John Barry Prendergast, OBE (3 November 1933 – 30 January 2011) was an English composer and conductor of film music. He composed the scores for 11 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1987, and also arranged and performed the "James Bond Theme" to the first film in the series, 1962's Dr. No. He wrote the Grammy- and Academy Award-winning scores to the films Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, as well as the theme for the British television cult series The Persuaders!, in a career spanning over 50 years. In 1999, he was appointed OBE for services to music.
Born in York, Barry spent his early years working in cinemas owned by his father. During his national service with the British Army in Cyprus, Barry began performing as a musician after learning to play the trumpet. Upon completing his national service, he formed his own band in 1957, The John Barry Seven. He later developed an interest in composing and arranging music, making his début for television in 1958. He came to the notice of the makers of the first James Bond film Dr. No, who were dissatisfied with a theme for James Bond given to them by Monty Norman. This started a successful association between Barry and Eon Productions that lasted for 25 years.
He received many awards for his work, including five Academy Awards; two for Born Free, and one each for The Lion in Winter (for which he also won the first BAFTA Award for Best Film Music), Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa (both of which also won him Grammy Awards). He also received ten Golden Globe Award nominations, winning once for Best Original Score for Out of Africa in 1986. Barry completed his last film score, Enigma, in 2001 and recorded the successful album Eternal Echoes the same year. He then concentrated chiefly on live performances and co-wrote the music to the musical Brighton Rock in 2004 alongside Don Black. In 2001, Barry became a Fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and, in 2005, he was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Barry was married four times and had four children. He moved to the United States in 1975 and lived there for the remainder of his life until his death in 2011.
John Barry at the Royal Albert Hall, London, September 2006
|Birth name||John Barry Prendergast|
|Born||3 November 1933|
York, Yorkshire, England
|Died||30 January 2011 (aged 77)|
Oyster Bay, New York, U.S.
Barry was born John Barry Prendergast, in York, England, and was the son of an English mother and an Irish father. His mother was a classical pianist. His father, John Xavier "Jack" Prendergast, from Cork, was a projectionist during the silent film era, who later owned a chain of cinemas across northern England. As a result of his father's work, Barry was raised in and around cinemas in northern England and he later stated that this childhood background influenced his musical tastes and interests. Barry was educated at St Peter's School, York, and also received composition lessons from Francis Jackson, Organist of York Minster.
Serving in the British Army, Barry spent his national service playing the trumpet. During his army service, he took a correspondence course (with jazz composer Bill Russo); he also worked as an arranger for the Jack Parnell and Ted Heath's Orchestra, and formed his own band in 1957, the John Barry Seven, with whom he had some hit records on EMI's Columbia label. These included "Hit and Miss", the theme tune he composed for the BBC's Juke Box Jury programme, a cover of the Johnny Smith song "Walk Don't Run", and a cover of the theme for the United Artists western The Magnificent Seven.
By 1959 Barry was gaining commissions to arrange music for other acts, starting with a young trio on Decca, coincidentally called the Three Barry Sisters, though unrelated both to Barry and the more famous Barry Sisters duo in America. The career breakthrough for Barry was the BBC television series Drumbeat, when he appeared with the John Barry Seven. He was employed by EMI from 1959 until 1962 arranging orchestral accompaniment for the company's singers, including Adam Faith; he also composed songs (along with Les Vandyke) and scores for films in which Faith was featured. When Faith made his first film, Beat Girl (1960), Barry composed, arranged and conducted the score, his first. His music was later released as the UK's first soundtrack album.
Barry also composed the music for another Faith film, Never Let Go (also 1960), orchestrated the score for Mix Me a Person (1962), and composed, arranged and conducted the score for The Amorous Prawn (also 1962). In 1962, Barry transferred to Ember Records, where he produced albums as well as arranging them.
These achievements caught the attention of the producers of a new film called Dr. No (1962) who were dissatisfied with a theme for James Bond given to them by Monty Norman. Barry was hired and the result was one of the most famous signature tunes in film history, the "James Bond Theme". (Credit goes to Monty Norman, see here.) When the producers of the Bond series engaged Lionel Bart to score the next James Bond film From Russia with Love (1963), they discovered that Bart could neither read nor write music. Though Bart wrote a title song for the film, the producers remembered Barry's arrangement of the James Bond Theme and his composing and arranging for several films with Adam Faith. Lionel Bart also recommended Barry to producer Stanley Baker for his 1964 film Zulu. That same year Bart and Barry collaborated on the film Man in the Middle; and then, in 1965, Barry worked with director Bryan Forbes in scoring the World War II prison-camp drama King Rat.
