Composer. Nationality: British. Born: John Barry Prendergast in York, 3 November 1933. Education: Studied with Francis Jackson and Joseph William Russo. Military Service: Played in military band during military service. Family: Married 1) the actress Jane Birkin (divorced); 2) Laurie Barry. Career: Rock 'n' roll trumpeter, and composer-arranger-conductor for John Dankworth, Jack Parnell, and other bands; organized his own group, The John Barry Seven; 1960—score for first film, Beat Girl; has also written stage musicals and music for TV, including the mini-series Eleanor and Franklin, 1976. Awards: Academy Award, for Born Free (and the song "Born Free"), 1966, The Lion in Winter, 1968, Out of Africa, 1985, and Dances with Wolves, 1990; British Academy Award, for The Lion in Winter, 1968. Agent: ICM, 8899 Beverly Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90048, U.S.A.
Films as Composer:
Beat Girl (Wild for Kicks) (Grenville); Never Let Go (Guillermin)
The L-Shaped Room (Forbes); The Amorous Prawn (The Playgirl and the War Minister) (Kimmins)
From Russia with Love (Young); Zulu (Endfield)
A Jolly Bad Fellow (They All Died Laughing) (Chaffey); Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Forbes); Man in the Middle (Hamilton); Goldfinger (Hamilton)
The Party's Over (Hamilton—produced 1962); The Ipcress File (Furie); Four in the Morning (Simmons); King Rat (Forbes); Mister Moses (Neame); The Knack, and How to Get It (Lester); Thunderball (Neame); One Man and His Bank (Cobham—short)
Born Free (Hill); The Quiller Memorandum (Anderson); Dutchman (Harvey); The Chase (Penn); The Wrong Box (Forbes)
The Whisperers (Forbes); You Only Live Twice (Gilbert)
Petulia (Lester); Deadfall (Forbes); Boom! (Huston); The Lion in Winter (Harvey)
Midnight Cowboy (Schlesinger); On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Hunt)
The Last Valley (Clavell); Monte Walsh (Fraker); The Appointment (Lumet) (song)
A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick); Murphy's War (Yates); Follow Me (The Public Eye) (Reed); Walkabout (Roeg); They Might Be Giants (Harvey); Diamonds Are Forever (Hamilton)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Sterling); Mary, Queen of Scots (Jarrott)
A Doll's House (Garland); The Glass Menagerie (Harvey)
The Man with the Golden Gun (Hamilton); The Dove (Jarrott); The Little Prince (Donen)
The Day of the Locust (Schlesinger); Love among the Ruins (Cukor); The Tamarind Seed (Edwards)
Robin and Marian (Lester); King Kong (Guillermin)
First Love (Darling); The Deep (Yates); The War between the Tates (Philips); White Buffalo (Lee Thompson); The Gathering (Kleiser); Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (Petrie); Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy (Heffron)
Game of Death (Clouse); The Betsy (Petrie)
Hanover Street (Hyams); Star Crash (Coates); Moonraker (Gilbert); The Black Hole (Nelson); Willa (Darling and Guzman); The Corn Is Green (Cukor)
Inside Moves (Donner); Raise the Titanic! (Jameson); Somewhere in Time (Szwarc)
The Legend of the Lone Ranger (Fraker); Body Heat (Kasdan); Murder by Phone (Bells) (Anderson)
Hammett (Wenders); Frances (Clifford)
Octopussy (Glen); High Road to China (Hutton); Svengali (Harvey)
The Cotton Club (Coppola); Mike's Murder (Bridges); Until September (Marquand)
Jagged Edge (Marquand); A View to a Kill (Glen); Out of Africa (Pollack)
Howard the Duck (Huyck); A Killing Affair (Saperstein); My Sister's Keeper (Saperstein); Peggy Sue Got Married (Coppola)
Hearts of Fire (Marquand); The Living Daylights (Glen)
Dances with Wolves (Costner)
Deception (Clifford); Indecent Proposal (Lyne); My Life (Rubin)
The Specialist (Llosa)
Cry, the Beloved Country (Roodt); The Scarlett Letter (Joffé)
Swept from the Sea (Kidron)
Mercury Rising (Becker); Playing by Heart (Carroll)
Goodbye Lover (Score Withdrawn)
Film as Arranger:
Dr. No (Young)
By BARRY: articles—
In Knowing the Score, by Irwin Bazelon, New York, 1975.
