Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time — 80-71

Click here to see 100-91, 90-81 

Inspired by a girl who “could party and rock harder than anyone I’d known,” John Scott Sherrill wrote this song while separating from his wife. The first country chart-topper for both singer John Anderson and Sherrill, “Wild and Blue” is a hauntingly beautiful account of a cheating woman, told from the POV of her cuckolded man. Anderson’s syrupy drawl and mournful wail is intensified by sister Donna’s Hill Country harmonizing. Lloyd Green’s pedal steel and twin fiddles paint a long, bleak evening of waiting for honey to come home, but in the end the singer’s resigned forgiveness is hardly cause for celebration. Big-voiced Sally Timms gave Anderson’s 1982 hit a straight, strong reading when British country-punks the Mekons covered it on 1991’s Curse of the Mekons. 

The second Number One single off Garth Brooks’ debut LP, “The Dance” is a better-to-have-loved-and-lost slow jam that co-writer Tony Arata had been playing to open mic nights since he had moved to Nashville a few years earlier. “The only folks listening, however, were other songwriters,” remembers Arata. When Brooks first heard him play “The Dance,” he swore he would record the song if he ever got signed.

78. Roger Miller, ‘King of the Road’ (1964)

Inspired by a sign in Chicago that read “Trailers for Sale or Rent,” Roger Miller’s finger-snapping, bass-walking 1965 hit sold 2.5 million copies and became the Texas-born songwriter’s signature tune. Miller’s deliciously detailed masterpiece describes a happy-go-lucky vagrant’s existential tradeoff: “Two hours of pushin’ a broom / Buys an eight-by-12 four-bit room.” A perfectly modulated chorus sketches the hobo’s sunny familiarity with train engineers’ families before sneakily adding his similar acquaintance with “every door that ain’t locked when no one’s around.” Later in ’65, singer Jody Miller (no relation) answered with “Queen of the House,” a similarly ironic ode to domestic royalty. Roger released his own sequel of sorts in 1970 when he opened Nashville’s King of the Road Motor Inn.

Songwriter Gretchen Peters wrote “Independence Day” from the point of view of an eight-year-old girl who watched her mother get abused by her alcoholic father, until her mother burns down their house. Its popularity – intrinsically tied to its subject matter – helped McBride become a spokesperson for domestic abuse awareness and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. But conservative host Sean Hannity wasn’t in on the track’s deeper meaning, using it as the theme song for his 2001 political radio show. “I know he [was] completely disregarding what the song’s about,” said Peters, “but… as long as they pay me, that gives me the wherewithal to support causes I believe in, and it all works out.”

Addiction, divorce, despair: Jamey Johnson spilled his demons on 2008’s, That Lonesome Song, an album that positioned the Alabamian as an able heir to the outlaw country throne. “I was trying to reach that dude at the bar going through what I was going through,” he told Rolling Stone. But where he truly shines is on “In Color,” a bittersweet ballad about man trying to convince his grandson that his photos – and his life – were more vibrant than just black and white, displaying a delicate sense for narrative and an emotive voice that’s both calloused and vulnerable. Written with James Otto and Lee Thomas Miller, the song was originally cut by Trace Adkins, for whom Johnson had earlier penned the American-as-apple-bottom anthem “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” “Trace was gracious,” Miller later explained. “He told me, ‘The guy wrote the song. What am I gonna do?'”

Charlie Rich had been struggling to find a niche between his rocking, jazz-picker roots and the Music Row mainstream for two decades. Then “Behind Closed Doors” gave the so-called Silver Fox the biggest hit of his career. “The jocks had been complaining that [Rich] was too bluesy for country,” producer Billy Sherill explained toBillboard in September of 1974. “Others said he was too country for anything else. We just needed the right song.” To create that right song, Sherill and Co. started with a riff that writer Kevin O’Dell had been humming for years, and then balanced traditional country flourishes with the dramatic orchestral instrumentation of an 11-piece string section. Rich won two Grammys and his only CMA Entertainer of the Year award.

