John Barry

By | Dec 27, 2011

For the past couple of years between the week of Christmas and New Year I have written about a couple of those that we lost during the past year. Usually it’s about someone who is familiar but didn’t realize they had passed away. This year I will be doing three with this being the first.

Music Composer John Barry died on January 30, 2011. He was 77 years old and will be best remembered for composing many of the early James Bond films.

John Barry was born in York, North Riding of Yorkshire, on November 3, 1933. It may not be to surprising that he took his musical career into doing film music since as a youth he worked in movie theatres owned by his father.

In 1957 he formed the John Barry Seven.

After the film makers of the first James Bond movie adventure, Dr. No, became disenchanted with the work done by Monty Norman, Barry came in to complete the movie soundtrack. Although the James Bond Theme is officially and legal credited as being composed by Monty Norman, it was Barry’s arrangement that is known.

John Barry would compose the music for 11 of the next 14 Bond movies with his last being in 1987, The Living Daylights. The ones he didn’t compose were Live and Let Die (George Martin), The Spy Who Loved Me (Marvin Hamlish and For Your Eyes Only (Bill Conti), although they both had elements of themes he had written.

He won Five Academy Awards:
1966 Best Original Song for “Born Free” from Born Free,
1966 Best Original Score for Born Free,
1968 Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical) for The Lion in Winter,
1985 Best Original Score for Out of Africa,
1990 Best Original Score for Dances with Wolves.

He was nominated for two others:
1971 Best Original Dramatic Score for Mary, Queen of Scots,
1992 Best Original Score for Chaplin.


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