The composer John Barry, who died yesterday of a heart attack in Glen Cove, N.Y., will forever have his name linked with another J.B., James Bond. Barry wrote the scores for 11 Bond pictures. He also arranged the James Bond theme, introduced in the first Bond movie, "Doctor No."
Even if you've never seen a Bond picture, you know the music. People on other planets probably know it, too. It's that ubiquitous -- and catchy. Pseudo-surf guitar prowls over vibes, muted trombones, and muted trumpets, then a section of wailingly unmuted brass (very Basie) erupts before the return of the original music. Think of it as the national anthem of cool, c. 1962. If Hugh Hefner had been able to pick out a ring tone back then, Barry's music would have been it. Except it's not Barry's music. Not officially, anyway. It's credited to Monty Norman, who has two rulings in British courts to back him up. Still, Barry claimed that he wrote it as well as arranged it. And when you look at Norman's subsequent career vs. Barry's, you have to wonder.
His name and 007's weren't the only examples of J.B. looming large in Barry's life. His first wife was Jane Birkin. Imagine what a Barry arrangement of "Je t'aime" might have sounded like. . . .
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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