International Filmusic Journal, nos. 1, 2, and 3, 1979–80.
Segnocinema (Vicenza), vol. 6, no. 25, November 1986.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), March 1988.
On BARRY: articles—
Films in Review (New York), October 1967.
Focus on Film (London), Winter 1970.
Films in Review (New York), April 1971.
Monthly Film Bulletin (London), October 1971.
Monthly Film Bulletin (London), August 1972.
Dirigido por . . . (Barcelona), July/August 1974.
Ecran (Paris), September 1975.
Focus on Film (London), Winter 1975–76.
Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), vol. 2, no. 4, 1976.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1978.
Fistful of Soundtracks (London), May 1981.
Filmusic (Leeds), 1982.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), December 1983.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), March 1984.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1984.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), September 1986.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1994.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), November 1994.
Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), January/February/March 1996.
Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), April 1996.
Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1996.
Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), October 1996.
Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), November 1996.
Billboard, v. 109, no. 41, 11 October 1997.
Billboard, v. 111, no. 27, 3 July 1999.
* * *
John Barry is one of cinema's most prolific and well-known composers. Europe has long provided the American movie industry with many of its leading musical artists, but no Englishman has ever equaled Barry's breadth of accomplishment and commercial success. Although movie music increasingly consists of collections of unrelated pop songs selected mainly for their ability to sell records, Barry's skills are still in demand among those who value dramatic and musical integration. Best known for his compositions for the James Bond films, Barry has in fact displayed an extraordinary versatility throughout his career. Jazz instrumentals, medieval music, blues motifs, rock variations, French ballads, and evocations of the Orient have all been featured in his work. He composes orchestral and solo textures with equal facility, and is as much at home with electronically generated sound as with that produced by acoustic instruments. Although he has been criticized for an excess of lushness, his professionalism, his competence in a diversity of idioms, and his keen understanding of the cinematic relevance of music have earned him wide respect.
By the time he entered the film industry, Barry was already acquainted with a wide range of musical genres. The son of a cinema-chain owner, he gravitated toward movies by way of a classical music training at an English cathedral, playing trumpet in an army band, arranging for several of Britain's top jazz orchestras, and leading the brass-laden rock 'n' roll group The John Barry Seven. After writing his first film score for the youth-oriented melodrama, Beat Girl, Barry was asked to arrange and direct Monty Norman's lively James Bond theme for Dr. No, the first of the 007 films. Norman has always received credit for the composition, with its plunking guitar and insistent brass, but Barry's input helped to make it one of the 1960's most recognizable signature tunes in any medium. Barry has since written most of the scores and about half the title songs for the Bond series. While all of these have achieved an effective synthesis of music and image, Barry's work for Goldfinger is perhaps the most exciting. Although the compositions have varied in musical quality, they have always been integral to the films' identity—as much a part of the total package as the arresting title sequences and 007 himself. Barry's distinctive use of brass has added urgency to the action sequences, and his use of lush strings and woodwind melodies have enhanced the more romantic interludes. While he has been required to generate chart-busting title songs for the Bond films, he has always created thematic unity between the main number and the score as a whole.
Barry's work includes music which functions mainly to establish mood or signal changes of emotional pace. His unobtrusive score for Jagged Edge is a typical example. Yet he rejects the idea that film music must always be an appendage to the visual image, faithfully reflecting the events depicted on screen. His philosophy is that "a film score should burn with its own fire, not merely glow in the dark like a pretty charcoal." While insisting that score and narrative should be in harmony, Barry believes that music can add dramatic dimension, either by augmenting expressed emotions and attitudes, or by communicating information not contained in the images or script. His sweeping pastorales for Out of Africa, for example, gave heightened expression to the protagonists' love for their adopted country, as well as for each other. In The Lion in Winter, choral fugues, sung in Latin, are used to establish the largely unarticulated influence of the Catholic Church on England's Henry II. As musical supervisor on Midnight Cowboy, he and director John Schlesinger used Fred Neil's up-tempo song "Everybody's Talkin"' to supply much of the film's initial pace and meaning. Barry also employs musical understatement for dramatic effect. The emotional impact of the sober prison-camp drama King Rat owed much to Barry's delicate instrumentation.
Many of Barry's most lasting contributions to film music have been composed in a romantic vein. His love themes for Robin and Marian, his title song for Moonraker, and the gentle ballad sung by Louis Armstrong in On Her Majesty's Secret Service exemplify his skill at using music to call forth an affective response in the audience. Indeed, his score for Somewhere in Time was not only more memorable than the film, but was more effective than either script or acting in establishing the movie's romantic resonance. Although such compositions do not satisfy every taste—some critics describe them as "soupy"—they are seldom inappropriate.
