John Barry will forever be associated with the music for James Bond, and rightly so, but he achieved so much more. Working with a variety of lyricists, including Don Black and the great Hal David, he produced some of the finest songs of the ’60s. My personal favourite is ‘We Have All the Time in the World,’ co-written with Hal David and sung by Louis Armstrong, of all people, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. And the best tune might just be ‘The Girl with the Sun in Her Hair,’ from You Only Live Twice, even though most people associate it with a TV commercial.Beyond his efforts on Bond’s behalf, especially his unforgettable theme for Goldfinger (1964), the Barry scores I remember best come from Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, and The IPCRESS File. I’ve also always been quite fond of the theme he cooked up for the 1971-1972 UK TV series The Persuaders!, which starred Tony Curtis and Roger Moore as a pair of millionaire international playboys who are coerced into fighting crime. The Persuaders pilot opening is embedded below.
There’s a drama and a dynamism about Barry’s music that sets it apart. He’s associated with lush, romantic sounds, but it’s no coincidence that he wrote music for classic crime films and TV shows. His music is truly exciting.
READ MORE: “John Barry, an Appreciation” (The HMSS Weblog); “John Barry, 1933-2011,” by Nicolas Pillai (Squeezegut Alley); “John Barry, Movie and TV Composer, Dies at 77,” by Catherine Lawson (TV Squad); “John Barry: 1933-2011,” by Armstrong Sabian (Mister 8); “R.I.P., John Barry,” by Tanner (Double O Section); “John Barry: 1933-2011,” by Stephen Woolston (Film Score Monthly); “Sound of the Cimbalon--On the Death of John Barry,” by Rob Mallows (The Deighton Dossier); “Composer John Barry Passes On,” by Mercurie (A Shroud of Thoughts); “John Barry: 1933-2011,” by Jason Whiton (Spy Vibe); “And the Band Played On,” by Ali Karim (The Rap Sheet); “For Your Ears Only,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).