After recording a pair of acoustic blues albums for Folkways, Lucinda Williams found her rightful audience with her eponymous 1988 Rough Trade debut. It contained this hoarse-voiced pop-rock anthem about not only wanting but deserving a comfortable bed, bath, and emotional beyond. Williams was broke and turning 40 when Mary Chapin Carpenter softened the song’s edges, added a stirring guitar arrangement and took “Passionate Kisses” close to the top of the Billboard country chart in 1993, winning Grammys for both herself and its author.

73. Dolly Parton, ‘Coat of Many Colors’ (1971)

Parton’s most homespun hit (and her frequently avowed favorite) effortlessly transplants the biblical story of Joseph to the postwar Tennessee of Dolly’s girlhood, celebrating the unselfconscious pride in a patchwork garment her mama fashioned out of rags. Parton wrote the song on Porter Wagoner’s tour bus – and on Porter Wagoner’s dry cleaning receipt, the only paper handy when inspiration struck. Wagoner later framed that receipt. The coat itself (or, as Coat Truthers insist, a latter-day recreation) hangs in the Chasing Rainbows Museum at Parton’s theme park, Dollywood.

72. D.L. Menard, ‘The Back Door (La Porte en Arrière)’ (1962)

Born into a Cajun farming family in Erath, Louisiana, in 1932, Doris Leon Menard based this regional hit on “Honky Tonk Blues” by Hank Williams, to whom he always bore a musical resemblance. Written during his shift at a service station, and recorded with Elias Badeaux and the Louisiana Aces, Menard’s catchy two-step satirizes a Cajun stereotype, the hard-drinking spendthrift whose late-night escapades lead to an early-morning return through the back door (and ultimately prison). “La Porte d’en Arrière” sold out its initial 300-copy run within days, then sold half a million more while becoming Cajun music’s most frequently covered song not titled “Jole Blon.” Although Menard soon “came to where I couldn’t bear to even hear the name of that song, I got so tired of it,” he still manages to perform “La Porte” to this day.

Years before his band become the most successful country group of the 1980s, Randy Owen spent his childhood days on Lookout Mountain, where his family ran a small cotton farm. 1982’s “Mountain Music” paid tribute to those southern roots, setting Owen’s adolescent hobbies – river-swimming, tree-climbing, raft-building – to a soundtrack of classic-rock guitar riffs, country harmonies and fiddle-fueled breakdowns. “We did ‘Mountain Music’ in two cuts,” he told CMT. “Back when we had a chance to rehearse and arrange stuff, we just went in and did the song like we’d rehearsed it.” Released during a time when country stars rarely played on their own records, “Mountain Music” was the work of a true band, and was proof that no one has to rely on the Nashville hit machine.

Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time — 100-91

100. Brad Paisley, ‘Welcome to the Future’ (2009)

Mainstream country’s most prominent liberal ambitiously overloads this nearly six-minute single from 2009’s American Saturday Night, explaining that he wanted “to serve up a little multigenerational truth with a strong sense of hope and possibility.” In this bright “Future,” Paisley marvels at car DVD players and mobile-phone videogames, imagines how trans-Pacific commerce might amaze his WWII-vet grandfather and then brings his mid-tempo country-rocker down a notch to appreciate the racial progress that has occurred in his own lifetime – he debuted the song live at the White House. Basically, it’s a typical Brad Paisley A.D.D. special, mixing synth lines with steel guitar, fiddle breaks with speed riffs and sense with sentiment.

99. Harry Choates, ‘Jole Blon’ (1946)

One of Bruce Springsteen’s lesser-known influences is the late, hard-drinkin’ Texas fiddle player Harry Choates. After playing for spare change as a teenager in the Thirties, Choates started making records by his early Twenties, and his aching 1946 reworking of the so-called “Cajun National Anthem” hit Number Four on the Billboard charts. “Jole Blon,” a traditional cajun waltz with nearly indiscernible lyrics about a pretty blonde, rode commercial success via several reinterpretations and continued in country lore throughout the decade. It passed through the hands of Roy Acuff, Warren Zevon, Springsteen (who recorded an early-Eighties version with Gary U.S. Bonds) among many others. Fame and fortune never made it back to Choates, however. According to legend, he sold “Jole Blon” for $100 and a bottle of whiskey and died at the age of 28.