While Barry can scarcely be accused of a formulaic approach to film scoring, it is possible to identify certain trademarks in his music. Extensive use of flutes, horns, and strings, sustained low brass notes ("brass pedals"), and endless reworking of a single theme, serve to distinguish his work from that of his contemporaries. Although he may not always satisfy the aesthetic sensibilities of film-music critics, Barry has done more than most to keep alive the public's appreciation of movie scoring. In an era in which commercial pressure has eroded the relationship between music and film, this is a significant achievement.
"Barry, John." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/barry-john
"Barry, John." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/barry-john
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John Barry (1745-1803) was a U.S. naval officer during the American Revolution, distinguished by his gallant achievements. In the 1790s he was the senior officer in the American Navy.
John Barry, born in Ireland and always a staunch Roman Catholic, went to sea at an early age. In 1776 a Philadephia merchant selected him to be the master of a vessel trading with the West Indies. In that year Barry, already a veteran mariner, received a captain's commission in the Continental Navy. A myth persists that Barry was the first captain appointed to the first vessel purchased by Congress, but his initial ship was a hastily outfitted Philadelphia brigantine, the Lexington. He created quite an impression in his opening cruise by capturing a well-armed tender, giving safe convoy to several merchantmen, and eluding a British squadron. Barry's stature grew quickly, and he has been called the most popular officer in the Revolutionary Navy.
Barry's later commands were the Effingham, the Raleigh (which he had to run aground to avoid capture), and the Alliance. In the last years of the war he performed valuable service transporting supplies and dispatches between France and America. Unaware of the state of peace negotiations in Paris, he fought the last naval action of the Revolution more than a month after the conflict had officially ended. Barry remained in the service for two additional years, until the government sold the Alliance. The last captain to resign, he literally saw the Continental Navy come to an end.
Barry's retirement at his plantation home, Strawberry Hill, outside Philadelphia was not to be permanent. Congress, stung by the Barbary pirates' attacks on American shipping in the Mediterranean, resolved to create a new navy in 1794, and President Washington extended Barry a commission as senior captain in the service. After helping to supervise the naval construction program, he was made commander of the United States, the first of the new vessels to put to sea. The tall, white-haired Barry was accorded the courtesy title of commodore, the second American naval officer ever to hold the title, and the first in 20 years. Between 1798 and 1801 Barry spent much of his time directing American naval operations in the West Indies, the period of the so-called Quasi-War with France. In semiretirement in 1802 the 57-year-old Barry was asked by President John Adams to assume command of the Mediterranean squadron, but ailing health compelled him to decline. He died the following year.
There is only one biography of Barry worthy of attention—an excellent study by a distinguished authority on the naval history of the Revolution, William B. Clark, Gallant John Barry, 1745-1803: The Story of a Naval Hero of Two Wars (1938). For early American naval history see Gardner W. Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution (2 vols., 1913). □
"John Barry." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/john-barry
"John Barry." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/john-barry
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John Barry, 1745–1803, U.S. naval officer in the American Revolution, b. Co. Wexford, Ireland. He went as a youth to Philadelphia, where he was a trader and a shipmaster. In the Revolution he commanded the brig Lexington when she captured (1776) the British tender Edward—the first British ship taken by a commissioned American ship. He fulfilled later commands with gallantry: in the Raleigh he fought against superior forces until compelled to beach the vessel to save it and the crew from capture; in the Alliance he took (1781) two British vessels after a hard fight. His renown as a naval hero of the Revolution was second only to that of John Paul Jones.
See biographies by J. Gurn (1933) and W. B. Clark (1938).
"Barry, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/barry-john
"Barry, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/barry-john
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"Barry, John." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/barry-john
"Barry, John." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/barry-john
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For more than three decades, the music of composer John Barry contributed intrinsically to the definition of the American film experience. He created award-winning soundtracks that wafted in the background of dozens of cinema’s more memorable film attractions and into the mainstream of American culture. Through his musical scores he effectively defined the emotional backdrop for the most watched movies of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including Born Free, Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa, and Dances with Wolves. The list of John Barry movie soundtracks is as impressive as it is lengthy, including Lion in Winter, the remake of King Kong, The Deep, The Cotton Club, Chaplin, and Mercury Rising. Altogether Barry earned a total of four Oscars for his motion picture scores, and for generations of moviegoers his name was closely associated as the composer of the soundtracks to more than a dozen James Bond spy thrillers. The James Bond music scores, at times enervating and always seductive, captivated moviegoers who became spellbound at the adventures of the unstoppable spy hero in Goldfinger, Octopussy and other films based on the novels of author Ian Fleming about an unusually capable British agent, code-named 007 and otherwise known as “Bond, James Bond.”
