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albums08

John Barry profile for Ritz magazine

John Barry profile for Ritz magazine

revised 3/03
"This feature appears courtesy of the RITZ magazine, London, published by INK www.electricink.net"

On this site May 9, 2003.

By Jon Burlingame

Oyster Bay, New York, 2002, is a long way away from London's Pickwick Club circa 1964. The man who composed "Goldfinger," "Born Free" and "Midnight Cowboy" amidst the tumult of England's Swinging Sixties now resides quietly some 45 miles from New York City, with his American wife and young son.

But John Barry, 69, is as busy as ever. He has a West End musical in the works, is headed back into the studio with an album of original songs for Decca, and is preparing to score his first animated film (for Walt Disney and Pixar, the computer-animation geniuses who gave us "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life").

"I've got a nice variety of things," he says with obvious contentment in his elegantly appointed living room with a view of Long Island Sound. The Oyster Bay house, where he spends most of the year and does all of his writing, is located on four acres of land in a secluded spot off the northern shore.

He still maintains an apartment in Cadogan Square, Chelsea, that's "five minutes from The King's Road and ten minutes from the West End," he says. And he returns there often, these days collecting a seemingly endless series of honors commensurate not only with his fame but with his many contributions to the soundtrack of our lives.

In 1998, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and sold out the Royal Albert Hall in a matter of hours for his first concert appearance in 25 years. The following year, he received an OBE and the Music Industry Trust Award. In 2000, he was the subject of a BBC-TV documentary on his life. This year, he was declared an Honorary Freeman of the City of York, his hometown.

John Barry is, without question, England's single most successful composer of cinema music -- and the only Brit to have received five Academy Awards (two for "Born Free," for its title song and score, plus one each for the scores of "The Lion in Winter," "Out of Africa" and "Dances With Wolves"). But he's more than that. He has become an icon to generations of music fans as well as to modern rockers who record covers of his tunes, sample his originals and study his chord progressions to try and replicate his winning formula.

They can't, of course. Only John Barry writes like John Barry. The singular melodic sense, the unique harmonies, the specificity of his orchestrations: They infuse every memorable theme, from "The Ipcress File" to television's "The Persuaders," and even the obscure ones, like the haunting riff from his failed stage musical "Lolita, My Love" (penned with Alan Jay Lerner) or the enchanting "The Me I Never Knew" from the forgotten movie musical "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Barry is a very private man. For many years, he gave no interviews at all, preferring his music to speak for him. And why bother anyway? Writing film music is a complex process, requiring not only the obvious musical gifts but also a high level of technical expertise and something of the sensibility of a psychologist (trying to figure out what directors and producers want, never an easy task). Publicity serves no real purpose; it doesn't sell film scores and is usually just a distraction from the real work at hand.

These days, he grants just a few. A brush with death back in 1988 (his esophagus ruptured, nearly killing him) and the birth of his son in 1994 have literally given him a new lease on life. And as a revered composer of classic pop entering his sunset years, maybe he relishes -- just a little -- the adulation. I was at the Albert Hall the night that 5,000 fans cheered his long-overdue return to the concert hall. The Times reviewer called the three standing ovations "the most devoted clappings I've ever seen in my life," likened them to "the prayers of the faithful," and conceded that their actions were "entirely understandable."

Is he a dreamer, a poet? Certainly. And he likes the solitude. In Oyster Bay, he can walk along the beach, collect his thoughts and turn them into musical phrases before returning to his studio to jot them down on paper, the old-fashioned way (before music-writing software took the romance out of the composing business). To the casual observer, his quiet lifestyle may seem light-years removed from the fast life (including three short-lived marriages, one to actress Jane Birkin) of the '60s; to him, it's one long continuum of musical growth and development. He has become what few great songwriters ever have: An accomplished creator of symphonic music that is both contemporary and classic. While many of his colleagues were stuck in the banal 4/4 of rock, Barry was expanding his horizons by studying Sibelius, Mahler and Shostakovich.

No artist enjoys analyzing his own work. But, pressed to describe what links so many of his popular tunes, Barry replies: "I'm strongly attracted to subjects that deal with loss: `Out of Africa,' `Dances With Wolves,' `Somewhere in Time.' All these movies are about a sense of loss. I don't know whether that comes from the World War. It leaves its mark. I don't know how it couldn't."

