January 31, 2011

JOHN BARRY: 1933-2011

Film composer, John Barry, passed away yesterday at the age of 77. Spy Vibers around the world mourn his loss and celebrate his extraordinary contributions to the arts. Barry is best remembered for establishing the sound of the James Bond movies. Barry scored the first seven films in the series and 12 overall. He also composed the scores to many notable films, including Enigma, Chaplin, Dances With Wolves, Out of Africa, Hammett, Petulia, The Quiller Memorandum, The Wrong Box, Born Free, Knack... and How to Get it, The Ipcress File, Seance on a Sunday Afternoon, and Zulu. Director Federico Fellini is said to have confessed that Barry's music for Goldfinger (1964) was his favorite soundtrack. John Bary was married four times, including a marriage to Jane Birkin 1965-1968, seen below at the height of Bondmania in 1965. Barry is survived by four children, five grandchildren, and his wife, Laurie Barry.

My favorite John Barry score is
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Not only did it include the heart-felt "We Have All the Time in the World" with vocals sung by Louis Armstrong, the theme itself is a kind of cinematic masterpiece that captures the vulnerability and persistence-under-fire that surrounds the Bond character in the film. What is your favorite James Bond music?

Additional information at Film Score Monthly here, and The Gaurdian here. Tribute at Double O Section here.


  1. A really tough call, but I would have to cast my vote in favor of Thunderball, with From Russia with Love close behind (I am a bit of a Matt Monro fan.)

    J Kraus

  2. Yep, very difficult. I love On Her Majesty's - but when the mood takes me, I am also a big fan of Thunderball and YOLT. Oh, who am I kidding - I love them all and play them to death.

    Of his non Bond stuff, I like Zulu (sure its repetitive, but that's good), The last Valley, and naturally Quiller and IPCRESS.

  3. OHMSS and YOLT are my two favorite themes. I think the incidental music for OHMSS is his best work. Overall though, I really like "007," the secondary Bond theme.