John Barry Pendergast (November 3, 1933 — January 30, 2011) was a British film composer, probably best known for his work on the James Bond film series.
He started out with his own jazz combo "The John Barry Seven" in the late Fifties before getting into film composing when asked to arrange Monty Norman's theme for the Dr. No, which became the iconic Theme Tune of the film series. He would compose scores for twelve Bond films in total, and those became a prominent part of the series' trademark style, to the point of being emulated by his successor David Arnold.
Stylistically, Barry's music tends toward the moody side, with extremely limited use of Fanfare (all but eliminating the brighter instruments in the orchestra in favor of deep undertones and rich, dark melodies). His most popular pieces consist of a lyrical theme accompanied by broken chords with a French horn countermelody. Because his non-Bond music typically does not include iconic themes, some have accused his various film scores of being "interchangeable".
John Barry passed away on January 30, 2011 in New York from a heart attack.
Has a page dedicated to his beautiful music.
Barry created music for:
- The following James Bond films:
- Dr. No (1962) (did the arrangement and was credited as performer for "The James Bond Theme"; controversy over whether Monty Norman [who did the rest of the soundtrack] or Barry actually composed the theme has resulted in two lawsuits, both ruling in favor of Norman)
- From Russia with Love (1963)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Thunderball (1965)
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
- Moonraker (1979)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to a Kill (1985)
- The Living Daylights (1987)
- Zulu (1964)
- Born Free (1966) (a double Oscar winner — his first for Original Score, and his only one for Original Song)
- The Lion in Winter (1968) (Oscar winner)
- Petulia (1968)
- Midnight Cowboy (1969)
- Walkabout (1971)
- King Kong (1976)
- The Black Hole (1979)
- Starcrash (1979)
- Raise the Titanic! (1980) (generally agreed to be the best part of the film and some of Barry's best work)
- Somewhere in Time (1980)
- Body Heat (1981)
- Out of Africa (1985) (Oscar winner)
- The Golden Child (1986) (only two of his compositions remained in the final film, however)
- Howard the Duck (1986) (not one of his proudest moments...)
- Dances with Wolves (1990) (Oscar winner)
- Chaplin (1992)