As James Bond (George Lazenby) and Tracy (Diana Rigg) ski joyously down the mountain top, a booming melody with a romantic vibe can be heard on the soundtrack. This is soon interrupted by a more frantic theme as the bad guys catch up and a chase begins (which features one unfortunate henchman being ground up by a snowplough).
This is just one of my many memories of John Barry, a man who went from a humble beginning in Yorkshire to becoming one of the most recognised English composers of all time. His regular work on the James Bond franchise, which began in 1962 and ended in 1987, added a sound to the series which remained recognisable for generations.
As an avid Bond fan since my youth, hearing of the musician’s sudden passing was a shock and instantly encouraged me to look on Youtube and listen to some of his greatest pieces all over again.
The man was of course honoured for his many pieces outside of the Bond universe, winning Oscars for Born Free, The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves.
He has of course composed many other famous – and less famous – films, including Zulu, The Ipcress File, Raise the Titanic and Enigma, his most recent track.
Along with Bernard Herman, Ennio Morricone and John Williams, Barry has earned his place as one of cinema’s all time greatest musicians. Like all great scores in cinema, each of his themes held a majestic graceful quality which made the accompanying images spring to life.
I personally (presumably along with many others) shall remember him best for bringing sound to England’s greatest secret agent.
Barry’s “time in the world” may have come to an end but his music can live on.