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John Barry, 1933-2011

January 30, 2011 Leave a comment

John BarryComposer John Barry died on January 30, 2011, at his home in Oyster Bay, New York, after suffering a heart attack. He was 77.

John Barry Prendergast was born in York, England in November 1933, where his father owned a chain of cinemas. He played the organ at York Minster and, after spending some time as a classical pianist, formed a jazz band, The John Barry Seven in 1957. The Seven had a number of popular instrumental hits in the UK, including a cover of “Walk Don’t Run” and the theme from the TV show Juke Box Jury, “Hit and Miss”, before moving into cinema.

Barry made his film music composing debut in 1960 writing music for the Adam Faith film Beat Girl at the age of 27, before establishing himself as a major force in the British film industry when he wrote the score for the second James Bond film, From Russia With Love, in 1963. Barry wrote music for 10 more Bond films, including Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever, while simultaneously establishing himself as one of the pre-eminent composers in American and British film from the 1960s through to the early 1980s through popular and successful films such as Zulu, Born Free. The Lion in Winter, Midnight Cowboy, Walkabout, King Kong, Robin and Marian, The Black Hole, Somewhere in Time and Out of Africa. Read more…

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DANCES WITH WOLVES – John Barry

November 6, 2008 2 comments

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

By the mid-1980s the cinematic western was almost dead, a relic of an older, less sophisticated Hollywood, which had long since left behind icons such as John Wayne and Gary Cooper. Thankfully, nobody told Kevin Costner. In 1989 Costner was one of Hollywood’s upcoming leading men, having starred in successful and popular movies such as Silverado, Bull Durham, No Way Out and Field of Dreams. When it was announced that he would direct, produce and star in a big screen version of Michael Blake’s novel Dances With Wolves, at first the news was treated with incredulity; later, with stories of spiraling costs and unconventional on-set activities, the film was expected to be a vanity project at best, a laughing stock at worst. No-one expected the film to be one of the best westerns ever made, but that is ultimately what happened. Read more…

ENIGMA – John Barry

April 19, 2002 Leave a comment

enigmaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A new John Barry score is a rare thing indeed in this day and age. As one of the all-time greats of film music, with a career that stretches back to the 1950s, the quality of Barry’s work and his influence on the genre as a whole cannot be understated. However, in recent years, Barry’s musical oeuvre has become so familiar and – dare I say it – predictable, that every score sounds like the last. Playing By Heart, his last score, broke the mould somewhat by embracing a distinctive type of moody jazz, but everything else has been much of the same. Enigma is no different. Read more…

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