This was the turning point for Barry, and he subsequently won five Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards, with scores for, among others, Born Free (1966), The Lion in Winter (1968), Midnight Cowboy (1969) for which he did not receive an on-screen credit. and Somewhere in Time (1980).
Barry was often cited as having had a distinct style which concentrated on lush strings and extensive use of brass. However he was also an innovator, being one of the first to employ synthesizers in a film score (On Her Majesty's Secret Service, also 1969), and to make wide use of pop artists and songs in Midnight Cowboy. Because Barry provided not just the main title theme but the complete soundtrack score, his music often enhanced the critical reception of a film, notably in Midnight Cowboy, the first remake of King Kong (1976), Out of Africa (1985), and Dances with Wolves (1990). Barry would often watch films and would note down with pen and paper what worked or what did not.
Barry composed the theme for the TV series The Persuaders! (1971), also known as The Unlucky Heroes, in which Tony Curtis and Roger Moore were paired as rich playboys solving crimes. The instrumental recording features the Cimbalom (which Barry also used for The Ipcress File (1965) and other themes) and Moog synthesizers. The theme was a hit single in many European countries (including France, Germany, and the Benelux states), contributing to the cult status of the series in Europe, and the record featured Barry's The Girl with the Sun in Her Hair on the B side, an instrumental piece featured in a long running TV advert for Sunsilk shampoo. Barry also wrote the scores to a number of musicals, including the 1965 Passion Flower Hotel (lyrics by Trevor Peacock), the successful 1974 West End show Billy (lyrics by Don Black), and two major Broadway flops, Lolita, My Love (1971), with Alan Jay Lerner as lyricist, and The Little Prince and the Aviator (1981), again with lyricist Don Black.
During 2006, Barry was the executive producer on an album entitled Here's to the Heroes by the Australian ensemble The Ten Tenors. The album features a number of songs Barry wrote in collaboration with his lyricist friend, Don Black. Barry and Black also composed one of the songs on Shirley Bassey's 2009 album, The Performance. The song, entitled "Our Time Is Now", is the first written by the duo for Bassey since "Diamonds Are Forever".
In his tenure with the film series, Barry's music, variously brassy and moody, achieved very wide appeal. For From Russia with Love he composed "007", an alternative James Bond signature theme, which is featured in four other Bond films (Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker). The theme "Stalking", for the teaser sequence of From Russia with Love, was covered by colleague Marvin Hamlisch for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). (The music and lyrics for From Russia with Love's title song were written by Lionel Bart, whose musical theatre credits included Oliver!) Barry also contributed indirectly to the soundtrack of the spoof version of Casino Royale (1967): his Born Free theme appears briefly in the opening sequence.
In Goldfinger (1964), he perfected the "Bond sound", a heady mixture of brass, jazz elements and sensuous melodies. There is even an element of Barry's jazz roots in the big-band track "Into Miami", which follows the title credits and accompanies the film's iconic image of the camera lens zooming toward the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Jimmy Page was working as a session guitarist at the time, and was a part of the recording sessions for the "Goldfinger" soundtrack. For Bond films, session musicians such as Page were relegated to the instrumental/score versions of songs, while the main musicians (on Goldfinger such as Vic Flick) were given the main film theme song to record. Thus, Flick is heard as lead guitarist on the main theme, leaving Page as a background acoustic contributor to Flick on the instrumental version of the song.
Barry's love for the Russian romantic composers is often reflected in his music; in his Bond scores he unites this with brass-heavy jazz writing. His use of strings, lyricism, half-diminished chords, and complex key shifting provides melancholy contrast - in his scores this is often heard in variations of the title songs that are used to underscore plot development.
