John Barry, RIP


30 Responses to “John Barry, RIP”

  1. RIP Mr Barry.
    I have an awful lot of his music and listen to it often. Most recently, I really enjoyed his OST for ‘Enigma’, the John Apted Bletchley Park movie.

  2. I should say Michael Apted, of course …

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dcairns, Anne Billson and Paul Duane, Liz Simpkins. Liz Simpkins said: RT @dcairns: My little John Barry tribute: […]

  4. Enjoyed Enigma, one of the first things I noted Mr Northam in. But all my favourite Barry work is earlier, with Beat Girl high on the list. Shadowplayer Douglas Noble sent me his Annie Ross album, and that’s fantastic too.

  5. You “beat” me to the punch, I love his music in BEAT GIRL.

  6. The John Barry Seven…

  7. Judy Dean Says:

    I’ve just heard Michael Crawford pay a very affectionate and well-informed tribute to John Barry on Radio 4’s World at One. It’ll be available very soon on Listen Again at:

  8. Youbeat me to the punch on Beat Girl Mr. Budziak!

    John Barry was — and is — the very essence of cool.

  9. this is my favorite john barry. my parents had the soundtrack and i used to listen to it when i was younger, years before i saw the film. the soundtrack is a collection which he was supervisor on, but i think he composed this main theme. i also used to love “Joe buck rides again” which i think was first track on the album and i think he also composed. and another called “science fiction”

  10. Thanks, Judy, I’ll check that out.

    One obscure Barry piece I recently enjoyed was Bryan Forbes’ Deadfall, where Michael Caine and Eric Porter carry out a burglary intercut and scored by a John Barry concert with the man himself conducting. A little-known bit of Hitchcockian suspense, very smartly done, in an uneven film.

  11. david wingrove Says:

    Sorry to hear that the amazing John Barry is no more! I particularly love his soundtrack for the Nicolas Roeg film WALKABOUT. It has premonitions of his more famous score for OUT OF AFRICA, minus all the syrup and schmaltz.

    It does seem he had a particularly good time on THE KNACK. He married one of the actresses (Jane Birkin) but allegedly had a fling with another. And some people call that a job.

  12. Thanks, Gabs, I enjoyed that all over again. Been too long since I heard it.

  13. The Knack is BABE CENTRAL! Imagine in a single film the motion picture debuts of Jane Birkin, Charlotte Rampling and Jackie Bissett!
    Heterosexuality never looked so good.

  14. David Boxwell Says:

    It’s the kiss of death, from Mr. Goldfinger!

    Barry was the very first film composer to get inside my brain–I was 8 when I saw my first Bond film, at a drive-in in Fayetteville, NC.

  15. David Boxwell Says:

    Barry composed a full-on, if somewhat shapeless, guitar concerto for DEADFALL. A fabulously kicky, Eurotrashy and perverse movie!

  16. Barry also appears onscreen at the end of The Living Daylights (as an orchestra conductor). The cameo seems especially appropriate, since it was the last Bond film he ever scored–though Barry’s Moore-era music was sometimes tame, it’s still miles better than David Arnold’s forgettable filler.

  17. Arnold, like Barry, has probably stayed too long in the job, but I was very enthusiastic when he first started — we’d had years of people who JUST COULDN’T DO IT, who didn’t even seem to know what IT was.

    Here’s a good one.

    The song starts a few minutes in. Groovy pizzicato strings, haunting vocal.

  18. Of course you *knew* I was going to quote this one …

    Even if the film weren’t my obsession, though, I’d still say that the music is fine. (Speaking ob obsessions … you should her the vocal version of this theme, with words by Carolyn Leigh, which sounds like a love song for Roderick Usher …)

    I also fond of the scores for “The Chase” and “You Only Live Twice.”

  19. Here’s a link to the words for this extremely odd “Petulia” song:

    (Maybe it’s not “House of Usher” so much as it’s ‘Tomb of Ligeia”?)

  20. Christopher Says:

  21. Oh how I ove Julie Chrstie.

    I remember as if it were yesterday going to see this expecting a comedy and discovering a brightly lit pit of terror instead. A truly audacious film, keyed by Barry’s nervous/ominous score.

  22. Thanks, Chris! Never knew about the lyrics, I’d love to hear it sung.

    Excellent evocation of Petulia, David E. A really messed-up love story, one of the most authentic.

  23. A twenty-minute interview with John Barry from 1999, NPR’s Terry Gross is the interviewer. We get to hear Anthony Newley’s version of Goldfinger, and learn the meaning of Thunderball. Informative, funny, and just plain fun.

  24. Well, I was hesitant to include this, since I don’t much care for the voice of the singer, but…


  25. Thanks for the interview Guy–Barry had a reputation for being prickly in person, but he’s quite gracious here. For anyone curious about the actual meaning of “Thunderball”, Ian Fleming heard the term used to describe an American atom bomb test in the Pacific and decided it would be a perfect title for a book about nuclear blackmail.

  26. My pleasure. I heard it first when it was re-broadcast in 2004. A friend brought it up in conversation earlier today and I just had to hear it again. Surprised to read of his prickliness, he seems anything but in the interview. In fact, I think he has a lovely speaking voice, I enjoyed the just the sound of it.

  27. Barry’s prickliness manifested itself in a reluctance to take notes from suits, which I think is fair enough if you can manage it. He would agree on what the score was supposed to be, then go away and write it. If you didn’t like what he wrote, tough — you’d have spent so much on Barry you wouldn’t be able to replace him. So it was a system that worked brilliantly from Barry’s point of view, and served to deprive us of a lot of executive producers’ “creativity,” which has to be good.

  28. The interview with Barry was a gem, thank you to Guy. I am blown away by Newley’s Goldfinger, though it is far too subtle (and good!) for the movie!

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