98. C.W. McCall, ‘Convoy’ (1975)

This loving, jargon-filled novelty song took the insular world of trucker culture to the tops of both the country and pop charts in 1976. “Convoy,” an ode to C.B. radio, gave Iowa singer C.W. McCall the only Number One hit of his career, sold two million copies, started a C.B. radio fad and even spawned a successful action movie of the same name. “The truckers were forming things called convoys and they were talking to each other on C.B. radios,” explained McCall, who co-wrote the song with Chip Davis. “They had a wonderful jargon. Chip and I bought ourselves a C.B. radio and went out to hear them talk.” That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

97. Gretchen Wilson, ‘Redneck Woman’ (2004)

Originally a collective of Nashville outcasts and outsiders known for their open-minded open mic night, the MuzikMafia went mainstream with the twin successes of Big & Rich’s “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.” With its upbeat swing and beer-drinking, Walmart-wearing identity politics, “Redneck Woman” quickly rose up the charts. Following a breakthrough performance at the 2004 Country Radio Seminar, “Redneck Woman” became the fastest rising Number One since Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart.” Though Wilson herself was never able to repeat its success, the song paved the way for rocking female bad-asses like Miranda Lambert and Kimberly Perry.

96. Ronnie Milsap, ‘Smoky Mountain Rain’ (1980)

This story of returning home from the city was told through thunderous piano playing (inspired by Milsap’s session work on Elvis’ “Kentucky Rain”) and producer Tom Collins’ spiralling strings. Of course, “Smoky Mountain Rain” wouldn’t be on this list if the words weren’t equally chilling: Note, for instance, that before the protagonist heads back to North Carolina, he has not change of plans but a “change of dreams.” Written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan, who were instructed by Collins to come up with a song about his actual home state, “Smoky Mountain Rain” was Milsap’s fourth Number One of 1980 alone.

95. Bellamy Brothers, ‘Old Hippie'(1985)

These irresistibly slick opportunists always had a keen eye for cultural shifts: “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” treated country’s late-Seventies transition from the honky-tonk to the singles’ bar as a forgone conclusion and 1987’s “Country Rap” is pretty self-explanatory. “Old Hippie” is the Brothers’ astute take on how onetime counterculture rebels, alienated by disco and new wave, turned to country music in the Eighties with an age-worn weariness: “He ain’t tryin’ to change nobody/He’s just tryin’ real hard to adjust.” Ten years later, “Old Hippie (The Sequel)” brought us into the Clinton era, and in 2007, on “Old Hippie III (Saved),” our hero was born again. Meanwhile, contemporary country is providing a similar escape for many aging Nineties rock fans. Who’s going to write “Old Slacker”?

94. Dwight Yoakam, ‘Guitars, Cadillacs’ (1986)

Yoakam is often painted as a critic of Nashville, but in “Guitars, Cadillacs” the hillbilly music that Tennessee once produced becomes the only thing that makes Tinsel Town tolerable for this “naive fool who came to Babylon and found out that the pie don’t taste so sweet.” Of course, despite his posturing, L.A. was the perfect place for the Ohio transplant. A home for country rock since the Byrds and the Burrito Brothers, the ambitious singer found his match in local roots-oriented post-punk acts like the Blasters, Lone Justice and the Knitters. The biggest influence on “Guitars, Cadillacs,” however, the one who lent the song its crisp guitar and walking bassline, remained two hours north. His name was Buck Owens, and two years later Yoakam would give him his 21st chart-topper with “Streets of Bakersfield.”

93. Tom T. Hall, ‘Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine’ (1972)

In 1972, country music’s consummate storyteller traveled to Miami Beach to perform at the Democratic National Convention that nominated George McGovern and returned to Nashville afterward with a soon-to-be-hit. A janitor, a month away from his 66th birthday, shared his impressions of the only three things worth a damn in life, while casting aspersions on the loyalty and value of lovers and friends – and Hall took it all down. The resulting hit, though sentimental on the surface, has a cynical flipside, its distrust of all but the simplest things in life imparting an aftertaste of sour Seventies disillusion. Nixon won, by the way.