Barry attended a Catholic convent school in York, which was bombed by the Nazis in early 1942. "Several of the nuns and many of the children were killed," he recalls. "And nobody explained it to us. They just came up and bombed the hell out of the place. I can remember my father coming back and taking me out into the street. We lived just outside the city, and the whole sky was red from the reflection of the city burning. And I remember him saying to me, `Just get this into your head. You're never going to forget this night.' I had a tough Irish father, and I'm glad he did that to me. Other fathers would have said, `I don't want you to see this.' He grabbed me out of the air-raid shelter and said, `I want you to see this. Remember it for the rest of your goddamn life.' Which I did."

In recent years, Barry has shifted his attention somewhat away from the movies, writing and recording instrumental albums that contain musical impressions of people and places from his past. "Dreams, memories and reflections" was how he described "The Beyondness of Things," a Decca CD that sold 100,000 units and was timed to coincide with the Royal Albert Hall concert. He followed that up last year with "Eternal Echoes," inspired in part by the musings of Irish philosopher John O'Donohue.

The mature, thoughtful, reflective Barry of today may seem a far cry from the brash, much-in-demand composer of all those James Bond scores and '60s movies that put him on the map: "Goldfinger," "Thunderball," "You Only Live Twice," "The Knack," "The Ipcress File" and so many others. The composer confesses: "When I look back on it, I think, how the hell did I do all this?"

He would hammer out an entire Bond score -- orchestrating every note himself, often totalling hundreds of pages of music -- in four or five weeks, working virtually nonstop. Longtime friend Michael Caine, who temporarily roomed with Barry at the time, remembers him playing variations on the same tune all night, working out the musical details of some new theme. It turned out to be "Goldfinger," later to be belted into a number-one spot on the charts by Shirley Bassey. Ultimately, he scored eleven of the 007 epics.

Then there was the legendary London nightlife of the young and beautiful, the rich and famous, the Pickwick Club where Barry hung out with Caine, Terence Stamp and other luminaries. "Let's not go into all that," Barry says with a laugh. "It was England in the '60s. Everything was happening. There was such a buzz, doing the Bond movies, doing the musicals (including "Passion Flower Hotel" and, later, "Billy"). It was extraordinary."

Barry moved to United States in 1975. He and wife Laurie have been married since 1978 and lived for most of that time in Oyster Bay (in the house next door to Lerner's, where they wrote "Lolita"). There, in relative isolation -- and, geographically speaking, midway between the show-biz madness of Los Angeles and the nostalgic pull of his beloved London -- he composed the grand-scale romantic scores for "Out of Africa" and "Dances With Wolves," which won him Oscars in 1986 and 1991 respectively.

And that's where he's writing the music for "Brighton Rock," a musical based on the Graham Greene novel about the race gangs of the 1930s. He's wanted to do it since the late '60s, when it was briefly headed for the West End before the deal fell apart. (It was producer Bill Kenwright, once a member of the chorus in "Passion Flower Hotel," who revived it.) At the same time, he's mulling ideas for that song album, and composing themes for "The Incredibles," the Disney-Pixar film that won't hit theaters until Christmas 2004.

Asked what makes him happiest today, Barry surprises by not mentioning his music. "If there is one thing that dominates my life," he notes with pride, "I would say my son." Jonpatrick, 8, "gives me more joy than you can imagine. He's crazy about movies, he loves music and he comes out with things that are frighteningly brilliant at times."

Sounds just like his old man.

--------

Jon Burlingame

"This feature appears courtesy of the RITZ magazine, London, published by INK www.electricink.net"

We would like to thank Jon Burlingame for his help in making this article available to us. Jon is a writer and broadcaster on film and TV music. Check out his excellent books, Sound and Vision: 60 Years of Motion Picture Soundtracks and Tv's Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes from "Dragnet" to "Friends", still available through www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.com and other on-line retailers and good bookshops everywhere!!

Geoff

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News

PIA website

Have a look at our old "Play It Again" label website here.

Play It Again Records CD catalogue offered the discerning listener a wide choice of digitally re-mastered recordings from film and television, and rare collections of work from the likes of Don Black and Ron Grainer.

Contact the JB site

If you wish to send an email, for example with content for the website, please contact Geoff Leonard:

Email
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Location
Bristol, UK

Geoff (owner) and Ruud (webmaster) have been running the John Barry website since June 18, 2001.

This website is not endorsed by the composer's family.
Use of copyrighted materials and logos are for promotional purposes only.

All files on this website are for personal use only and cannot be bought or sold.

