"Play it again, Sam..." - The John Barry Appreciation Thread

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  • SatoriousSatorious Brushing up on a little Danish
    Posts: 231
    Thank you for posting this, especially today of all days! I can't believe after all this time I've actually never watched this documentary before (even though I've John conduct the main Moviola theme in this with the English Chamber Orchestra during one of his concerts in the late 90's). I found this utterly compelling as someone who has both composed and directed films and also because John Barry is my favourite composer.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,619
    You're welcomed @Satorious. I can't really speak to the date for the TV special, but my "Moviola" CDs have a copyright date of 1992 and 1995 (volume 2). So 1993 sounds about right.

    I've been watching some Barry videos on You Tube today, and I'll post this one from "Midnight Cowboy." This one always brings tears to my eyes.

  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 3,104
    The 00 Files podcast has put together a lengthy look at John Barry's early years, part 1 of...several?



    (Full disclosure: Don Zuiderman asked me to record some extracts from Barry's biography Hit And Miss for this one, so you get to hear my dulcet tones.)
  • edited January 2021 Posts: 17,272
    mattjoes wrote: »
    I'm glad I introduced you to it, @Torgeirtrap (it's been a while since we talked!)

    This is another great piece from the same album.



    IIRC, someone over at the Film Score Monthly forums pointed out it's an unusual one for Barry, in the sense that it seems to lack a "main" melody, that is, one made up from the long phrases that are customary for him. In this case, the violin phrase introduced at the beginning is repeated over and over again, with little variation, with only the mandolins adding some more melodic complexity. It seems to me this is a common approach from Barry for scoring certain types of scenes in films, but it's kind of unusual for an album-only piece.

    Still, very soothing and beautiful.

    Very soothing indeed (and sorry about the late reply)!

    When listening to this one, I couldn't help but think of Dusk at Piz Gloria, although this one is much more upbeat of course. Interesting point about the lack a "main" melody, though some melodies, like this one, is just as effective in its simplicity and repetitiveness.
  • Posts: 1,469
    Agent_99 wrote: »
    The 00 Files podcast has put together a lengthy look at John Barry's early years, part 1 of...several?



    (Full disclosure: Don Zuiderman asked me to record some extracts from Barry's biography Hit And Miss for this one, so you get to hear my dulcet tones.)
    Thanks for posting, @Agent_99. That's a good podcast. You have a great voice. I'm in the voice business too...radio work.

    Inspired by the Music Score Ranking Game, I was interested in hearing John Barry talk about his music, so here he is in his own words on a few things.

    (Interviewer): Now why are minor keys so essential in these Bond themes?

    BARRY: I guess minor keys are essential in my life. I love writing in minor keys. I adore them. They are just emotionally more fruitful. There's a certain -- I don't know -- there's a certain sense of tragedy. Although you're plane hokey, if you had to do James Bond in major keys it would sound like Mickey Mouse cartoon music. It really would. It's because you play it in the minor key that it gives it a weight and a power, you know, you listen to Shostakovich you listen to Prokofiev. I mean, it's all this minor -- I'm very very influenced -- I mean, my greatest loves are the Russians composer's: Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky. The Russians have a way with the minor key that no other people have. And I -- if anybody says what's the biggest influence in your life, as much as I love Beethoven and a million other things, it's that Russian attitude to be able to deal with a minor key.

    (Interviewer): This is good because Bond was always fighting the Russians.

    BARRY: Yeah, that wasn't a part of the thing. It just happened to work out well in that...But it gives it size. It gives it more sense of drama. If you had tried to score Bond movies in major keys, when you think about it, it would have been absolutely disastrous.
    (Interviewer): So you must have had fun doing this. I mean, it's very silly and very fun.

    BARRY: Yeah, talk about a license to kill. It's a license to write silly and just have great fun. That was the whole joy of these movies. This was not "Citizen Kane." It was just this fun comic strip. So you could get away with murder. If this had been a one off -- some guy made a movie called "Thunderball" and it hadn't the cachet that was growing up around the whole thing, we would have been thrown out of the studio. It was the whole -- the whole thing just -- we were launched. And we could do anything really silly. That was the freedom of it. And why I left ultimately was because it stopped being wonderful and silly. It started to be formula. And that's when the fun went out of it. And once the fun goes out of it, well there's really no point.
    I mean, the James Bond thing (theme) was a peculiar mixture of that low rock guitar figure, if you like, and the brass sound was like the Kenton band. And then the bridge, "da da dop de dop doo de doo lee da de da," is almost like a Dizzy Gillespie be-bop phrase, you know. So it was this kind of hybrid of all these kind of things that I was involved with at the time. And I must say I didn't give it too much thought. I didn't have too much time to give it a lot of thought. And it just came out like it did, you know. I didn't sit down and intellectualize about it, and I've never read a James Bond book. I'd only seen like a cartoon strip that they used to have in the "Daily Mail" in England. So I knew it was about a spy. I knew roughly what the essence was, but I never saw the movie. I just wrote the damn thing, you know.

