11/09/2012 09:01 am ET Updated Jan 02, 2013

11 Greatest Bond Themes (VIDEO)

Jon Burlingame is the author of The Music of James Bond ($35, OUP)

For 50 years, we have not only loved the James Bond movies, we've also loved the music of 007: the iconic songs, the singers who performed them, the thrilling scores by some of the greatest composers in cinema history.

It's a remarkable track record, considering the changes that popular music has undergone. But that's always been part of the Bond formula: Find a hot songwriter, a hot artist (sometimes the same person), convince them to write a song with a bizarre title, and then hope it's not only appropriate for the movie but turns out to be a hit record too.

It started in 1962, when John Barry arranged and performed Monty Norman's original "James Bond Theme" for the title sequence of Dr. No. Barry's track record with instrumental hits - usually featuring a twangy guitar and a mixture of jazz and rock influences -- paid off with a number 13 hit on the U.K. charts.

And now, half a century later, Adele's single for Skyfall, the 23rd official Bond film, is following in the hallowed footsteps of Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon and even Duran Duran.

Fully half the previous Bond themes qualify as classics for one reason or another:

Greatest Bond Themes