Throughout the last fifty years, a number of musicians have recorded songs for the James Bond series; from divas such as Dame Shirley Bassey and pop acts such as a-ha and Duran Duran, to surprising but effective choices such as Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.
Though some, such as Jack White and Alicia Keys’ collaboration for Quantum of Solace, have been criticised, a Bond song serves as an essential element of the series formula, playing during the opening credits of a film and engaging the audience as they prepare themselves for the storyline and action sequences that await them.
The back catalogue of Bond themes have proved popular amongst the public, with several themes having gone to number one in different countries around the world, and within the music industry itself, with the songs being frequent subjects for both sampling (such as the use of Diamonds Are Forever on Kanye West’s Diamonds From Sierra Leone) and covers (such as Guns N Roses take on Wings’ Live And Let Die).
As such, being tasked with performing a Bond song is a great honour for musicians, offering them worldwide exposure as well as the opportunity to be associated with one of cinema’s most popular franchises. The prestigious nature of the task is highlighted by the number of renowned artists, including Johnny Cash, Blondie, Alice Cooper and Pulp, who have seen their offerings (in some cases wrongly, in my opinion) turned down by the series’ producers.
What follows is a list of ten musical acts (one group and nine solo artists, albeit two that also perform as part of a group) who I believe could successfully take up the mantle and offer a high quality song for one of the next two Bond films, tentatively scheduled for 2014 and 2016 respectively.
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