If some accepted measures of success for a musician is reach, longevity, cultural impact and peer recognition, then the UK’s John Barry, whose sad passing has been reported today, was truly one of the greats. Linked indelibly to the unmistakable James Bond theme tune and it’s various orchestral manifestations, along with scoring twelve of the series’ films, and debatably all of the greatest Band movies including the original ‘Dr No’, Barry’s other film work was equally notable.
He was winner of 5 OSCARS and numerous other accolades, including ground-breaking musical arrangements for ‘Born Free’ and ‘Dances With Wolves’. In fact so bountiful is his film work that even if for some inexplicable reason you’d never heard the Bond intro, you’d undoubtedly have heard Barry’s work. But who hasn’t heard the Bond intro. Indeed, who hasn’t imagined it in their head while in front of the mirror, walking stage centre, swivelling and shooting, a la double 0 seven? Or is that just us?
Whatever the case all respect to the passing of a true British great, a man whose music is synonymous with a certain style and imagery, and amongst the most recognisable opening bars in all of cinematic history. And another reason, should we ever need it to show the brilliance of Bond poster design. A gentleman player after Twelve Bar’s heart if ever there was one.