One of the true musical greats, composer John Barry, passed away over the weekend in New York City. He was 77.
At the start of the 1960's, Barry was brought on to re-arrange Monty Norman's theme for “Dr. No”, the first James Bond film. The resulting tune remains one of the most famous pieces of film music to have ever been produced, and Barry's signature and easily identifiable style became synonymous with the series.
Barry ultimately scored eleven of the twenty-two Bond films including "From Russia with Love," "Goldfinger," "Thunderball," "You Only Live Twice," "Diamonds are Forever," "The Man with the Golden Gun," "Moonraker," Octopussy," "A View to A Kill," "The Living Daylights" and arguably his most revered score - "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (which itself heavily inspired Michael Giacchino's "The Incredibles" score).
He also collaborated on many of the series' most famous theme songs including Tom Jones' "Thunderball," Louis Armstrong‘s “We Have All The Time In The World,” Lulu's "The Man With The Golden Gun," Rita Coolidge's "All Time High," Duran Duran‘s “A View To A Kill” and Shirley Bassey‘s three Bond numbers “Goldfinger," "Diamonds are Forever" and "Moonraker".
Outside of the 007 world, the five-time Oscar winner was also behind both either the scores or key songs within many other legendary films including "Midnight Cowboy," "The Lion in Winter," "Out of Africa," "Dance with Wolves," "The Ipcress File," "The Quiller Memorandum," "Body Heat," "Born Free," "Mary, Queen of Scots," "Walkabout," "The Deep," "The Day of the Locust," "The Black Hole," "Somewhere in Time," "The Cotton Club," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Indecent Proposal," "The Specialist," "Cry, the Beloved Country" and even "Howard the Duck".
Barry's Bond music had a big influence on my own love of film scores. Among my personal favourite numbers are his Space March from the famed early scene in "You Only Live Twice" when a SPECTRE-controlled spacecraft opens up and swallows a U.S. spacecraft, the eerie choral sounds from Space Shuttle Ballet in "Moonraker" to portray the zero gravity scenes, practically the entire scores of the Connery-era Bonds, and of course the various opening numbers. John Barry, we'll miss you.