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John Barry

February 4, 2011

I was really upset this week when I heard that composer John Barry had died of a heart attack at the age of 77.

Composer John Barry

Millions across the world knew him as the man that created the “sound” of the James Bond movie franchise and the composer of dozens of memorable scores for films such as “Out of Africa”, “Midnight Cowboy” and “Dances With Wolves”.  Personally I’ll remember him for two distinct pieces of music.

Firstly, the theme song to “Born Free” which he co-wrote with Don Black and which won the 1967 Best Song Oscar.

Matt Monro "Born Free"

It was recorded by my all-time musical hero, the man who has inspired me more than anyone else in the career I’m now following, Matt Monro.  I must have listened to it a thousand times and I don’t think I will ever get bored of hearing it.  Secondly, my very favourite film theme, “Somewhere in Time”.

Somewhere in Time

Both pieces completely knock me out every time I hear them.  I think it’s something to do with the way Barry manages to combine beauty and melancholy into something that’s ultimately uplifting (is that even possible?).

The world has lost an immense talent whose passing is a cause for sadness, but whose legacy will bring happiness for decades to come.

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