John Barry: The Composer With The Midas Touch

From big Bond themes to shampoo commercials, Barry's golden touch and unforgettable scores made him one of Hollywood's most legendary composers.
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The sad news of John Barry’s passing has proved just how diverse the York born composer actually was. Whilst the Bond soundtracks will remain his best known work (with, in my opinion, his score for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service being his best for the franchise) his legacy across all genres of cinema will never be diminished. Born Free (for which he won two Oscars, and would go on to win three more during his career). Midnight Cowboy. Dances With Wolves. Zulu. Out of Africa. Even his work for films of a more questionable provenance (The Golden Child, Mercury Rising and many others) managed to enhance their quality rather than drag Barry down. And let’s not forget his numerous television themes and his pioneering work in The John Barry Seven.

A man who kept a Yorkshire sensibility of genial gruffness that swathed across the bullshit of Hollywood machine

Those who had the pleasure of meeting him would recall a man who kept a Yorkshire sensibility of genial gruffness that swathed across the bullshit of Hollywood machine and ensured he was one of the most respected people working in the industry.

But as the tributes begin to pour in it is perhaps best to remember for his music. So put on the headphones, pour yourself a Vodka Martini and enjoy the work of one of the world’s finest musicians who will be sadly missed but whose influence will live on

John Barry – 007 Theme

Before anyone asks ‘why is the proper Bond theme not here?’ it’s because Barry spent many years in legal battles regarding the true authorship of the best theme tune in the world. However, this ‘007 Theme’ is an undoubted Barry masterpiece.

John Barry / Shirley Bassey – Goldfinger

A belting song with overblown lyrics that set the templates for Bond themes for years to come.

John Barry – The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair

Even for commericials (in this case for shampoo) Barry provided brilliant music.

John Barry – Midnight Cowboy Theme

There are some who have this as Barry’s finest achievement

The John Barry Seven – Beat Girl

More Barry goodness in a film that is so 60s it actually hurts.

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