Barry was born Jonathan Barry Prendergast in York in northern England. He was the youngest of four siblings, including two other boys and a girl. His father owned a string of eight movie theatres in the town where the family lived, and Barry quit school in his mid-teens to go to work in the projection booth of one of his father’s cinemas. Barry, having studied classical piano and harmony, was fascinated with the dramatic appeal of theatrical music. He sometimes composed his own personal soundtracks to the movies he saw, and he became determined even as a young man to work as a composer and to write film scores. When the cinema hosted live musical concerts, Barry enjoyed the jazz music above all and embraced every opportunity to make the casual acquaintances of some of the great jazz artists of the times.
When Barry joined the army around 1950, he continued to write and to study music even from the remote locations in Cypress and Egypt where he was stationed. He used borrowed money to purchase a correspondence course on jazz arrangement through a mail-order advertisement in a magazine. The course, guided by jazz artist Stan Kenton’s arranger, William Russo, kept Barry engrossed for two years.
In 1955, after leaving the army, Barry collected his own musical ensemble and eventually billed the band as the John Barry Seven. Barry played a trumpet in the septet; nonetheless his musical scores focused squarely on guitar as the lead instrument. According to Barry, he allowed the guitar to take center stage because the instrument symbolized contemporary music and was indisputably the most popular of all the instruments. During the late 1950s Barry and his band recorded for Columbia (EMI) and one of their songs, “Hit and Miss,” reached the top ten echelon of the hit chart in Britain. Also during that time he accepted a position as musical director for EMI Records, a situation that led to a further opportunity to write his first professional movie score for Adam Faith’s Beat Girl in 1959. For that movie, Barry developed contemporary jazzy themes, in keeping with the times. In 1960, he wrote the soundtrack of the Peter Sellers movie, Never Let Go, and in 1962 Barry wrote the music for The Amorous Mr. Prawn.
In 1962, Barry accepted an offer to rework the score of a new movie called Dr. No, which at that time was the first in a series of immensely popular films to be based on Ian Fleming’s novels about an exotic and debonair British spy, James Bond. In retrospect the score was widely attributed to Barry who rewrote the score to better suit the movie’s producers. Years later Barry’s involvement in creating the score was publicly acknowledged, although he never received formal credit for the Dr. No project. The James Bond film series, which for many years starred the smooth lead actor, Sean Connery, developed into a cultural phenomenon. Over the course of the next two decades Barry scored 11 out of the 19 subsequent movies in the series, catapulting his name into the forefront of the film music industry in the process.
Barry’s dynamic Bond themes augmented the rare blend of culture, danger, and adventure that was
Born Jonathan Barry Prendergast on November 3, 1933, in York, England; married Jane Birkin, 1966; divorced; married Laurie; children: four daughters, one son. Education: Instruction via correspondence with jazz arranger William Russo.
Selected movie soundtracks: Born Free, 1966; Goldfinger, 1963; Thunderball, 1963; Lion in winter, 1968; Mary, Queen of Scots, 1971; The Deep, 1976; Somewhere in Time, 1980; Out of Africa, 1985; Dances with Wolves, 1990; Mercury Rising, 1998; signed with Universal Classics and Jazz, 1998.
Awards: Best Film Scores (Born Free, Lion in Winter, Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves), Best Songs (“Born Free”), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Songwriters Hall of Fame, 1998; Frederick Loewe Award, Palm Springs International Film Festival, January 1999; Officer of the Order of the British Empire, July 1999; Honoree, British Music Industry Trusts, July 1999.
