John Barry

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About John Barry

One of the greatest film and television composers in history, John Barry was born in York, England, in 1933. Trained on the trumpet, he worked as an arranger with several English big bands in the late ’50s, including the Ted Heath Orchestra, before launching his instrumental combo, the John Barry Seven. His career took off in 1962 when he scored the James Bond film Dr. No, which introduced the franchise’s enduring, indelible theme. Despite producing a signature composition early in his career, Barry went on to create a diverse array of acclaimed scores—among them 11 more Bond films, including Goldfinger and A View to a Kill—blending a fluency in classical music history, jazz, and conventional cinematic grandeur with deft adaptations of popular musical tropes. His score for the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy achieved a creative apotheosis of employing woozy pop music to telegraph onscreen experiences. Barry moved to the US in 1975, and after a long career died of a heart attack in 2011 at age 77.

York, England
November 3, 1933
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