As Barry matured, the Bond scores became more lushly melodic (along with other scores of his such as Out of Africa), as in Moonraker (1979) and Octopussy (1983). Barry's score for A View to a Kill was traditional, but his collaboration with Duran Duran for the title song was contemporary and reached number one in the United States and number two in the UK Singles Chart. Both A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights theme by a-ha blended the pop music style of the bands with Barry's orchestration. In 2006, a-ha's Pal Waaktaar complimented Barry's contributions: "I loved the stuff he added to the track, I mean it gave it this really cool string arrangement. That's when for me it started to sound like a Bond thing."
Barry's last score for the Bond series was The Living Daylights (1987), Timothy Dalton's first film in the series with Barry making a cameo appearance as a conductor in the film. Barry was intended to score Licence to Kill (1989) but was recovering from throat surgery at the time and it was considered unsafe to fly him to London to complete the score. The score was completed by Michael Kamen.
David Arnold, a British composer, saw the result of two years' work in 1997 with the release of Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, an album of new versions of the themes from various James Bond films. Arnold thanks Barry in the sleeve notes, referring to him as "the Guvnor". Almost all of the tracks were John Barry compositions, and the revision of his work met with his approval – he contacted Barbara Broccoli, producer of the then upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, to recommend Arnold as the film's composer. Arnold also went on to score four subsequent Bond films: The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
Sole compositional credit for the "James Bond Theme" is assigned to Monty Norman, who was contracted as composer for Dr. No. Some 30 years later, in 2001, the disputed authorship of the theme was examined legally in the High Court in London after Norman sued The Sunday Times for publishing an article in 1997 in which Barry was named as the true composer; Barry testified for the defence.
In court, Barry testified that he had been handed a musical manuscript of a work by Norman (meant to become the theme) and that he was to arrange it musically, and that he composed additional music and arranged the "James Bond Theme". The court was also told that Norman received sole credit because of his prior contract with the producers. Barry said that a deal was struck whereby he would receive a flat fee of £250 and Norman would receive the songwriting credit. Barry said that he had accepted the deal with United Artists Head of Music Noel Rogers because it would help his career. Despite these claims the jury ruled unanimously in favour of Norman.
Barry was married four times. His first three marriages, to Barbara Pickard (1959–63), Jane Birkin (1965–68), and Jane Sidey (1969–78) all ended in divorce. He was married to his fourth wife, Laurie, from January 1978 until his death. The couple had a son, Jonpatrick. Barry had three daughters, Suzanne (Susie) with his first wife, Barbara, Kate with his second wife, Jane, and Sian from a relationship with Ulla Larson between the first two marriages. Suzy Barry, who is married to BBC business journalist Simon Jack, is the mother of his two granddaughters, Phoebe and Florence Ingleby.
In 1975 Barry moved to California. A British judge later accused him of emigrating to avoid paying £134,000 due the Inland Revenue. The matter was resolved in the late 1980s and Barry was able to return to the UK. He subsequently lived for many years in the United States, mainly in Oyster Bay, New York, in Centre Island on Long Island, from 1980.
Barry suffered a rupture of the oesophagus in 1988, following a toxic reaction to a health tonic he had consumed. The incident rendered him unable to work for two years and left him vulnerable to pneumonia.
A memorial concert took place on 20 June 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London where the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Shirley Bassey, Rumer, David Arnold, Wynne Evans and others performed Barry's music. Sir George Martin, Sir Michael Parkinson, Don Black, Timothy Dalton and others also contributed to the celebration of his life and work. The event was sponsored by the Royal College of Music through a grant by the Broccoli Foundation.
In 1999 Barry was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to music. He received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2005. In 2005, the American Film Institute ranked Barry's score for Out of Africa No. 15 on their list of the greatest film scores. His scores for the following films were also nominated:
|Academy Awards||1966||Born Free||Best Original Score||Won|
|"Born Free" (from Born Free)||Best Original Song||Won|
|1968||The Lion in Winter||Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical)||Won|
|1971||Mary, Queen of Scots||Best Original Dramatic Score||Nominated|
|1985||Out of Africa||Best Original Score||Won|
|1990||Dances with Wolves||Best Original Score||Won|
|1992||Chaplin||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards||1968||The Lion in Winter||Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music||Won|
|1986||Out of Africa||Best Score||Nominated|
|1991||Dances with Wolves||Best Original Film Score||Nominated|
|2005||BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||1966||"Born Free" (from Born Free)||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|1968||The Lion in Winter||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1971||Mary, Queen of Scots||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1974||"Sail the Summer Winds" (from The Dove)||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|1977||"Down Deep Inside" (from The Deep)||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|1981||Somewhere in Time||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1985||Out of Africa||Best Original Score||Won|
|"A View to a Kill" (from A View to a Kill)||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|1990||Dances with Wolves||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1992||Chaplin||Best Original Score||Nominated|
Emmy Award nominations
Max Steiner Lifetime Achievement Award (presented by the City of Vienna)
Lifetime Achievement Award from World Soundtrack Academy (presented at the Ghent Film Festival)
Barry worked on the soundtracks for the following James Bond films (title song collaborators in brackets):
His four highest-charting hits all spent more than 10 weeks in the UK top 50.