92. Juice Newton, ‘Queen of Hearts’ (1981)

Originally a member of the short-lived band Silver Spur, Juice Newton had been releasing a steady output of solo pop and rock material for two years – to decent reviews but few sales. When she shifted to a more country sound for 1981’s Juice, she scored three Top 10 hits. The breakout track was “Queen of Hearts,” the irresistibly catchy, Fleetwood-esque country-pop cut written by Hank DeVito. Newton had been playing the song at her live shows for a year before Richard Landis produced it for the LP. It was all up from there: The LP went platinum in the U.S. and triple platinum in Canada and earned her two Grammy nominations that year.

91. Garth Brooks, ‘Friends in Low Places’ (1990)

With a voice stirring together the low end of Johnny and the high whine of Hank, Garth Brooks was just beginning his historic superstar run. A couple dozen folks – including “Low Places” songwriters Dewayne Blackwell and Earl “Bud” Lee – partied in the studio to create the bar-storming romp heard on the final refrain. But the party was just starting. The hit helped Brooks’ second album, No Fences, ship 17 million copies in the U.S. – still one of the 10 best-selling albums of all time. When Brooks performed “Friends in Low Places” on the Grammys in the early Nineties, the stage was set up like a posh black-tie affair. Just as the song says, the Oklahoma native showed up in boots – as well as a vertical striped shirt, black cowboy hat, and a thumb jabbed into the pocket of his jeans. Eventually the onstage glitz got pushed away to reveal a down-and-dirty saloon, like the ones blasting his song nationwide.

Watch: Lee Brice Joins Garth Brooks for Surprise ‘More Than A Memory’ Duet

At a recent tour stop in Boston on Saturday (Jan. 26), Garth Brooks brought out a surprise guest for a performance of “More Than a Memory.” It was Lee Brice, who wrote the song, and Brooks took it to No. 1 back in 2007. This was Brice’s very first hit as a songwriter.

After the show, the guys had a love fest on twitter:

Garth Brooks & Taylor Swift: A Study in Country Contrasts

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Garth Brooks & Taylor Swift: A Study in Country Contrasts

It’s an interesting time in country music. The format’s biggest-selling star of the last decade, Taylor Swift (25 million albums sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan), has departed for pop music with her latest album, 1989. Meanwhile, Garth Brooks, who has sold more albums than any artist, country or otherwise, since SoundScan pioneered tracking sales in 1991 (69.8 million), is back with his first studio album in 13 years, Man Against Machine.

(Perspective check: Brooks first charted in March 1989. Swift was born that December.)

Brooks’ return, however, has been greeted with a fairly lukewarm reception, as the album debuts at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with 130,000 copies sold in the week ending Nov. 16. Still, it starts as his 14th No. 1 on Top Country Albums. On the big chart, it’s far behind 1989, which spends a third week at No. 1, selling 312,000.

Brooks is able to capture the top slot on Top Country Albums since 1989 is a decidedly pop project, and thus doesn’t qualify for the genre survey. All of Brooks’ studio projects have reached No. 1 on Top Country Albums except for his self-titled debut, which peaked at No. 2 in 1990.

(Dating to Brooks’ first week at No. 1 on Top Country Albums, with his iconic 41-week leader No Fences, Brooks has spent 161 weeks at the summit, easily the top total. Shania Twain ranks second with 96. In third place? Swift, with, fittingly, 89.)

Despite its instant No. 1 status, the new album earns Brooks his softest start for a studio album in the SoundScan era. He logged his previous low when Ropin’ the Wind bowed at No. 1 with 300,000 in 1991. (If one counts Brooks’ adventurous 1999 alter-ego release In… the Life of Chris Gaines as a studio project, then that garnered his lowest launch until this week: 262,000.)

So, what happened with Man Against Machine? Well, if an act has essentially been off the market for more than a decade, it’s hard to lure new fans to the fold. Secondly, the album’s first single, “People Loving People,” didn’t set radio on fire, as it peaked at No. 19 on Country Airplay. Brooks hasn’t notched a top 10 airplay hit since 2007’s No. 1 “More Than a Memory” (which stands as the only song ever to debut atop the list).

Lastly, Brooks’ near-complete absence from social networks and digital retail services has lowered his visibility over the past decade. He joined Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at last on Nov. 11, while his catalog continues to be absent from all but one digital retailer. The lone digital service with Brooks’ music is his own GhostTunes … and the retailer did not report sales of his album to SoundScan.

