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John Barry remembered

Peter Stanhope
February 3, 2011

 You may not know the man, but you will almost certainly know his music.

John Barry OBE, a Honorary Freeman of York, is being remembered worldwide following his recent death at 77 yrs.

I feel very fortunate in that I did meet the man, when both of us were quite young, and I have adored his music from so many award winning films.

I came to first know John Barry Prendergast when I used to hang around back-stage at the Rialto cinema in York in the late 1950's during Sunday concerts on the stage. These shows starred some of the biggest names in music at that time, from jazz to skiffle, from big bands to individual singers. Lonnie Donegan, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Chris Barber, Dickie Valentine, Sarah Vaughan and, yes, even the Beatles - all performed on the stage at the Rialto.

Back-stage Barry (as we called him) used to regale the arriving audience with his favourite music played over the PA system from a turntable with LP's behind the stage curtains. His favourites were Stan Kenton - then a major American big-band - as he had studied through a correspondence course with Bill Russo, a trombonist with this band.

I was there taking photographs of all the stars for my own interest and personal collection. As a late teenager I had the run of the whole cinema, by kind permission of Barry's father, Jack Xavier Prendergast who owned it. I met and photographed all those greats and had a wonderful time most Sunday evenings.

At a time in the late 50's Barry decided to start his own rock band - the John Barry Seven - and his father asked me if I would take some photos of them for 'front of house' pictures. So I was the first person to photograph the John Barry Seven before they went on to success and other London photographers.

Over the years, as history tells, the John Barry Seven gave way to John Barry the movie composer after having first been asked to 'rework' Monty Normans original James Bond theme tune. That lead to other film music being scored for a whole series of Bond movies and then many other Hollywood and British block-busters including Born Free, Dances with Wolves, Out of Africa, Chaplin and many more. Wonderful music - almost classical, symphonic in its own way.

At the beginning of the new Millennium I got to meet up with Barry again, here in York. I had nominated him for the Honorary Freedom of the City of York. After doing battle with the City Fathers of the day (they were a lefty bunch back then which did not like 'honours') I eventually got them to bestow the Honorary Freedom of the City on Dr. John Barry OBE at a ceremony held in the Georgian Assembly Rooms. This was in June of 2002 and I and my wife Jean got to meet John again, and his wife Laurie, and had photos taken on that memorable occasion.

It was a great event for a great man and he was clearly humbled by the historic significance of the occasion.

A touch of irony was that the honour was bestowed on him by the Lord Mayor standing on the very same stage that Barry had sat on almost 50 years before as a young trumpeter playing in the dance band which used to play at the Assembly Rooms every Saturday - and that was where I had first asked Jean out to a dance in 1958 !

So the great man is gone but his great music will live on forever. I regard it as being a great honour to have known him, if only briefly, during his lifetime.

If you like John Barrys music I can recommend no better collection than his "Moviola" album which contains many of his most haunting and emotional film themes.

Peter Stanhope

Read 25662 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 14:18
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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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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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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


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

Website

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


James Bond fans are in for a treat in January 2019, as renowned Band, the popular Q The Music Show, are putting on a special concert - performing all the music from Moonraker on

26th January 2019

at the

Wycombe Swan Concert Hall,
High Wycombe,
Berkshire
United Kingdom.

You can back the project and buy tickets here

They are drafting in professional musicians from London to create a 100-piece Orchestra and Choir to recreate all of John Barry’s iconic cues from the 1979 film. As there is only around 50 minutes of music in the film, they will perform the best of the James Bond songs in the second half in true Q The Music style, but with full orchestra.

Because of the nature of this concert, and the huge costs involved, they are crowd funding it, so tickets have to be purchased by 6th May this year for the concert to go ahead on Saturday 26th January 2019.

Q The Music Show are popular with James Bond fans all around the World thanks to their dedicated and authentic versions of the music and were chosen to perform at Sir Roger Moore’s Memorial Event at Pinewood Studios in October last year. The concert will be compered by Bond girls Madeline Smith and Caroline Munro, who have been working with Q The Music this year on their theatre tour of the UK.

The concert will not be available to buy on recording after the show, and the Moonraker score has never been performed live, so this is a unique opportunity for fans to see it. If the project is a success, Q The Music plan to go on a do a different Barry/Bond score each year.

You can back the project and buy tickets here

*Please note, this is a music only performance – no images or footage from the film will be shown, and Q The Music are not associated with EON, Danjaq LLC, or the James Bond Films in any way.

Warren Ringham
Q The Music Show - James Bond Tribute Band
The London Showband - Party & Covers Band