James Bond Composer John Barry Dies at Age 77
Oscar-Winning Composer John Barry has died of a heart attack at age 77. He was perhaps best known for his arrangement of Monty Norman's James Bond theme, which led to him scoring 11 Bond films including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever. But Barry was a versatile and talented composer beyond the Bond films. His memorable scores ranged from quirky jazz ( The Knack...and How to Get It) to impressive regional work (Midnight Cowboy, Walkabout) to even sweat-drenched, neo-noir saxophone (Body Heat). For further testament to his talent, one needs only to look to his music for a mostly-forgotten 1965 film that has since been used in over half a dozen movies, from CGI-animated kid's fare to a film by the Coen Brothers.
I'm talking about music for the 1965 film Born Free, which was about the couple who raised orphan lion cub Elsa the Lioness, to adulthood. While the film had a warm reception upon release, it has not survived nearly as long as the music that Barry wrote for it. Not only did his theme song become a pop hit, but it has been re-used in a wide variety of films since its release, all the way up until today. To wit, the song has appeared in:
·Both Madagascar films
·Burn After Reading
·Chalie's Angels Full Throttle
·A Guy Thing
·Soft Toilet Seats
·The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag
·The Longest Yard
·Living Free (1974)
·Casino Royale (1966)
And just in case it's not already stuck in your head, here is the theme from Dr. No. While Norman has the sole credit for with writing it, John Barry has publicly defended his authorship multiple times, saying that he took Norman's manuscript, arranged the music and composed additional music.