It’s only a week in, and Brooks’ new single, ballad “Mom,” has just gone to country radio, but at the moment, Swift is ruling pop with 1989 — while Brooks is hoping to return to the steep country heights that he began reaching that same year.


Man Against Machine: Garth Brooks’ 10 Most Defiant Lyrics

From Rolling Stone
Garth Brooks lyrics
(Jewel Samad/AFP)
November 11, 2014″This is where I make my stand, ’cause I can’t stand it anymore,” Garth Brooks sings in the title track to his brand-new LP, Man Against Machine. It marks the first time in his quarter century-long career that the biggest-selling country artist of all time has titled an album after a song. He did so to not only reflect the project’s overall theme, but also to share his mindset on the music industry after an almost 14 year career break.

“A lot of things have changed and it’s all up hill,” Brooks said at a recent album preview party in Nashville. “I’m not saying an album can make a difference, but I think music can.”

And with his music, the Oklahoma native has always worn his impassioned heart on his sleeve. In the spirit of Brooks’ “Machine,” we count down his 10 most audacious song lyrics, from the deliciously defiant to those that inspire social change.

“The Thunder Rolls,” 1991

“She reaches for the pistol kept in the dresser drawer/Tells the lady in the mirror he won’t do this again/’Cause tonight will be the last time she’ll wonder where he’s been”
Already an explosive, controversial hit, this song took took an even more defiant stand against infidelity, with the main character brandishing a firearm and putting an end to her cheating man’s ways — and to the cheating bastard himself. It remains one of Brooks’ most powerful statements.

“Do What You Gotta Do,” 1997

Garth Brooks lyrics
Hulton Archive

“They’ll call you a hero or a traitor but you’ll find out that, sooner or later/Nobody in this world is gonna do it for you”
A fast-paced standout from Sevens, this Pat Flynn-penned tune was originally recorded in 1989 by Flynn’s band, New Grass Revival. Recorded before, but released after 1999’s much-maligned In the Life of Chris Gaines pop-music project that had Brooks’ fans shaking their heads, it could have easily been looked at as the country superstar saying, “Sorry, not sorry.”

“Friends in Low Places,” 1991

“I didn’t mean to cause a big scene, just wait ’til I finish this glass/Then sweet little lady I’ll head back to the bar and you can kiss my ass”
Taking a song that was already a huge hit and adding one more verse to it that he had written himself was one of Brooks’ more defiant acts. Claiming the tune didn’t reflect the way he’d react in the situation the song depicts, the kiss-off line would soon work his live crowds into a friendly frenzy.

“The Fever,” 1995

“What he loves might kill him, but he’s got no choice/He’s a different breed with a voice down deep inside/That’s screamin’ he was born to ride”
This updated version of an Aerosmith song is about a whole lot more than just a rodeo rider who’s not wrapped too tight. Brooks was a global superstar by this time, but proved he was still vulnerable, yet no less defiant.

“We Shall Be Free,” 1992

“When we’re free to love anyone we choose, when this world’s big enough for all different views/When we all can worship from our own kind of pew, then we shall be free”
In spite of how far things have progressed in the 22 years since Brooks and Stephanie Davis wrote this (when there was no such thing as marriage equality in the U.S.), there’s still a long way to go before the song’s message is truly embraced. But for anyone other than Brooks, taking such a brave stand on record at that time could have been a country music career killer.

“The Change,” 1995

Garth Brooks lyrics

“But it’s not the world that I am changing/What I do is so this world will know that it will not change me”
Co-written by Tony Arata (“The Dance”) and Wayne Tester, this song takes a gentler approach to defiance but that just helps make the message louder and clearer: one person can be all the difference the world needs. In fact, the theme of this 1995 tune has carried through Brooks’ 2014 career comeback: Not letting the world’s changing circumstances change you is one way to defy all the odds.

“Standing Outside the Fire,” 1993

“There’s this love that is burning deep in my soul/Constantly yearning to get out of control”
A theme song for the lonely outcast if ever there was one, this inspirational smash, which Brooks wrote with Jenny Yates, shared a message about perseverance that was made even stronger and more poignant through a memorable music video, in which a high school student with Down syndrome runs track, refusing to give up even after a fall. Subtle? Not a bit, but powerful nonetheless.

