‘James Bond’ and ‘Midnight Cowboy’ composer John Barry dies

Composer dies of heart attack aged 77

John Barry, who wrote soundtracks for Born Free, Midnight Cowboy and the James Bond films, has died of a heart attack aged 77.

Born John Barry Prendergast to a cinema-owning family in 1933, the York-born musician first found fame as leader of the John Barry Seven band. He would become renowned for his big strings, orchestral swells and rousing melodies.

His arrangement of Monty Norman‘s James Bond theme led to him composing scores for 11 films in the spy drama series, among them Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice – later sampled by Robbie Williams on his 1998 UK Number One single Millennium.

The composer’s work on the films saw him win five Oscars, while in 2005 he received a BAFTA fellowship. in 1999 Barry was awarded an OBE for his services to music.

Most recently Barry scored war thriller Enigma in 2001. A musical version of Brighton Rock, which he composed in tandem with lyricist Don Black, had its London premiere in 2004.

Many fans heard the news of Barry‘s passing via a tweet sent by fellow Bond composer David Arnold from his Twitter page, Twitter.com/davidarnold.

“It was with a heavy heart that I tell you John Barry passed away this morning,” he wrote.

Blog – David Arnold on the genius of John Barry

Blog – Mark Ronson on John Barry

John Barry’s life in pictures