John Barry – Film’s greatest composer passes away.

Posted on January 31, 2011


John Barry, one of cinema’s greatest composers, has passed away today, aged 77. His passing is truly tragic and the film industry has lost one of its genuine legends.

Any Bond fan knows John Barry and his more than considerable contribution to helping create that cinematic legend. His scores for eleven of the James Bond films, as well as the masterful arrangement  of the James Bond Theme itself, are arguably more memorable than the films themselves – Everyone remembers the theme to You Only Live Twice, but many will ask “is that the one with the volcano?” Whether it is Bassey belting out Goldfinger, Tom Jones holding his final note on Thunderball or Duran Duran’s number one hit A View To A Kill, his Bond themes have seared themselves into our memories.


However, whilst his themes might have been memorable belters he was also capable of transcendent beauty in his music. The Bond scores are littered throughout with surprising, often incidental gems. There are just too many examples to name, but the soaring strings of You Only Live Twice are just exquisite and the orchestral arrangement of We Have All The Time In The World is just heartbreakingly beautiful.

We Have All The Time In The World – orchestral version.

Barry wasn’t confined to Bond alone, either. Some of cinema’s greatest scores were penned by his hand. The brilliant Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa, The Lion in Winter, The Ipcress File and Born Free are his, to name but a few. In fact, Barry was nominated seven times for an Academy Award for his various scores and won five of them.

Born Free.

His influence can be seen from film scores such as Michael Giacchino’s for The Incredibles to popular music, such as Sneaker Pimps’ 6 Underground which samples his Golden Girl. His influence on the current Bond composer, David Arnold, could not be more apparent. However, Barry is a one of a kind. Often imitated but never bettered. The king of bombast, but also the master of the serene. He will be greatly missed.


John Barry’s  greatest hits.

RIP Mr. Barry.

To read more about the incredible John Barry, click this link to George’s Journal.

Posted in: Films, Music