Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The best James Bond theme covers

James Bond

Spectre – the  24th entry in the James Bond series – is less than two months away, and the hype around the suave British spy’s next screen outing is building.

We’ve recently had it confirmed who will be taking on the envious task of providing the film’s soon-to-be iconic theme tune (Sam Smith), and underground noise-rock bands are even having their own stab at providing alternative themes to the new movie.

It’s a major honour to be asked to provide the theme, with some of the biggest names in music lending their services to the Bond legacy over the years, and resulting in some of the most recognisable tunes in recent memory.

But what about the best Bond theme cover versions? We run through five our favourites, and you can vote for your personal preference at the bottom of this page.

Radiohead – ‘Nobody Does It Better’

The best covers end up sounding like the band performing them wrote them in the first place, with minimal fiddling with the original.

That’s exactly what happened here, as the Oxfordshire rockers took on Carly Simon’s theme to The Spy Who Loved Me with a pretty straight laced cover, only to make it entirely their own.

This rendition could have been placed alongside any of the tracks on The Bends, and no one would’ve batted an eyelid.

My Bloody Valentine – ‘We Have All The Time In The World’

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was pretty unique as far as Bond themes go in that it had two. The instrumental title track (see Propellerheads’ marvelous re-imagining), and this far more vocal motif sung by Louis Armstrong.

Far from Armstrong’s trademarkedly gravel-voiced rendition, once shoegazers My Bloody Valentine got their hands on it, they transformed it into shimmering breath of fresh air by way of Bilinda Butcher’s cooing vocals.

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Diamonds Are Forever’

Alex Turner’s fascination with Shirley Bassey is well documented, and late Noughties side-project The Last Shadow Puppets were so blatantly gunning for a gig writing a Bond theme you’d have the Sheffield native as a shoe-in for one in the future.

For now though, we’ll have to make do of this cover of Bassey’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ for the film of the same name. Originally debuted during the band’s triumphant Glastonbury headlining set in 2007, fans clamoured for a studio version so much that they had to oblige.

Alan Partridge – ‘Nobody Does It Better’

“STOP GETTING BOND WRONG!” And thus begins one of the best scenes in Partridge history.

Alan, already irate that his friend Michael has taped over his copy of The Spy Who Loved Me with America’s Strongest Man (“Now you’ve got Norfolk’s maddest man!”), gets increasingly annoyed by his friends inaccurately recounting the opening scenes. He takes it upon himself to re-enact the film’s intro within the confines of his static home, complete with a heartfelt rendition of Carly Simon’s original theme.

Altogether now: “Glang… glangalangalangalangalangalang…”

Pulp – ‘All Time High’

Pulp actually have two connections with Bond themes. In 1997 they wrote a potential theme for the Pierce Brosnan-starring Tomorrow Never Dies (titled ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’). It was unfortunately nixed in favour of Sheryl Crow’s far-inferior theme, although fans can still track it down as a b-side to their single ‘Help The Aged’.

Instead, the closest thing we’ve got to a Jarvis Cocker fronted theme is this cover of Rita Coolidge’s ‘All Time High’ from 1983’s questionably titled Octopussy.

So there you have five of our favourite Bond theme covers from over the years. But which one do you like the best tell us in comments?

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