Addresses: Managemen –The Kraft-Benjamin-Emgel Agency, 9200 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 321, Los Angeles, CA 90069-3505.
inherent to the Fleming novels. Barry’s music constituted an essential factor in the evolution of the James Bond persona. A generation later, composer David Arnold succeeded Barry as the composer for the James Bond scores. As quoted by Paul Sexton in Billboard, Arnold noted that, “For me the success of the Bond series was 50 percent Sean Connery and 50 percent John Barry.” Among Barry’s greatest hits from the Bond movies was the title song from the 1963 feature, Goldfinger. Also among the more popular Bond melodies were Barry’s collaborations with lyricist Don Black that resulted in the hit title songs, “Thunder-ball” and “Diamonds are Forever.” Barry also created the soundtrack to Casino Royale, and Never Say Die, two later films about the secret agent James Bond, by other producers.
Barry collaborated with lyricist Don Black again in 1966 for the soundtrack to the movie Born Free, a James Hill docudrama on human interaction with the lions of Africa. Barry’s score won the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences “Oscar” award that year.
The title song of the movie became enormously popular and was heard everywhere; it too won an Oscar. Also nominated for an Oscar was his 1971 score for Mary, Queen of Scots.
During the 1980s, Barry suffered a series of emotional trials, including the death of his parents in close proximity to one another in 1980, followed by the accidental death of his older brother five years later. It was suggested that during that time a morose and melancholy atmosphere shrouded his film scores, including Out of Africa and Somewhere in Time. Barry’s 1985 score for Out of Africa won the Oscar award for the best soundtrack that year. The drama, which starred Meryl Streep, was set around the exotic backdrop of a coffee plantation in Africa; Barry dedicated the sentimental soundtrack to the memory of his late brother.
Barry himself suffered a serious accident in the late 1980s, brought on by a toxic reaction to a drink he was consuming. Ironically, it was a so-called health potion that caused the affliction, which resulted in a critical injury when his esophagus ruptured. He underwent life-saving surgery and a lengthy recovery period, including a series of follow-up operations. His recuperation lasted two years, from 1988-1990. He returned to cinematic composing with the subsequent release in 1990 of an Oscar-winning soundtrack for the Kevin Costner production, Dances with Wolves. Again in 1992 he received an Oscar nomination for the music from Chaplin.
Barry, in addition to his stature in the film industry, found enjoyment throughout the years in composing works of his own inspiration and volition—music not associated with any story or screenplay, but rather the spontaneous music of his heart. Among his early productions, an album named Moviola was released in 1966. A compilation of his own works and arrangements, the recording presents Barry conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Also among his sporadic non-cinematic releases was his 1998 album, The Beyondness of Things, released by Universal Classics (Decca). Beyondness was his first major non-film project after a number of years. It offered a romantic respite of symphonic music, specifically intended not to portray a visual image and likewise to distinguish itself from his film scores, according to the composer.
Throughout his lifetime Barry earned a reputation for his tireless dedication to his work. In the late 1990s he performed to a sellout crowd at London’s Royal Albert Hall, his first concert in more than two decades. Also during the 1990s his many compositions experienced a resurgence of popularity for a variety of reasons. In particular, several young pop stars discovered his music and incorporated his songs into their own performances, and the compositions that he created for the James Bond movies experienced a revival because they evoked a special nostalgia for many performers of the 1990s. Also in 1999, Barry began a project to record Celtic songs and dances featuring vocals from guest artists.
Barry was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1998, and in complement to his sizable collection of Oscars, he received the Frederick Loewe Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January of 1999. He was honored as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in July of 1999, and that same month he was honored by the British Music Industry Trusts. That same year saw the publication of two full-length biographies documenting the life of Barry—Sansom & Co.’s John Barry: A Life in Music by Geoff Leonard and others, and John Barry: A Sixties Theme by Eddi Fiegel. Barry, according to Entertainment Weekly, stands among the “living legends” of film composers.
Barry married actress Jane Birkin in the 1960s; they were later divorced, and Barry remarried. He has three daughters and one son. He lives on Long Island with his wife, Laurie.
Across the Sea of Time, Epic, 1996.
The Beyondness of Things, Universal Classics and Jazz (Decca), 1998.
Somewhere in Time (platinum), 1980.
Out of Africa (platinum), 1985.
Dances with Wolves (platinum), 1990.
Music of John Barry, Vol. Two, Silva America, 1996.
Playing by Heart, 1999.
Billboard, July 3, 1999; October 2, 1999, p. 81.
Entertainment Weekly, March 13, 1998, p. 30.
Los Angeles Times, January 8, 1999, p. 16.
“John Barry,” http://www.filmmusic.dk/barry2/html (June 6, 2000).
"Barry, John." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/barry-john
"Barry, John." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/barry-john