 

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John Barry related Events or Concerts


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 The Music of Bond RPO 11 April 2017

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra presents
The Music of Bond
Tuesday 11 April 2017
Doors: 6:45pm
Starts: 7:30pm

Website

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall to perform The Music of Bond, following its sensational sell-out performance in October 2015.

Presented by A View to a Kill’s ‘Bond girl’ Fiona Fullerton, we celebrate over fifty years of timeless James Bond theme songs with hits from Goldfinger, Casino Royale, From Russia With Love, Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall, Spectre and many more, all sung by outstanding vocalists Alison Jiear and Simon Bowman.

Gareth Hudson conductor
Alison Jiear vocalist
Simon Bowman vocalist
Fiona Fullerton presenter

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


Sheffield City Hall
Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall
James Bond: The Music of 007

from £22.50

Booking Fees May Apply
Friday, 30 Jun 2017
Start Time: 19:30
Doors Open: 19:00

Website

The music that capture a world of pulse-pumping action, glamorous femmes fatales, villainous arch enemies and, of course, unforgettable tunes. With roaring brass, lush orchestrations and sensuous songs, these movies have produced hit after hit all over the world. The list of credits includes the thrumming James Bond theme itself, 'Diamonds are Forever', 'Moonraker', 'Thunderball', 'From Russia with Love', 'Goldfinger', 'For Your Eyes Only', 'Skyfall' and many more.

Smooth as a vodka martini, elegant as a tuxedo and cool as a cucumber sandwich, Stephen Bell, the Hallé's suave, sophisticated maestro leads the world-renowned Hallé Orchestra as they celebrate the ultimate British hero – James Bond. Immerse yourself in the spine-tingling sounds that gave musical voice to the films in catchy title sequences and haunting songs performed here by star vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

An evening packed with some of cinema's most iconic themes, come dressed as your favourite Bond character, knock back a Vodka Martini and be prepared to be shaken and stirred!

Tickets for The Music of James Bond with The Hallé' (subject to booking fees) at Sheffield City Hall are available online at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk through the ticket hotline on 0114 2 789 789 and in person at the Sheffield City Hall Box Office.


A lot more James Bond concerts collected on the link below, I have put them all in this news item. So check it out from there!

http://www.moviesinconcert.nl/index.php?page=concertlist


31 Mar 2017

   Germany   Nürnberg A Night with James Bond (Jagd auf James Bond)

31 Mar 2017

 31 Mar 2017  USA Texas Fort Worth 007: The Music of James Bond
01 Apr 2017  USA Texas Fort Worth 007: The Music of James Bond

01 Apr 2017

   Germany   Stuttgart A Night with James Bond (Jagd auf James Bond)

02 Apr 2017

   USA Texas Fort Worth 007: The Music of James Bond

 02 Apr 2017

   United Kingdom   Leeds

Shaken & Stirred: The Music of James Bond

Shaken & Stirred: The Music of James Bond

02 April 2017

Tickets: £30, £27, £24, £19, £14, £10 (discounts available).

Website

Featuring Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Skyfall.

Leeds Town Hall

Concert begins at 4pm

Orchestra of Opera North
Gareth Hudson - conductor
Mary Carewe - voice
Simon Bowman - voice

The ultimate Bond concert with excerpts from all 24 films from Dr No to Spectre. With classic songs made famous by great artists such as Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Matt Monro, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Tina Turner, Adele, Sam Smith and more, this evening is dedicated to the world’s most famous spy.

Led by Gareth Hudson and joined by two of the leading vocal artists of the Bond repertoire, Mary Carewe and Simon Bowman, from the moment the Orchestra of Opera North strike up the iconic James Bond Theme you will realise that Nobody does it better as you’re immersed in an evening of classic Bond music which will leave you shaken AND stirred. 

Channel your inner spy or become a Bond-girl for the evening as we encourage bookers to dress to impress.