“The Night I Called the Old Man Out,” 1993

Garth Brooks lyrics
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

“Fist to fist and eye to eye, standin’ toe to toe/He would’ve let me walk away/But I just would not let it go.”
It’s rather appropriate that this tune comes from Brooks’ In Pieces album, since more than one of the characters in the song about a father and his strong-willed sons was knocked down, but not necessarily out, by “the old man.” But the lesson (and the bloodied nose) at the heart of the song made the defiant stance worth it.

“The Old Stuff,” 1995

Garth Brooks lyrics

“Balls out no doubt this is what it’s all about/Beggin’ for a place to play”
Brooks wrote this with Bryan Kennedy and Dan Roberts, capturing the nomadic spirit of what it’s like to load up a rented van with instruments and travel from gig to gig with your band mates. It may not be everyone’s idea of glamorous, but even when it’s less than ideal, it can still be pretty great.

“Against the Grain,” 1991

“Folks call me a maverick/Guess I ain’t too diplomatic/I just never been the kind to go along”
Penned by Bruce Bouton, Larry Cordle and Carl Jackson, this hard-charging track opened Brooks’ second album, the career-changing, history-making Ropin’ the Wind. The tune namechecks trailblazers from Christopher Columbus to John Wayne, as its narrator hopes to “buck the system” as they did. One of his earliest songs, “Against the Grain” was just one of the ways in which the public was now on notice that Brooks was anything but a garden-variety country star.

This Day in Music History — October 22

1964 : The Who (who are calling themselves the High Numbers at that time) audition for EMI Records, who choose not to sign them to a record deal.

1969 : Paul McCartney officially denies that he is dead.

1990 : The band Mookie Blaylock, which would soon be known as Pearl Jam, makes their stage debut at The Off Ramp in Seattle. In the audience are members of Soundgarden and Seattle Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson.

2008 : Guns N’ Roses release their first new material since 1999 when the title track of their new album Chinese Democracy is issued as a single. The band – with Axl Rose as the only original member – first performed the song in 2001.

2012 : Country music legend Garth Brooks is inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The ceremony includes honorary performances by George Strait, Bob Seger, and James Taylor. Brooks is reportedly sentimental and teary-eyed for the occasion.

This Day in Music History — October 7

1951 : John Mellencamp is born in Seymour, Indiana.

1967 : After a London hotel accuses The Mamas & The Papas’ Cass Elliot of running out on her bill, the singer is jailed overnight and strip-searched, forcing the cancellation of both an upcoming gig and television appearance.

1986 : Michael and Janet Jackson become the first siblings with #1 solo singles on the Hot 100 when Janet’s “When I Think of You” tops the chart.

1996 : The “Rock the Vote” campaign to get young people registered in the United States gets some NFL involvement, with quarterbacks Jeff Blake, Drew Bledsoe, Jim Kelly and Steve Young recording public service announcements.

1999 : Garth Brooks releases an album as “Chris Gaines,” a character he created that was intended for a movie. The ruse turns off many fans, and the album is Brooks’ first since 1995 that fails to debut at #1, charting behind Creed’s Human Clay.

2000 : Howard Stern is named nationally syndicated personality of the year at the Billboard/Airplay Monitor Radio Awards.

This Day in Music History — October 5

1979 : ABBA visits the White House while on tour for the first and only time in America. They meet President Carter’s daughter Amy, who is a big fan.

1997 : Garth Brooks fans snap up more than 139,000 tickets in less than four hours, selling out eight shows at Chicago’s Rosemont Horizon.

2002 : Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” goes from #52 to #1 on the Hot 100, breaking the record for biggest leap to the top spot. The previous record was held by The Beatles, whose “Can’t Buy Me Love” went from #27 to #1. Maroon 5 beat Clarkson’s record in 2007 when “It Makes Me Wonder” rose to the top spot from #64.

2012 : Adele posts her new theme to Skyfall, the 23rd film in the James Bond series, at 0:07 AM BST. The theme song, written by Adele and her songwriting partner Paul Epworth, featured a 77-piece backing orchestra. In an informal Billboard poll, 69% of responses voted it the best theme to a Bond film ever.