Monday, January 31, 2011

John Barry

John Barry, my favorite film composer since Bernard Herrmann has died at age 77. If he had only written the James Bond movie soundtracks from Dr. No through The Living Daylights that would be enough, including (in disputed authorship) The James Bond Theme, since I spent the other part of my youth when I was not listening to rock & roll just listening to his music for the films. However, as this video tribute will attest, he was hugely prolific -- and memorable:

From The New York Times obituary, here's something I did not know, and maybe the secret of how he connected so well, bridging the classic cinematic values with contemporary taste without sounding hacky:
In 1957 he formed the John Barry Seven, a rock ’n’ roll band styled after the popular guitar-based instrumental group the Ventures. His group recorded several instrumental hits as well as “Hit and Miss,” the theme song for the popular television program “Juke Box Jury.”

As noted in a number of places, the theme for Bond comes out of the surf rock milieu. That drive, that motion.

Sadly, you only live once...but what a body of work.

1 comment:

Master Fu said...

I would agree that he was pretty legendary. For me heranks right up there with James Horner.

Best soundtracks for me of all time: (and how much better were the following movies because of their score?)

1. Last of the Mohicans
2. Legends of the Fall
3. Dances with Wolves
4. Braveheart
5. Any Bond movie (how awesome was Tina Turner with Goldeneye)