Film composer John Barry, RIP

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My favorite film composer John Barry died on Sunday. He's perhaps best known for creating the sound of 007 in more than a dozen Bond films, but over his 50-year-career, he scored myriad styles of movies ranging from Midnight Cowboy, Born Free, and Dances with Wolves (all three of which landed him Oscars) to The Chase, King Kong, and the Black Hole. Here are two of my favorite Barry moments -- the title sequence from the first film he scored, Beat Girl (1960), and the theme from the British comedy The Knack... and How To Get It (1965). "Remembering James Bond Film Composer John Barry"


  1. Not to be pedantic here, but he didn’t compose the James Bond theme. Monty Norman did. John Barry was selected by Norman to orchestrate the song, which was adapted from Norman’s Bad Sign Good Sign. We do have John Barry to thank for the electric guitar in place of the sitar, twang you very much.

  2. anyone recognize a little riff in the beat girls track… maybe one that the B52s used backn in the early 80’s?

  3. I met him once, at A&M Studios in Manhattan. He was recording The Cotton Club score there, with Coppola. Barry was so nice and I introduced my sister to him – she was a HUGE John Barry fan – and he was so pleased that HE had a fan there, because most of the place was filled with people who were worshiping Coppola that day.

  4. NB the film “The Knack, and How to Get It,” is an interesting view of the mores of the early 60s as portrayed in popular culture

  5. Ah ,long one of my favorite film score composers.

    A link to a medley of his themes and music:

    IMHO his work defined the pop sound of the early to mid-sixties as much as the Beatles did.

    But his true metier was the film soundtrack. He really was very very good, you know.

    May he RIP.

  6. Trivia note: Gillian Hills, the beautiful blonde dancing in the BEAT GIRL trailer with (yes) Oliver Reed, had a short-lived acting career, then went on to marry a fellow Brit, Derek Burton (now deceased), who later became the presiding art director of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine (c. 1981-1988). Hills herself became a designer and — or so some have claimed — was an originator of the cutaway paperback cover (the sort with a “window” revealing another design beneath).

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