Norman/Raine - James Bond theme
Barry/Raine - Thunderball
Barry/Raine - Goldfinger
Barry/Raine - You only live twice
Barry/Raine - From Russia With Love: Title Song
Barry/Raine - Moonraker
Barry/Raine - Diamonds Are Forever
David & Bacharach/Raine - Casino Royale
Hamlisch/Raine - The Spy Who Loved Me: Nobody Does It Better
Barry/Raine - The Man With The Golden Gun: Title Song
Barry/Raine - On Her Majesty's Secret Service: We Have All The Time In The World
Barry/Raine - Suite: A View to a Kill
Walden & Cohen/Raine Licence to Kill: Title Song

Interval

Barry/Raine - A View to a Kill
Conti/Raine - For Your Eyes Only
Barry/Raine - Octopussy: All Time High
Barry & Waaktaar/Raine - The Living Daylights: Title Song
Bono & The Edge/Raine - Goldeneye
Arnold & Black/Raine - Tomorrow Never Dies: Surrender
Arnold - Die Another Day: Welcome to Cuba
Arnold & Black/Raine -The World Is Not Enough: Title Song
Cornell & Arnold/Raine Casino Royale: You Know My Name
White/Raine Quantum Of Solace: Another Way To Die
McCartney/Raine - Live And Let Die: Title Song
Atkins & Epworth/Raine - Skyfall
Smith/Raine - Spectre: Writing’s on the Wall


 08 Apr 2017

   United Kingdom   Belfast Goldfinger! The Best of James Bond

08 April 2017
Belfast
(United Kingdom)         
Goldfinger! The Best of James Bond
Ulster Orchestra conducted by Stephen Bell - Ulster Hall

Website

Program Info:
An explosive evening of the very best themes from the James Bond series. Stephen Bell will be the man with the golden baton, leading the Ulster Orchestra through classics from across the decades, from early films such as Goldfinger, right through to the present day and hits such as the Oscar-winning theme to Skyfall. Favourites such as Live and Let Die, Diamonds are Forever and Licence to Kill will leave you shaken and stirred at this fabulous concert!


External links:
Details & tickets


 11 Apr 2017

   United Kingdom   London The Music of Bond

13 Apr 2017

13 Apr 2017  USA Mississippi Kansas City Bond and beyond: 50 years of 007
14 Apr 2017  USA Mississippi Kansas City Bond and beyond: 50 years of 007
15 Apr 2017  USA Mississippi Kansas City Bond and beyond: 50 years of 007

  30 Jun 2017

   United Kingdom   Sheffield James Bond: The Music of 007

*

James Bond Spectacular
August 18, 2017
Time: 19:30

The Harlington Theatre
236 Fleet Road
Fleet
Hants
GU51 4BY

Website

Back by popular demand, popular Q The Music Show is coming back to The Harlington, Fleet bringing their fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert. This show has been a huge success at other theatres with its energetic and exciting performance by some of the UK’s leading musicians.

Featuring all the songs from the 007 movies, you can hear the greats like Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall, Thunderball, Live And Let Die, Goldeneye and Licence To Kill amongst all the others. With top musicians, dancers, and an informative and highly amusing compere, this show as everything you could want for a fabulous night out – and one that you will be talking about for years to come.

Formed in 2004, Q The Music Show have established a worldwide reputation for their authentic covers, orchestral sound and fabulous hair-raising vocalists. The show has been popular abroad at events in Monte Carlo, Germany, Italy, Guernsey, Prague and many others.

Don’t miss this superb evening as…Nobody Does It Better!


*

James Bond Spectacular
August 20, 2017
Time: 19:30

Buxton Opera House,
Water Street
Buxton
Derbyshire SK17 6XN

Website

The popular Q The Music Show brings its James Bond Concert Spectacular to Buxton Opera House. The 13-piece band will be bringing the fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert. This show has been a huge success all around the world with its energetic and exciting performance by some of the UK’s leading musicians.

Featuring all the songs from the 007 movies, you can hear the greats like Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall, Thunderball, Live And Let Die, Goldeneye and Licence To Kill amongst all the others. With top musicians and an informative and highly amusing compere, this show as everything you could want for a fabulous night out – and one that you will be talking about for years to come.

Formed in 2004, Q The Music Show have established a worldwide reputation for their authentic covers, orchestral sound and fabulous hair-raising vocalists. The show has been popular abroad at events in Monte Carlo, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Guernsey, Prague and many others.


19 Nov 2017

   Canada   Thunder Bay Shaken Not Stirred – The Music of James Bond

*

James Bond Spectacular
December 1, 2017
Time: 19:30

Camberley Theatre,
Knoll Road,
Camberley,
Surrey, GU15 3SY,
GB

Website

The popular James Bond Concert Spectacular by Q The Music Show is coming to Camberley Theatre. They will be bringing the fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert.  This show has been a huge success all around the World with its energetic and exciting performance by some of the UK’s leading musicians.
 
Featuring all the songs from the 007 movies...