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Closing Credits: John Barry

JohnBarry.jpgThe composer John Barry has died aged seventy seven and leaves behind a legacy of unforgettable music, and while he's most remembered for the music from James Bond, there are many other films and themes that he'll be remembered for. Indeed none of his five Oscar wins are for the Bond themes.

With a Grammy, two BAFTAs and a BAFTA Fellowship, as well as an OBE, there's no doubt of how influential and important his work has been, and will continue to be, for as long as these films are shown.

John Barry was born in 1933 into a family heavily involved in the film industry, his father owned a chain of eight cinemas across the North of England and while he was young he saw many films, working in the projection booth as a teenager.

It's clear to see where his love of cinema and music came together for his parents arranged concerts in the cinemas that they owned which allowed Barry to meet such names as Count Basie. At nine he was studying the piano and at sixteen the trumpet according to The Telegraph.

His National Service was as an Army bandsman and afterwards he began work as an arranger and formed his own band in 1957, opening for names such as Tommy Steele and Adam Faith, and it was Faith whom he began arranging for on a permanent basis.

It was this partnership that saw him move to film as he was asked to compose the music for a film starring Adam Faith called Beat Girl, and it was this film soundtrack that began his successful list of film compositions as it became more successful than the film itself.

In 1962 came his first involvement with the James Bond franchise in the form of the first film Dr. No. There's still debate about the theme, but Monty Norman is credited with the writing and Barry with the arrangement, and while Norman wrote much of the soundtrack for the film, it was Barry who went on to write music for the series and develop the theme.

He worked on eleven Bond films after that, creating some iconic themes such as Goldfinger, Thunderball, Diamonds are Forever, and A View to a Kill with his last Bond film being The Living Daylights.

While there's no mistaking these themes, Barry himself was always open about their importance and the struggle he had creating music for such a larger than life character. On ITV News today an earlier interview had him saying how similar the films became and a quote in the Telegraph has him saying that the Bond music was...

"Million dollar Mickey Mouse music"

Other works include Zulu; The Ipcress File; the unmistakable and career defining Born Free which won him two Academy Awards; The Lion in Winter which won him another Academy Award and a BAFTA; Midnight Cowboy adding a Grammy to his collection; Mary, Queen of Scots for another Academy Award; King Kong, Robin and Marian; The Deep; Game of Death; The Black Hole; Raise the Titanic; Body Heat; The Cotton Club; Jagged Edge; Out of Africa; Dances With Wolves; Chaplin; The Scarlet Letter, and many, many more.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and he'll always be remembered as long as the films that his music features in are played, and that will be for a very long time to come.

John Barry



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