R.I.P. John Barry.

John Barry has passed on. He left a great legacy of the sort of music that plays in my head when I daydream about having machine guns pop out from behind the ‘Rolla’s headlights, or about preventing World War III by infiltrating my arch-enemy’s secret volcanic hideaway. “Battle music,” I believe Baukman called it.

Here are a few of my favorite bits from the early Connery movies:

“The Laser Beam” from Goldfinger. Bond is about to get bisected by a laser beam. This is the “Do you expect me to talk?” scene.

Some music from the climactic scenes of Thunderball.

“Space March” from You Only Live Twice. The good guys’ space capsule gets captured by the SPECTRE ship.

2 comments

  1. This man’s music will endure; his greatness was never as obvious as when people tried to emulate him…he made it sound effortless and always kept it entertaining.

    Even the more rancid Bond films like Octopussy and Golden Gun can be forgiven as they at least had his music.

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  2. Speaking of his legacy, it’s amazing to hear the newer generation of movie score composers reveal the past artists who have inspired them. Of particular note, Michael Giacchino (whose scores include Lost, the ‘new’ Star Trek, Oscar-winning Up and Medal of Honor) was specifically told to emulate the traditional John Barry style by the director of Pixar’s The Incredibles. I would recommend it if you haven’t already – you’ll appreciate the homage to John Barry, especially in two of my favorite tracks: Kronos Unveiled and Lithe or Death. (I personally think that Giacchino did a better job at emulating the Barry style compared to past composers such as David Arnold).

    Any comment about the passing away of this great artist would be amiss if I didn’t mention my top five works by him:

    5. Living Daylights
    4. Out of Africa
    3. Goldfinger
    2. Born Free

    … and my Number-One-Score-That-Is-Not-A-John-Williams-Score:

    1. Dances with Wolves

    To say that I love this particular work, even when I didn’t realize that it was the same composer who did the Bond movies, would be an understatement. This is the music that makes me glad to have film music. This is the music that made me realize that the music for a film can transcend the movie itself. This is the music that brings to mind the rolling plains and vistas of an America that can only exist in an Ansel Adams or Edward Curtis photograph.

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