personal preference. Now seems to be the right time to revisit that list. As I said back then, there is mixed opinion on which is the best theme song ever, but at the time my winner was You Only Live Twice by Nancy Sinatra from the 1967 film of the same name. Over the years Nancy has often appeared on these pages, and she’s my girl crush, so I’m certainly not going to depose her now.

You Only Live Twice by Nancy Sinatra:


The song has a really beautiful intro which Robbie Williams cleverly used for his recording of Millennium in 1998. In the video for Millennium, Robbie, dressed in a tuxedo, parodies James Bond and references many of the early Sean Connery films. Turned out to be a great way to get back on top after his departure from Take That.

But back to my list, Nancy was up there at the top, with Paul McCartney & Wings coming a close second. The theme from Moonraker was down at the very bottom for me at the time (also one of the worst films in the franchise). The rest of the list goes as follows:

All Bond Theme Songs – Personal Ranking (feel free to disagree)

1. You Only Live Twice – 1967 – Nancy Sinatra
2. Live and Let Die – 1973 – Paul McCartney & Wings
3. For Your Eyes Only – 1981 – Sheena Easton
4. The Spy Who Loved Me – 1977 – Carly Simon
5. The Living Daylights – 1987 – A-ha
6. The World Is Not Enough – 1999 – Garbage
7. From Russia with Love – 1963 – Matt Monro
8. Goldfinger – 1964 – Shirley Bassey
9. Skyfall – 2012 – Adele
10.We Have All the Time in the World – 1969 – Louis Armstrong
11.Diamonds Are Forever – 1971 – Shirley Bassey
12.All Time High – 1983 – Rita Coolidge
13.Licence to Kill – 1989 – Gladys Knight
14.A View to a Kill – 1985 – Duran Duran
15.Thunderball – 1965 – Tom Jones
16.GoldenEye – 1995 – Tina Turner
17.Tomorrow Never Dies – 1997 – Sheryl Crow
18.Writing’s on the Wall – 2015 – Sam Smith
19.Die Another Day – 2002 – Madonna
20.The Man with the Golden Gun – 1974 – Lulu
21.Another Way To Die – 2008 – Jack White & Alicia Keys
22.You Know My Name – 2006 – Chris Cornell
23.Moonraker – 1979 – Shirley Bassey

I still think the I still think the Golden Age of Bond films was the Sean Connery era or perhaps it’s just that I am reminded of watching them on television as a child. By the early ’70s they were a staple on high days and holidays and because the world was a much bigger place then, with foreign travel something very few of us experienced, it was worth watching them for the glamorous locations alone. Had another actor played the role of James Bond in those early films, they may well not have been as successful, so a franchise still going strong today, all started with the milkman from Edinburgh.

Now that I’ve done all the hard work, what’s your favourite Bond theme? I’d love to hear from you, and as you know by now, I always reply.

Until next time…, RIP Sean Connery.

You Only Live Twice Lyrics
(Song by Leslie Bricusse/John Barry)

You only live twice or so it seems
One life for yourself and one for your dreams
You drift through the years and life seems tame
Till one dream appears and love is it’s name

And love is a stranger who’ll beckon you on
Don’t think of the danger or the stranger is gone

This dream is for you, so pay the price
Make one dream come true, you only live twice

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

14 thoughts on “The Sad Loss of Sean Connery and Bond Themes, Which Is Your Favourite?”

  1. Disagree? It’s almost a full Victor Meldrew here. Lulu at no. 20. Below A-Ha. And Sheena Easton at no. 3. Shurely not…..

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  2. I was very sad to hear of Sean’s passing, even though he wasn’t my favourite Bond. He’d probably come a distant third. Being the first though, he did appear in some of the best films, and his post Bond roles were even more important to me.

    My best Bond theme? Well, I cheated a little when I compiled this…

    https://histopten.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-top-ten-james-bond-themes.html?m=1

    But nobody does it better than Carly (except maybe Aimee Mann, whose cover is amazing).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I said, everyone’s list will be different, but I think if I reassessing them now Carly’s song would be higher up the list if not at the top. DD’s favourite is Die Another Day and Mr WIAA’s is Matt Monro’s From Russia With Love.

      Yes sad to hear of Sean’s passing although I noticed he was born the same year as my dad, but got another 17 years on the planet. He had a good innings as they say and an amazing career. I really enjoyed The Man Who Would Be King plus The Untouchables of course. He is leaving an incredible body of work.

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  3. Goldfinger would be my number one from my favourite Bond film. I sort of gave up on Bond films after Seen Canary (as Elaine C. Smith once called him) pretended to be Asian, but “You Only Live Twice” would be in my top 3 along with “Nobody Does It Better” – both great songs.

    Here’s Elaine interviewing Seen Canary:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very funny – That must be where we got it from then as in our house he was always called Sean Canary.

      Another vote for You Only Live Twice – It’s not just me. I think Shirley and Goldfinger has just become over-familiar for me over the years although as a Bond theme it’s got it all hasn’t it. Probably the most iconic theme ever.

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  4. Whereas I’m quite pleased to see A-Ha place so highly.

    Coincidentally, The Wedding Present (and a slew of former members and collaborators) have just released an album of Bond theme covers, proceeds going to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) charity: all details here – https://scopitones.co.uk/archives/8594 – as a taster, here’s Simone White’s take on Goldfinger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc_gyLS_wt0 – I keep meaning to blog about this album myself…

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    1. Everyone’s list is different – Endless hours of fun can be had arranging and rearranging such lists but no time for that at the moment so the 2016 list will have to stand.

      Thanks for the heads up on that album. Sounds interesting and all for charity too. I will try and post that clip again so it shows up here.

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  5. Not wishing to put Old Sean down, but the best Bond (for me) was Roger Moore and the best film was The Spy Who Loved Me (possibly because it was the first Bond film I saw). Ergo the best Bond theme is Carly Simon.

    Alan Partridge dislikes people getting Bond wrong and provides a description of the opening sequence for the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very funny. He’s on quite a roll there with all the fine detail thrown in, like the lemon piping down the side of the ski suits.

      I think if I was doing my list again Carly would be at the top, and when Roger died I shared her song here, as The Spy Who Loved Me is definitely the best Roger Moore Bond film. Maybe it’s like with Dr Who, we all have our Bond. Then again my favourite is Pierce from the later years but the songs not so great by then.

      Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. Mmmmm…tricky. My favourite theme would probably be Louis Armstrong’s – a wonderful song. I listened through a few of the others I’d either forgotten or never heard at all – Sam Smith falls into the latter category – and good grief it’s dreadful!
    I was very sad to hear about Sean’s passing, although, like some of your other correspondents, he wasn’t my favourite Bond – that honour went to Roger Moore. Having said that, I haven’t seen any of Daniel Craig’s outings in the role, so I could easily be missing out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I said to Martin above, like with Dr Who, I think we all have our own Bond and it ties in with your age. It stands to reason for people of our vintage Roger would be the one we warm to most. As for Louis’ song, it is a beautiful one and very poignant – I remember it being an exception to the rule however and have just looked back at my original post where I wrote the following:

      ‘For the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service starring one-time Bond George Lazenby, John Barry was the composer of the opening theme of the same name but Louis Armstrong’s song We Have All The Time In The World was a secondary theme, played at the end of the film.’

      It seems it wasn’t the primary theme for the film but came right at the end – It will always be remembered as being the theme though. Later on in this series I updated the list of people we have lost from the world of entertainment this year and I shared the song when I mentioned Diana Rigg’s passing. Honor Blackman also died this year, so along with Sean, they will be having a high old time hopefully, reliving those Bond years.

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