    These first three sections are from
    https://freshairarchive.org/segments/composer-john-barry
    It was a mix of all kinds of things...jazz, classics, pop. I just found myself doing it—I looked at it and said, 'That’s working.' That became the Bond style...If you had a car chase, the damned car was right in your face; even the fistfights were noisy, so you had to come up with an orchestrational palette that would cut through all that. Big strong brass chords, sustained strings to retain the tension, and percussion, of course. It was the only thing that worked. You couldn’t put soft violins in there. It was an overall mood, all minor keys, very sinister. It was distinctive, and it really set the tone for those Bond movies.
    https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2012/11/08/james-bond-music
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    edited July 2021 Posts: 6,716
    La La Land Records is releasing an expanded album of the Somewhere in Time soundtrack.

    216833540_10160056613483755_2890476299286518256_n.jpg?_nc_cat=109&ccb=1-3&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=dlcLwTsACm8AX9f4mYk&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-1.xx&oh=dee1638a70a24797d2c501337e75654b&oe=60F2BD04

    Samples here:

    https://lalalandrecords.com/somewhere-in-time-limited-edition/
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    John Barry passed away 11 years ago today. Here's one piece of music for each decade of his music career.

    THE 50'S:



    THE 60'S:



    THE 70'S:



    THE 80'S:



    THE 90'S:



    THE 00'S:
  • zebrafishzebrafish <°)))< in Octopussy's garden in the shade
    Posts: 4,312
    Excellent choices @mattjoes !
    I specifically like the Latin version of Hideaway, what a gem. And then the USA Today theme, never heard that one, very beautiful (is that on any recording?).
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    Glad you enjoyed it @zebrafish.

    The USA Today Theme has never had an official release, but all its variations were included on a bootleg album together with the score for the 1986 film A Killing Affair (a.k.a. My Sister's Keeper). It's the first album listed on this page:

    https://www.soundtrackcollector.com/title/30621/Killing+Affair,+A


    Incidentally, A Killing Affair has a lovely score as well:




    Or, in higher quality (a re-recording):

  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    I don't only do music transcripts to get around SFX. I often do them just for the fun of it. Here's a MIDI file of The Story Begins, a track from the soundtrack of Mercury Rising. You might enjoy listening to it. I happen to enjoy both the real orchestra sound and the more basic sound of a MIDI soundfont. It's like a painting vs. a sketch.

    The original:


    The MIDI:
    https://mega.nz/file/4UpTDbbR#3hGkyVkNVjhY8dND_KZ-p0vjvAYkMC8Ybbv00TayR8s
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    How about this?

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,527
    I love this score. I listen to it a lot while reading Clarke or Asimov.
  • SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷ Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria
    edited September 2022 Posts: 1,363
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I love this score. I listen to it a lot while reading Clarke or Asimov.

    Me too. I love it. Its repetitive style makes it infectious.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,527
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I love this score. I listen to it a lot while reading Clarke or Asimov.

    Me too. I love it. Its repetitive style makes it infectious.

    There is an apt sadness and otherworldliness to it that I find very special indeed. To me, Barry was at his strongest in the days of King Kong, The Black Hole and Moonraker.
  • SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷ Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria
    Posts: 1,363
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I love this score. I listen to it a lot while reading Clarke or Asimov.

    Me too. I love it. Its repetitive style makes it infectious.

    There is an apt sadness and otherworldliness to it that I find very special indeed. To me, Barry was at his strongest in the days of King Kong, The Black Hole and Moonraker.

    Yes. Very celestial-sounding scores.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    The Black Hole is a really cool score. Among Barry's works it seems to have a lot of fans.

    Rich Douglas did a good job recreating those tracks.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    From Quartet Records:
    We are very excited to announce that Quartet Records is again undertaking to record previously unavailable scores! Next month, October 2022, we will record several unreleased scores by JOHN BARRY with the prestigious City of Cordoba Orchestra under the baton of Fernando Velázquez.
    The program will include four complete scores, including one of his early masterpieces: SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON, as well as the TV trilogy starring Katherine Hepburn: THE CORN IS GREEN, LOVE AMONG THE RUINS and THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Stunning!
    Leigh Phillips has painstakingly reconstructed the scores and orchestration and prepared the orchestral parts. He will also attend the recording in a supervisory role. Authoritative Barry expert Jon Burlingame will write the liner notes and supervise the album. Marc Blanes will record the sessions and Chris Malone will mix and master the album. Nacho B. Govantes will design the package. Our loyal collaborators Frank K. DeWald and Edouard Dubois will also be artistically involved in the project.
    We're very happy to be able to carry out this project, which will be released in 2023.

