Tuesday, 1 February 2011

THE BARRY TOUCH

Many tributes have been paid in the media to the incomparable legacy of film music left by John Barry who died on Sunday.

Just about everyone knows and can hum at least three or four of Barry's themes (whether its one of those early James Bond songs or the themes to Born Free, Dances with Wolves or Out of Africa), but here are two of my personal favourites from his scores: the Academy Award-winning music for one of the seminal movies of my teenage cinema-going: the 1968 film, The Lion in Winter starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn...



And the elegiac theme composed for one of my all-time best-loved pictures: the 1980 Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour weepy, Somewhere in Time...



If you are a fan of John Barry's music, you might like participate in what is hoped will be a unique British tribute to one of our truly great popular composers. The idea, suggested by a group of his friends and admirers, is to get enough copies of Louis Armstrong's version of Barry's 'We Have All The Time In The World' bought to make it No. 1 on the UK chart.

It's important that a specific Armstrong track is singled out, and the one people are being urged to buy is from On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) Remastered. Here's the link.

There's a Facebook group dedicated to achieving this aim and you can find details here.


JOHN BARRY PRENDERGHAST

3 November 1933 – 30 January 2011


15 comments:

A Snow White Sanctum said...

He will indeed be missed but with the sheer number of films for which he composed the music, his legacy will continue to live on for generations to come.

Shena said...

A legendery composer. We miss u.

Suzanne said...

I saw Somewhere in Time just once years & years ago and it still haunts me! A beautiful film.

Eudora said...

Completly agree with your selection Brian, perhaps because The Lion on winter and Somewhere in time are different from other scores. In the music or soundtracks of movies is usual that, perhaps for lack of time, the composers use familiar music, using sometimes a kind of paraphrase of harmonies, but sometimes, like this two movies of Barry, something make them special.


No matter how much copies of Amstrong's We Have All The Time In The World could be sell, you have a number one time ago.

SharonM said...

When you thought of film music only one name popped instatnly into your head - John Barry.

Must track down the single - which was a fabulous example of Barry at his best.

Jason Tammemägi said...

Such a sad loss but what an amazing body of work. Few of us will leave behind even a fraction of what John Barry has.

And lovely idea for a tribute. I'll buy that.

Here's one of my favourite ones, from Beat Girl: http://t.co/adH5Wvx

Brian Sibley said...

Snow White Sanctum – That is very true! Incidentally, as a Disney fan you probably know that one of Barry's (perhaps less well-remembered) scores was for Disney's 1979 space-flick, The Black Hole.

Shena - Happily (as SWS says at the beginning of these comments) the legacy remains.

Eudora – Interesting comments. I heard the actor Michael Crawford on radio, saying that Barry had the ability to "get inside the story" of the film he was writing for and I would say that both the scores I picked do exactly that.

Sharon and Jason – I take Eudora's point about the No 1-tribute-idea, but, as you both say, it's still really worth tracking down 'We Have All the Time in the World': not just for Barry's music (and Hal David's lyrics) but to hear the Great Satchmo at his best. It was also one of JB's personal favourite among his songs.

Brian Sibley said...

Sorry, Suzanne – I missed your comment. Somewhere in Time is, as you say, truly haunting: Reeves and Seymour are superb as is Christopher Plummer and the timelessness of the locations and the dreamlike cinematography give it a lingering, heart-aching quality.

Brian Sibley said...

Apologies but I accidentally rejected, instead of approving, a comment from Neil-W.

Neil wrote...

"His music and legacy will live on.
A lot of younger musicians reference his music all the time. It's safe to say it will remain timeless.

"The comedian/magician Jerry Sadowitz who has a very misanthropic reputation was a devoted Barry fan and writes a small tribute the great man.

"You can read it here."

Good Dog said...

Aside from the legendary Bond scores, one of my personal favourites is his beautiful, elegiac score for Richard Lester's Robin and Marian. And obviously I've been listening to Starcrash a whole lot recently. Even when the film was a bit of a dud, he could still give it a good polish with an exceptional composition. A good example would be Raise the Titantic. With such an exceptional body of work, John Barry is one of the select few who, though gone, will never leave us.

Steven Hartley said...

I only found that out yesterday on Wikipedia - it's a shame because he composed a lot of really good scores. Especially the James Bond themes, John's a GENIUS!

Elena said...

A great composer...I will miss him.

Brian Sibley said...

Steven and Elena – I agree with you both...

Eudora said...

Another great score of Barry, I'm listening to it know: The last valley...ooohh, I watched this movie when I was about 16 o 17, a special film... I use to forget names, images, movies but never music, and today Barry's score has brought me old recollections.

Michael Sporn said...

I own every soundtrack album produced from his films. The man was a melancholy genius who brought enormous heart to his music. I've missed his scores these past few years and am sorry I didn't get to hear any of the theatrical shows he composed for. Perhaps someday one of them will get produced.