James Bond: The Roger Moore Era Theme Songs, Ranked

Roger Moore shows off some caviar on the couch in A View to a Kill.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

Ranking theme songs from the James Bond movies can be a hard task when you’re really into said tunes. However, to paraphrase one of the tracks we’ll be evaluating today, when you’ve got a job to do, you’ve got to give it hell and do it well. Considering that just last week, I ranked the Sean Connery-era Bond themes in the name of Bond Blend, this week’s musical evaluation is focused on the Roger Moore years in the 007 universe.

Amid the recent release of The Sound of 007 on Prime Video (opens in new tab), as well as the recent milestone anniversary of Commander Bond’s cinematic adventures, the franchise's music is definitely worth looking over. As I had previously mentioned, we’re skipping On Her Majesty’s Secret Service today for the usual reasons. It’s only one film in the saga of Commander Bond’s life and times, and there’s an interesting non-ranking discussion that awaits us. 

Now is not that time though and, admit it, you mentally skipped to Sir Roger’s catalog of songs in the 007 jukebox anyway. While I don’t actively encourage that sort of thinking, you’re vindicated today. Let’s take a look at the theme songs from the Roger Moore era of James Bond, starting from the bottom and working to the top. 

Roger Moore smiles in the cockpit of a minijet in Octopussy.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

7. All Time High (Octopussy, 1983)

I know it’s somehow popular to put down lyricist Sir Tim Rice and singer Rita Coolidge’s romance-fueled single, which opened Octopussy. Even The Sound of 007 has a couple moments where “All Time High” gets a drubbing from several sources; including Sir Tim himself! 

While I can see the issues people have with it, and it’s also my least favorite Roger Moore theme song, I can’t totally hate this one. However, we’re here to rank James Bond themes in Sir Roger’s era; and this one firmly sits at the bottom of the deck.

Octopussy is already a mixed bag as a movie, and its opening number doesn’t help matters any. “All Time High” is a decent hit that belongs in the conversation of ‘80s love songs, and Rita Coolidge sells the hell out of the romance. If it was better tied into the film overall, there may have been some leeway; but, as it stands, this single is at the bottom of the charts.

Christopher Lee calmly aims his pistol while sitting at the table in The Man with the Golden Gun.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

6. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

Coming in at second to last is Scottish singer Lulu with the title track to The Man with the Golden Gun. It’s even harder to evaluate this song on its own merits when history has shown us that the Alice Cooper track of the same name could have really sold this movie well. 

Putting that aside, the team of songwriter Don Black and composer John Barry did pretty well when it came to sticking to the brief that used to dictate a title song always using the title of said James Bond film. While this isn’t totally the freewheeling rock and roll that audiences were blown away by with Sir Paul McCartney and Wings’ Live and Let Die opener, "The Man with the Golden Gun" still has a bit of a rocker’s edge to it. 

Dealing with bravado and innuendo in tribute to Christopher Lee’s Francisco Scaramanga and his professional rituals, Lulu really goes for it from start to finish. There’s a lot of energy to this Bond theme, but it still falls behind some of the competition.

Lois Chiles and Roger Moore standing in uniform in Moonraker.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM.)

5. Moonraker (1979)

Here’s a fun story to tell: in another universe, we’re all probably discussing how Frank Sinatra’s Moonraker theme is one of the undersung pleasures of the 007 songbook. What that song would have sounded like, we’ll never know on this end of the space-time continuum. But we do know the version that Dame Shirley Bassey gave us as her third and final Bond song. 

The final result is beautiful, but one should also marvel at the fact that such a gorgeous song could be produced and still share the film's weird title. Considering that it came together at the eleventh hour, this is a track that deserves more credit than it’s given. It still doesn’t fit the movie as well as it should but, then again with a title like "Moonraker," you can only do so much when sticking to the name you’re given. 

As always, Dame Shirley delivers, with a beautifully operatic ballad that allowed her to reteam her with composer John Barry and songwriter Don Black. It may be another odd duck in the pond, but that Bassey charisma makes for a space-age delight.

Roger Moore embracing with Carole Bouquet in For Your Eyes Only.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

4. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

If the Roger Moore era of Commander Bond was good for anything, it’s what musician/007 theme tune singer Jack White refers to as “the gentle ones.” As you’ve already seen, there are quite a few ballads in the lineup we’re discussing here, and that just might be the ultimate tribute to Moore’s rejection of the harder edge to Bond. 