Barry's work began to be sampled in the 1990s by artists such as Dr. Dre and Wu-Tang Clan, with his "James Bond Theme" being sampled by performers as diverse as Bonobo, Gang Starr and Junior Reid. Fatboy Slim used the opening guitars from "Beat Girl (Main Title)" for "Rockafeller Skank" from his album, You've Come a Long Way, Baby (1998). The Sneaker Pimps also sampled "Golden Girl" on their single "6 Underground" (1996). Additionally, "You Only Live Twice" was heavily sampled on "Millennium" from Robbie Williams' second album, I've Been Expecting You. Barry was set to compose Thomas and the Magic Railroad but left due to scheduling conflicts.
A Jolly Bad Fellow is a 1964 British film directed by Don Chaffey. It stars Leo McKern and Janet Munro.Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972 film)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a 1972 British musical film based on the Lewis Carroll novel of the same name and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, directed by Australian television producer-director William Sterling. It had a distinguished ensemble cast with a musical score by John Barry and lyrics, Don Black.In 1973, the film won the BAFTA Film Award at the BAFTA Awards Ceremony for Best Cinematography, won by Geoffrey Unsworth, and Best Costume Design, won by Anthony Mendleson. Stuart Freeborn created make-up for the film based closely on the original John Tenniel drawings in the first edition of the novel.Boom! (film)
Boom! is a 1968 British drama film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Noël Coward, directed by Joseph Losey, and adapted from the play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore by Tennessee Williams.Diamonds Are Forever (soundtrack)
Diamonds Are Forever is the soundtrack by John Barry for the seventh James Bond film of the same name.
"Diamonds Are Forever", the title song with lyrics by Don Black, was the second Bond theme to be performed by Shirley Bassey, after "Goldfinger". The song was also recorded in Italian by Bassey as "Una Cascata di Diamanti (Vivo Di Diamanti)"; this version was only issued on 7-inch single in Italy, and was intended to be included in a (cancelled) 3-CD box set titled Shirley released in 2012.Producer Harry Saltzman hated the song and it only made the film due to co-producer Albert Broccoli. One of Saltzman's major objections was to the innuendo in the lyrics. Bassey would later return for a third performance for 1979's Moonraker.Down Deep Inside
"Down Deep Inside" is the theme song from the 1977 film The Deep. The film's score was written by British composer John Barry and the lyrics to the main theme were added by disco singer Donna Summer. The track was released as a single and became a hit in some European countries, including the U.K. The film soundtrack LP also contained a slower tempo version of the song, and an extended version of the original later appeared on a CD version of Summer's 1978 Live and More album.The song was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.Four in the Morning (film)
Four in the Morning is a 1965 British film directed by Anthony Simmons and starring Judi Dench. It featured a score by John Barry.From Russia with Love (soundtrack)
From Russia with Love is the soundtrack for the second James Bond film of the same name. This is the first series film with John Barry as the primary soundtrack composer.
