The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

The Name Was Barry

with 2 comments

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along to you the news that film composer John Barry died on Sunday. Barry, a five-time Oscar winner, is of course best known for his work on 12 of the 22 James Bond films. Though his authorship of the iconic theme is under dispute even after a U.K. court ruled that it was Dr. No composer Monty Norman’s work alone, Barry is still the name most synonymous with Bond music, and crafted some of the series’ best themes.

The timing of Barry’s passing comes at an unusual time for this author: while entertaining some friends this weekend, a lively discussion of the music of 007 took place. While my friends have diverse musical interests, it’s rare that our tastes truly sync up when it comes to works of a catalogue-oriented nature. So comparing and contrasting our favorite Bond songs and which of the LPs we owned on CD or vinyl is now a particularly treasured memory. The loss of Barry reminds me that our musical heroes should be celebrated whenever and wherever possible; you never know when music helps deepen a bond (no pun intended) that was already pretty strong to begin with, or form a new one entirely.

We may do some sort of feature on Barry’s film musc, but if nothing else, I wanted to say a few words in honor of one of the best film composers of the 20th century, by far. Rest in peace, John Barry.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 31, 2011 at 11:04

2 Responses

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  1. We mourn the loss of a very talented composer. The good thing is that his music will live on, for our continued enjoyment.

    Peter Huitson

    January 31, 2011 at 12:47

  2. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt and honest tribute, Mike.

    Mr. Barry was likely too modest to admit the great influence he had on music and culture, almost singlehandedly defining the spy sound so often imitated, pastiched or parodied, but never matched. Yet more than that, this renaissance man evinced a mastery of every genre he approached. He never lost his popular – and populist – touch, collaborating with younger artists brought up on his work.

    I know that tonight I’ll be listening to “We Have All The Time in the World,” its gentle, wistful melody transporting me to another place entirely. Then maybe I’ll play a sweeping melody from one of Barry’s criminally unknown stage scores, and top off my Barry cocktail with one of those rousing adventure cues from a Bond film.

    Last night, I was playing Matt Monro’s recording of “Curiouser and Curiouser,” never thinking that I’d wake up to discover its composer had passed. But there’s nothing curious about John Barry’s appeal, and I take solace that his magnificent body of work for records, film and stage will endure.

    Joe Marchese

    January 31, 2011 at 12:59

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