Tuesday, November 3, 2009

John Barry

Today marks the 76th birthday of composer John Barry. We've probably all seen the name before, as he wrote the score for the first of the James Bond movies, Doctor No, as well as some of the more recognizable theme songs to later entries in the series (notably Goldfinger, and Louis Armstrong's We Have All the Time in the World from the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service).

What I never knew, however, is that Barry has had a very rich and fruitful career outside of the Bond movies. I do recall seeing his name show up as the composer of the jazz music in The L-Shaped Room, which TCM showed last month as part of the salute to Star of the Month Leslie Caron. But, that jazzy music at least fits in with the same style as the original theme from Doctor No. On the other hand, Barry has won five Oscars, for a diverse group of movies, from the MOR retch-inducing title song of Born Free, to 1990's Dances With Wolves, and that even his scores not recognized by the Academy are diverse, with 60s spy movies like The Quiller Memorandum and 80s thrillers like Jagged Edge.

Then again, this isn't that much different from what compsers of the Studio Era did.

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