What do you get when you stand at the crossroads of such an intersection? The opening of For Your Eyes Only, of course. We’re still firmly in ballad territory here, as Sheena Easton’s vocals bring  Bill Conti’s music and Michael Leeson's lyrics to life. On the surface, having another “gentle one” opening Roger Moore’s most hardened 007 outing might seem out of place. 

That couldn’t be further from the truth, though, as For Your Eyes Only is one of the Bond ballads that manages to feel perfectly in place, thanks to his growing attraction/mentoring of companion Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet). The thread that sews this tune into the fabric of the film is only enriched by Easton’s singing, as well as the fact that she’s the only musical artist to actually appear in the opening credits of a James Bond movie. 

Jane Seymour and Roger Moore stand holding drinks in a lair in Live and Let Die.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

3. Live And Let Die (1973)

Oh, I can practically read the hate mail now. Conventional wisdom probably puts Sir Paul McCartney and Wings’ Live and Let Die song at the top of quite a few rankings for this era. I wouldn’t even be surprised if a lot of James Bond theme lists have this song in the overall top 10; and for good reason. 

Just as 007 was fully swinging into the ‘70s, and with Sir Roger Moore making his big debut, it was time for a change. Rock and roll finally entered the Bond series, and we were all the better for it. Looking back again at "The Man with the Golden Gun’s" energetic blast of a tune, it’s clear that those results were trying to recapture what Sir George Martin and McCartney had brought to the table with this song. 

That’s a hard act to follow under any circumstances, but it’s especially difficult when "Live and Let Die" blasts out of the gate as it did. Setting the tone for a Bond who would continue to chase modern music’s trends, for better or worse, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir George Martin kicked off a watershed arc in the glorious history of James Bond music.

Roger Moore stands with gun drawn, while Barbara Bach stands behind him in The Spy Who Loved Me.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

2. Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

This is it: the ballad to end all ballads in the Sir Roger Moore run of James Bond. Just as "Live and Let Die" provided an undeniable benchmark for 007 rock and roll, composer Marvin Hamlisch gave the world the ultimate Bond ballad with “Nobody Does It Better.” The second franchise entry to score an Oscar nod for Best Original Song, Hamlisch’s music and Carole Bayer Sager’s lyrics gave Carly Simon a landmark entry into the musical world of espionage.

On paper, “Nobody Does It Better” probably shouldn’t work; especially when the plot to the 1977 film involves gigantic aspirations of world domination and the introduction of Richard Kiel’s Jaws. Much as "For Your Eyes Only" would do, The Spy Who Loved Me’s theme song ties into the touch and go romance between James Bond and Major Anya “XXX” Amasova (Barbara Bach), but also makes itself at home in the movie itself. 

A tribute to the good Commander and his ability to be the best man in his universe, the entire enterprise rides a wave of confidence that just feels like peak Bond. However, it's not quite the best of the Roger Moore signature melodies. 

Roger Moore posed for action in the Eiffel Tower stairwell in A View To A Kill.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

1. A View To A Kill (1985)

I’m not sure how controversial this is going to be, but I’ve flat-out ranked Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill as the best in the Roger Moore era. The fact that I can do this only highlights the further point that even in the ever-changing world of James Bond themes, this particular span of tracks covers a wide gap of styles and genres. Sir Roger’s movies were just as diverse, taking big swings for space and the seas on a regular basis.

“Big swings” are what secured this track's position in first place, with The Sound of 007 documentary revealing that the song only ever landed in the group’s lap after bassist John Taylor asked Albert R. Broccoli a rather ballsy question. That bold move lines up with why A View to a Kill’s theme tops the charts of the Moore run, as it’s a huge, confident rock tune that also doubles as a hell of a villainous statement. 

Building in electronic elements that reflect the disruptive plan of Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), Duran Duran took a huge swing for the fences, with such a “modern” result. Time hasn’t dulled the luster, just as the best Bond movies only get better with age. While the film itself is one of the weaker links in this chain, "A View to a Kill" is an all-time entry in this legendary canon, thanks to a properly nerve shredding mix of danger and panache.

The dust can now settle, as the ranking of the Roger Moore James Bond songs has officially concluded. Much like a ranking of the films themselves, this enterprise is bound to spark some debate, and that’ll probably carry the crowd for a week or so. Which is good, because we’re doing another skip and stepping into ranking the songs that opened Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond movies.

No matter which Bond caper you’re looking to catch, almost all of them are available for streaming in one convenient location. All that’s needed is a Prime Video subscription to get in on the fun, which also includes The Sound of 007 documentary and concert highlight special. If you’re still humming “A View to a Kill,” you can at the very least watch the film it’s attached to in the name of ridding your head of that insanely catchy melody.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.