2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film series. While its action-packed storylines and chic design are hallmarks of the franchise, the music plays just as significant a role.
The film franchise itself has always delivered on poaching the best talent, working with legendary composers such as John Barry, Thomas Newman, and Hans Zimmer. In addition, the songs themselves have become pop-culture staples that have expanded beyond theme music.
Among the more successful title songs you can find Live and Let Die Paul McCartney’s Wings, which reached #1 in multiple music charts, Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger, which became one of the favorite songs in England and Diamonds Are Forever, also by Bassey, which was used by Kanye West for his Grammy Award-winning Diamonds of Sierra Leone. The last 3 songs, Skyfall, Writing’s on the Wall, and No Time to Die have all been nominated or won the Academy Award. The legacy of excellence in this film series owes a huge debt to the musical artists that have contributed to it.
From the opening theme song with its drumming blues guitar, its retro-funk turn in the Roger Moore era, to dreary soulful rhythms as of late, the music has changed with the times while retaining a unique quality.
Here at Artlist, we’re highlighting a collection of royalty-free songs inspired by the vintage movie franchise. Hopefully, you explore these artists and use their work in your own creations.
007 Collection Song highlights
Never Die by Noa Lembersky
This track is reminiscent of Adele’s Skyfall in its soulfulness. The track opens with a noir sound strung along on sad cellos. Lembersky’s vocals are velvety in the verse until they build and pierce through in the chorus. The lyrics drum up the dramatic intensity of the James Bond character, a person constantly in danger with the need to survive for the sake of love. This build and payoff are also helped by the orchestral strings that evoke sorrow and action.
The song works great in opening title scenes, and one wonders listening if Lembersky was ever in the running for a Bond song of her own. The piece tells a story all by itself and can serve as an amuse-bouche to your own action-packed tale. You can also place the song elsewhere in your story, as long as the powerful lyrics and music don’t clash with what you have on screen. Never Die is epic, so work with it to your advantage to maximize its potential.
The Cat and the Panther by The Original Orchestra feat. Ian Post
Somewhere between Pink Panther and James Bond, this swanky jazz beat is a throwback to the early 1960s verve. The opening saxophone is sexy and seductive, while the accompanying piano adds class and gloss to the overall production. Light guitar mid-song adds a layer of complexity to the song, giving it more dimension than your hotel lobby jazz you’d expect. The song feels fun and snazzy, like an improvised ensemble among old friends.
Add this song to a dinner scene in the background, when your character is shopping in the sunlight or at a poolside where danger might lurk. It can be great in regal scenes or to set up seduction between a protagonist and his femme fatale. Either way, it can add a chic element to any scene that’s looking for an old-world feel while remaining timeless.
Five Men by Ian Post
Another Ian Post track, this song is short, tense and perfect for action scenes or commercials. The strings play against the backdrop of ever-increasing percussions, and the song builds up to a climactic finale. Heroic and cinematic, the orchestra feels like it was made to be played while a protagonist races to defuse a bomb.
The length of the song actually helps it remain versatile. It can be in a commercial for outerwear gear, in an advertisement for martial arts or in a short scene where the main character is saving the day. Its brevity, clarity and simplicity help it adapt to different types of scenes while retaining the compact tension that makes it significant.
Getting Ready by Borrtex
This song hits like a shot of adrenaline: a short, quick melody that fuses an electronic sound with a clattering percussion. Its sharp rhythm will have you moving your head to the fast beat while feeling the pulse throttle through your body. It feels like it’s from a 90’s David Fincher movie but has all the grit from the darkest scenes in Skyfall.
This song can play well in short, action bursts in narrative videos. It can also play excellent background music for your workout channel, fitness videos, or travel videos that capture nightlife in fast edits. The song’s length also gives it flexibility, as it can be used in quick sequences or layered across a long chase scene. Its signature jolt can absolutely enhance any high-action scene and leave the viewer reeling from its electric sound long afterwards.
Revolution by Shahead Mostafafar
Revolution by Shahead Mostafafar is an intricate song with enough movements to be used for many different types of scenes. Starting with a melancholic piano melody, it breaks suddenly into a synthesized string bridge. The turn sounds a lot like the work of Hans Zimmer from the Dark Knight trilogy: dark, atmospheric, and enthralling. This is a song is fitting at the climax of the film due to its epic nature and scope. It fits in an urban setting or any battle sequence, whichever is the high point in your story.
This song is comparable to Never Die in its intensity, so be careful with placement for it. It can overpower a less action-oriented sequence, so you want to pair it well. You can have a tremendous payoff with this supersonic ballad if done correctly.
There are plenty more songs in our 007-inspired collection, from Dr. Paranoid‘s operatic rock song Pinch Me to Kill, Faith Richards‘ soulful pop ballad Before We’re Leaving Here to Anthony Vega‘s retro funk track The Chase. So browse the collection and find musical inspiration for your next video.