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Hit and Miss: The Story of The John Barry Seven

Barry Seven Book cover idea

In a few months time, our book "Hit and Miss: The Story of The John Barry Seven" will be published. Thoroughly and painstakingly researched over a number of years, it will feature contributions from several ex-members of the band and from friends and relatives of John Barry.

Comprising of around 350 pages, it will also be packed with an array of rare photos of the band, and the singers they often supported, as well as some unique images of memorabilia and documentation from that era; some never previously published, many more seldom seen.

Even if you are not necessarily a devotee of The John Barry Seven per se, the book offers a fascinating historical insight into the British music scene of the period and, more importantly, provides an essential read for anybody remotely interested in discovering more about John Barry's formative career.

It will be of great assistance to the authors if you would indicate an interest in purchasing a copy of the book *now*, without obligation. We will then be able to notify you as soon as the book is available with details of cost and how to order and pay.

Just send us an email message and we will be in touch in due course. Visit our dedicated web page here!

Obviously your personal details will be kept secure and not shared with anybody else.

Who Played Trumpet on the Bond scores 1962-1974?

Thursday, 26 January 2017 14:54
You Only Live twice - John Barry giving notes
You Only Live twice - John Barry giving notes

Volker Rippe kindly drew my attention to a recent correction made to Derek Watkins' Wikipedia profile as concerns his James Bond music career and the corresponding "Talk" to explain or justify the correction.

Whereas I believe the person concerned is correct to say that Derek did not play on the early Bonds (despite his boast of playing on all of them up until Skyfall), the explanation that the same four trumpeters -- Stan Roderick, Tony Fisher, Greg Bowen and Eddie Blair played on all the films from Dr. No to The Man with the Golden Gun -- is just as unlikely.

For a start, there is the photographic evidence from You Only Live Twice in which only Greg Bowen appears. Leon Calvert (a favourite player of Barry’s) and Ray Davies are also present on these sessions. Then there's the claim from several other well-known players that they played on some early Bond sessions.

One of these, Ron Simmons, told me he played on a couple of the early Bonds, and I found his story very convincing. Here it is:

A member of the West Side Story string section was violinist Sid Margo, who booked me one day for a film session. When I got into the studio the first guy I saw was a young trumpet player called John Barry.

My first thought was — what the hell is he doing here? He was a reasonable player, and ran his own small combo, but I couldn't imagine that he was going to sit with us in the trumpet section.

I'd known John Barry Prendergast for a long time. His dad owned a theatre in York which we used to visit quite often. Every time we went up there Jack Parnell called a rehearsal, something that we hated after the long bus ride, and we had to run through some of John's arrangements.

This we did grimly, handing them back afterwards without comment. They were generally lengthy and pretty boring.

Bill Russo told me later on that he vaguely remembered John begging him for a correspondence course in arranging, and sending him lengthy scores from time to time which he corrected and returned.

To my surprise he now mounted the podium and conducted the orchestra. It was music for the very first James Bond film, Dr. No.

There were four trumpets on this first session, as far as I remember: Bobby Pratt, Albert Hall, Freddy Clayton and myself. I was booked by Sid Margo on first trumpet. What neither he, nor John Barry, knew at the time was that poor Bobby Pratt was, by then, well into the alcoholic problems he'd been having for several years. During this period I'd had to dash into the Aeolian Hall, Bond Street studios many times at the last minute to replace him on a broadcast with Ted Heath and eventually joined Ted permanently in his place. He was still being booked on sessions in those days, though, and we were telling him not to play, keep his head down and get the money. We were covering for him all over the place.

On this first John Barry session Bob was already well under the influence, and hardly fit to play. He insisted upon doing so, though, and as a result the trumpets did not sound good. Not long afterwards I heard that another session had been scheduled and that I had not been booked on it. To my query on this Sid Margo told me that the trumpets had not been good enough on the first session, and that after we had all left the studio John had found an empty bottle of whisky under my chair. So he told Sid not to book me any more.

When I told Freddy Clayton and Albert about this they immediately told Sid what had really happened. It may not have been deliberate, but it certainly left a nasty taste at the time. At any rate: Bob was taken off the next session and we made the title music again with someone else, possible Frank Thornton, on fourth trumpet. Every time I see a James Bond film, and hear myself on that title music it brings back the sad memories.

I returned from Munich in the summer of 1963 to play on From Russia with Love or Goldfinger - I forget which one it was, this time with Albert Hall and I believe it was with Ronnie Hughes and Stan Reynolds or Bert Courtley on the other trumpets. You must remember that we were doing three sessions a day then, and working with up to a hundred musicians a time. Hard to remember names.

I have always been very pleased at John's outstanding success in the film scoring business. He has written some outstanding music. I'm afraid we didn't have much time for him when he was a boy, bringing his scores for us to try out in his Dad's theatre. He certainly proved us all wrong. Please give him my regards (and apologies) if you see him.

Bobby Pratt’s widow, Tina, says he also played on Goldfinger, and Bert Ezard, another fine trumpeter, is listed elsewhere as playing on the original James Bond Theme, as are the aforementioned Albert Hall & Ray Davies.

We may never know the names of all the very fine musicians who played on the early Bond scores, but writing on Wiki Talk that Stan Roderick, Tony Fisher, Greg Bowen and Eddie Blair were on all of them as though it is a proven fact, is not very helpful, in my opinion.

Geoff Leonard.

Read 1902 times Last modified on Monday, 13 February 2017 12:58
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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:

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Bristol, UK

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

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John Barry related Events or Concerts

Submit your Event or Concert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will not be responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

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!

James Bond Concert Spectacular at Buxton Opera House

Buxton Opera House
Water street,
Buxton, Derbyshire, sk17 6xn

Sun 12 Aug


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 has 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.

The Music of BondThe Music of Bond
Royal Albert Hall
Wednesday 19 September 2018
Starts: 7:30pm


Presented by Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace). Over fifty years of timeless James Bond themes from all your favourite 007 films.

Hits from Goldfinger, Licence to Kill, Casino Royale, Skyfall, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Spectre, From Russia with Love to name just a few, all sung by outstanding vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Gareth Hudson Conductor
Alison Jiear Vocalist
Matthew Ford Vocalist

The Bridgewater Hall - Music of John Barry November 2018

The Music of John Barry

Saturday 10 November 7.30pm
The Bridgewater Hall
Lower Mosley Street
Manchester, M2 3WS


Nicholas Dodd conductor
Andrew Collins presenter
Manchester Camerata

John Barry created some of the most memorable and recognisable film scores of the 20th century, such as Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, Zulu and of course much of the music from the James Bond series; his versatility and originality were peerless. His death in 2011 deprived cinema of a true musical great. This concert pays tribute to his life and music with a carefully selected programme, conducted by Nicholas Dodd, who collaborated closely with the composer on his later films. Nicholas Dodd is regarded as one of the leading conductors and orchestrators of Hollywood film music and is a noted expert on, and performer of John Barry’s music. In fact, every James Bond movie from the last 10 years bears his signature.