Film scores from John Barry

Despite composing music for over 90 films, and having won five Oscars and four Grammys, John Barry is best known for a piece of music he never, officially, wrote. The James Bond Theme was originally written by Monty Norman, who composed the score for Dr. No (1962), but Barry's jazzy arrangement infused it with the inimitable style that has set the tone for the rest of the Bond franchise.

007 Theme (click the play button):


James Bond Theme:


The Yorkshire-born composer made his break into films following a collaboration with pop singer Adam Faith, for whom he wrote several hits. When Faith made his film debut in the British beatsploitation classic, Beat Girl (1960), Barry was asked to provide the music.

After his brief stint on Dr. No, Barry would go on to score 11 of the 14 subsequent Bond films, including the title songs 'Goldfinger' (which brushed aside the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night in the charts), 'Diamonds are Forever', and the unforgettable 'We Have All the Time in The World' (written for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969), Louis Armstrong's last recording.

The 1960s was Barry's decade, and he went on to compose scores for The L-Shaped Room (1962), Zulu (1964), The Ipcress File (1965), The Knack ..and How to Get It (1965), Born Free (1966) - for which he won two Oscars, Deadfall (1968), The Lion in Winter (1968) - for which he won his third Oscar, and his unforgettable score for Midnight Cowboy (1969).

Theme from The Ipcress File:


Theme from Midnight Cowboy:


With his distinctive style it's easy to pigeonhole Barry as the master of brassy bombast, but he also wrote the music for The Ipcress File (1965), an anti-Bond film in many ways, including its darker, more reflective score, laden with claustrophobic menace.

Barry's later work included Oscar-winning scores for Out of Africa (1985) and Dances with Wolves (1990), and a nominated score for Chaplin (1992), each of which contributed significantly to each film's artistic impact and critical reception.

Theme from Out of Africa:


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