    A Séance on a Wet Afternoon re-recording? I was going to sit here at the cable car controls, but now I'm gonna have to run to get that album! Wonderful score!

    zlhVwRb.gif
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,619
    Not specifically about John Barry, but this interview with Don Black is very interesting.
    https://www.bfi.org.uk/interviews/man-with-golden-lyrics-bond-songwriter-don-black
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    Dwayne wrote: »
    Not specifically about John Barry, but this interview with Don Black is very interesting.
    https://www.bfi.org.uk/interviews/man-with-golden-lyrics-bond-songwriter-don-black

    Agreed. Thanks for sharing, @Dwayne.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Born on the bayou. I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'.
    edited February 2023 Posts: 8,677
    Dwayne wrote: »
    Not specifically about John Barry, but this interview with Don Black is very interesting.
    https://www.bfi.org.uk/interviews/man-with-golden-lyrics-bond-songwriter-don-black

    This is a really, really belated answer because I hadn't read the latest postings on this last autumn, but Don Black is certainly right here:

    "You had a break of 23 years till the song ‘Surrender’ for Tomorrow Never Dies. In your book you say you were “disappointed” it was on the end credits and not the main title. Was that a diplomatic understatement or are you just battle-hardened to how the industry is?

    If you can’t take rejection, you’re in the wrong business. It’s no good getting too upset. However, I personally feel, and I know David Arnold and a lot of people in the Bond world felt, that this is the best Bond song ever written. And k.d. lang was so great on it. It was a shame, because the end titles don’t get as much visibility, but hey, it’s one of those things."

    I think he's pretty much on the spot here. Relegating k.d. lang's "Tomorrow Never Dies" aka "Surrender" to the end credits was one of the worst decisions in terms of Bond themes in the last thirty years. For me, it epitomizes everything that a Bond theme should be about. I don't even mind the Sheryl Crow song, but this was really up there with the best Bond themes ever.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,527
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    Dwayne wrote: »
    Not specifically about John Barry, but this interview with Don Black is very interesting.
    https://www.bfi.org.uk/interviews/man-with-golden-lyrics-bond-songwriter-don-black

    This is a really, really belated answer because I hadn't read the latest postings on this last autumn, but Don Black is certainly right here:

    "You had a break of 23 years till the song ‘Surrender’ for Tomorrow Never Dies. In your book you say you were “disappointed” it was on the end credits and not the main title. Was that a diplomatic understatement or are you just battle-hardened to how the industry is?

    If you can’t take rejection, you’re in the wrong business. It’s no good getting too upset. However, I personally feel, and I know David Arnold and a lot of people in the Bond world felt, that this is the best Bond song ever written. And k.d. lang was so great on it. It was a shame, because the end titles don’t get as much visibility, but hey, it’s one of those things."

    I think he's pretty much on the spot here. Relegating k.d. lang's "Tomorrow Never Dies" aka "Surrender" to the end credits was one of the worst decisions in terms of Bond themes in the last thirty years. For me, it epitomizes everything that a Bond theme should be about. I don't even mind the Sheryl Crow song, but this was really up there with the best Bond themes ever.

    I love the song but I have heard people complain about it being just too loud and too bombastic. Also, I know that not everyone appreciates Arnold's lead theme that is everywhere in the score. Still, Surrender is by far the better song for me. I would have switched both songs if I could.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 14,930
    It's a touch too pastiche-y for me. I prefer the songs to bring something new, but it is very hummable.
  • talos7talos7 New Orleans
    Posts: 7,961
    I’ve never understood the love for “Surrender “; it’s good but unremarkable. I actually like the title song quite a bit but think it would have benefited from a stronger vocal. Whitney Houston or Ann Wilson (Heart) could have made it a classic.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited February 2023 Posts: 14,930
    I think the production doesn't help either to be honest. With some big strings giving it some welly and some trumpet parps like Surrender has it'd be equally Bondy, but it never quite takes off, and I think the lone guitar twanging makes it feel a bit sparse. Imagine that guitar line being played by a huge string section. Even put the Bond vamp under the 'until you say there'll be no more goodbyes' bit.
    It's a more interesting and original song than Surrender anyway. And as for 'tease and tantalise'... :))
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Born on the bayou. I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'.
    Posts: 8,677
    Well, I don't necessarily share the feeling that it is the best Bond song ever written, but it is in the top three or at worst the top 5 for me. Better, at the very least, than every other Bond song since TND (the movie). But hey, there's no accounting for taste, and there are even some people who like Madonna's DAD disaster.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    This piece of music is crazy. Quickly became one of my absolute favorites from John Barry. The reverb is otherwordly.

  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 14,930
    Wow, great: thank you. One thing I love about Barry is that he scored so much stuff that there's always something new I haven't heard before!
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited May 2023 Posts: 3,389
    John Barry's score from the Vendetta



    Edit: Excellent, just an excellent piece, it's now one of my favorites! Along with the Persuaders theme and OHMSS.

    Wow! Barry what a man you've done here in Vendetta!

    I would also add this: The Danny Scipio theme from the 'Vendetta' by Barry



    How awesome are these works, it's a shame, the TV series of this was now lost.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Kicking: Impossible
    Posts: 6,716
    I love those two themes. I have a hard time deciding which one I enjoy best.

    I understand most of the episodes of this show are lost.
  • FeyadorFeyador Montreal, Canada
    edited August 2023 Posts: 735
    The Hammett soundtrack has very recently appeared on Spotify. Had never heard it before, and wow, gotta say I love it in all its characteristically Barry, neo-noir majesty ....
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