‘James Bond’ Composer John Barry, Dead at 77

Influential Academy Award-winning composer passes away from a heart attack on January 30th, 2011.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

'James Bond' Composer John Barry, Dead at 77

Film composer John Barry passed away this weekend. The man who created the James Bond ‘sound’ – brassy and propulsive – passed away from a heart attack in New York on Sunday, January 30th. Barry was the composer for 12 Bond films from Dr. No through The Living Daylights, after which Barry was replaced in favor of a new composer to try to reinvigorate Dalton’s take on the character in License to Kill. His authorship over the ‘James Bond’ theme, typically played while Bond walks across the screen and shoots the camera, has been disputed: originally credited to musician Monty Norman, Barry insisted that he arranged Norman’s theme and composed additional music for it, although he lost out in legal arbitration in 2001.

Barry won five Academy Awards in his career: two for Born Free (Best Original Song and Best Original Score), and Best Original Score Oscars for The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves. He also composed the scores for such classic films as Zulu, Midnight Cowboy, The Deep, Body Heat and Howard the Duck.

Well… Okay, maybe he didn’t have a perfect track record. John Barry was an enormously talented musician who contributed to some of the best movies ever made (and Howard the Duck). He will be missed.