RIP John Barry, 1933-2011

The words I need to explain the weight of sad that crashed on my face when I clicked on BBC news today, they no longer exist, because I’VE drowned those words. With my scalding tears. After strangling them to bits.

John Barry, Mr John Barry, The great unbelieveably brilliant  (internet be damned I shall hyperbole without restraint; the man deserves it) John Barry’s gone down that final MJ walkway, just with less desperation and a lot more dignity. And, as I found out today, damn near not enough recognition.

‘Who’s John Barry,’ a nearly ex-friend asked me, as innocent as a pet scorpion  after stabbing it’s owner square in the heart.  This nearly ex friend just doesn’t know how lucky she is to be pretty. I was gonna do her like I did them words. Scalding tears, yeh.

Turns out a freak load of people never heard of this dude, most of whom I would still like to call friends, so i’m sticking this song on this blog so you all can go ‘oh yeah, didn’t he do that film with Dustin Hoffman in it?’ Go wiki here

Seriously, he is the greatest British Film composer, bar none. BAR. NONE. My dad owned a video rental store, and back in Nigeria, when I used to stick our stereo next to the TV to record songs from movies I like (Good luck trying to find The Score for You Only Live Twice on the street market)

And I loved James Bond (not as much now). Even when I didn’t know what the shizzle was going on, like in A View to A Kill; try explaining the plot to a six year old without mentioning ‘gadgets.’ Didn’t care tho, cus that was me and James Bond, back then: Plot equals ‘???’ Gadgets equals win.

Come to Londonia, suddenly with purchasing power and some forgotten childhood melodies. I re-discovered John Barry off the sample on Robbie Williams ‘Millenium’ song (‘so THAT’S where he got them violin bits!’ I exclaimed, flinging the CD outta da window).

Turns out he did the score for ALL the James Bond movies right up to Licence to Kill. At the time, for me, this was akin to discovering Naomi Campbell has been actively looking for me! not someone like me! ME! all her life, and is willing to devote herself to being my sex slave. I had a fetish on this guys back catalogue for real, back in the day when Isohunt was a twickle in a pirate’s eye and HMV were charging eleven pounds a pop.

I have moved on since then, but I digress.

Highly recommended are the numerous ‘Best of John Barry’ collections available, most featuring all of his theme songs in one sweet hit. (Avoid the four disc set. It’s  by the London Philharmonic and blander then ITV’s spring programme schedule).

Seriously, he did for James Bond what John Williams did for Star Wars: give a B-movie some class A grandness. You simply cannot say ‘Great James Bond theme Song’ without taking about this man. James Bond theme songs haven’t been any pap since he stopped doing em, fact.

And even if you discount all the decent James Bond films, and Ipress File, and Persuaders, and Hook (okay forget that one) and Out of Africa, and Black Hole, and ‘Midnight Cowboy’ (below) and just left his beat music from the sixties you’d still have a formidable composer on your hands. Jesus, from the roar of horn at the start of the ‘Goldfinger’ theme to the sweet feeling of spring when the strings and wind instruments tango on ‘The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair.’

I’m sticking on Mindnight Cowboy here, because It’s my favourite, and still the only true justification for harmonicas, ever. Please please spotify him or summat, the man deserves all ther recognition he can get. RIP, sniffle.


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