Monday, January 31, 2011
British John Barry was a distinctive Oscar-winning composer who contributed greatly to the style of the contemporary spy film with his themes for the Bond series. He brought a lush romanticism at odds with the violence depicted onscreen which helped shape 007, the secret agent which men everywhere wished they could be. But this aural opulence also benefited action/adventure movies, historical epics, and of course romantic melodramas like the first film whose theme I highlight below, Somewhere in Time (1980).
Here's my favorite piece from his Academy Award-winning score for Dances with Wolves (1990).
However, it's worth remembering that it is the 007 series which really brought him into the public eye. His experience with popular music as leader of the John Barry Seven informed both the jazz-inflected themes of the series and his collaborations with notable pop artists of the time, like Tom Jones in the theme to Thunderball (1965).
His instrumental title theme for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) is among his most exciting.
And here is my personal favorite, in which he collaborates with singer Nancy Sinatra, You Only Live Twice (1967).
John Barry died yesterday at the age of 77.
Recommended Film Scores - From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, The Ipcress File, Thunderball, Born Free, You Only Live Twice, The Lion in Winter, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Walkabout, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Deep, The Black Hole, Somewhere in Time, Body Heat, The Cotton Club, A View to a Kill, Out of Africa, The Living Daylights, Dances with Wolves, Chaplin, Indecent Proposal, The Specialist