John Barry, arranger of Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme" for Dr. No, would be the dominant Bond series composer for most of its history and the inspiration for fellow series composer, David Arnold (who uses cues from this soundtrack in his own for Tomorrow Never Dies). The theme song was composed by Lionel Bart of Oliver! fame and sung by Matt Monro.Hearts of Fire
Hearts of Fire is a 1987 American musical drama film starring Bob Dylan, Fiona Flanagan (billed only as "Fiona") and Rupert Everett. The film was essentially a vehicle for Dylan based on his success as a rock musician. It received poor reviews, a limited theatrical release and was later written off by Dylan himself.Indecent Proposal
Indecent Proposal is a 1993 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jack Engelhard, in which a married couple's relationship is put into turmoil by a stranger's offer of a million dollars for her to spend the night with him. It was directed by Adrian Lyne and stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson.Inside Moves
Inside Moves is a 1980 American drama film directed by Richard Donner. The film is based on the book of the same name by Todd Walton, with a script by then writing duo Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson.King Rat (film)
King Rat is a 1965 World War II film directed by Bryan Forbes, starring George Segal and James Fox. They play Corporal King and Marlowe, respectively, two World War II prisoners of war in a squalid camp near Singapore. Among the supporting cast are John Mills and Tom Courtenay. The film was adapted from James Clavell's novel King Rat (1962), which in turn is partly based on Clavell's experiences as a POW at Changi Prison during the Second World War.Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American buddy drama film. Based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy, the film was written by Waldo Salt, directed by John Schlesinger, and stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, with notable smaller roles being filled by Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Salt, and Barnard Hughes. Set in New York City, Midnight Cowboy depicts the unlikely friendship between two hustlers: naive prostitute Joe Buck (Voight), and ailing con man "Ratso" Rizzo (Hoffman).
The film won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Midnight Cowboy is the only X-rated film ever to win Best Picture (though such a classification no longer exists), and was the first LGBT Best Picture winner. It has since been placed 36th on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, and 43rd on its 2007 updated version.
In 1994, Midnight Cowboy was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.Octopussy (soundtrack)
Octopussy is the soundtrack for the eponymous thirteenth James Bond film. The score was composed by John Barry, the lyrics by Tim Rice. The opening theme, "All Time High" is sung by Rita Coolidge and is one of six Bond film title songs or songs that are not named after film's title.The original compact disc released in 1985, by A&M Records, was recalled because of a printing error, and became a rarity. In 1997, the soundtrack was released, by Rykodisc, with the original soundtrack music and some film dialogue, (additional tracks, No. 3, No. 7, and No. 10 seen below) on an Enhanced CD version. The 2003 release, by EMI, restored the original soundtrack music sans dialogue. The original music video of "All Time High" shows Rita Coolidge in very soft focus in what appears to be an Indian palace, but which is actually one of the film's locations, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England.On Her Majesty's Secret Service (soundtrack)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service ("OHMSS") is the soundtrack for the sixth James Bond film of the same name.
The soundtrack to this film was composed, arranged, and conducted by John Barry; it was his fifth successive Bond film.Petulia
Petulia is a 1968 American drama film directed by Richard Lester. The screenplay by Lawrence B. Marcus is based on the novel Me and the Arch Kook Petulia by John Haase. It was scored by John Barry.Playing by Heart
Playing by Heart is a 1998 American comedy-drama film, which tells the story of several seemingly unconnected characters. It was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival. It stars Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Connery, Anthony Edwards, Angelina Jolie, Jay Mohr, Ryan Phillippe, Dennis Quaid, Gena Rowlands, Jon Stewart and Madeleine Stowe.The Appointment
The Appointment is a 1969 psychological drama film from director Sidney Lumet and writer James Salter, based on the story by Antonio Leonviola.The Golden Child
The Golden Child is a 1986 American fantasy comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Eddie Murphy as Chandler Jarrell, who is informed that he is "The Chosen One" and is destined to save "The Golden Child", the savior of all humankind.
The film was produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures and received a total gross of $79,817,937 at the United States (US) box office.Where Has Everybody Gone?
"Where Has Everybody Gone?" is a song by English-American rock band the Pretenders. It was one of two songs recorded by the band for the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights, the other being "If There Was a Man". "Where Has Everybody Gone?" peaked at number 26 on the United States Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.Both "Where Has Everybody Gone?" and "If There Was a Man" are included on The Living Daylights soundtrack, as well as an instrument remix of the former. In the film, the henchman Necros is seen listening to the song through his earphones several times and the song starts up a few times when he appears on screen. An instrumental version plays during the fight between Necros and Agent Green-4 at the MI6 safe house, and then again when Necros and Bond fight aboard the Soviet cargo plane.
Awards for John Barry