Monday, January 31, 2011

John Barry Remembered

Sadly my very first blog of 2011 is due to the death of composer John Barry, who sadly passed away from a heart attack on the 30th of January. Barry's music was a true inspiration to many electronica producers. Paul Hartnoll of Orbital regularly cites Barry as a musical hero.

One of my earliest musical memories was watching Goldfinger on TV for the very first time when I was a child, yes I enjoyed the movie but it was the music that truly blew me away. I had just barely grown out of nursery rhymes but that was the effect Barry's unmistakable and otherworldly emotive themes had on me.

The very first piece of vinyl I owned was "The James Bond 10th anniversary Collection" covering a selection of key points from "Dr No" through to "Diamonds Are Forever" which was a ninth birthday present from my parents, a start to my Barry Obsession and a music obsession in general..

With a massive score writing credit for a diverse range of movies and from working with contemporary greats like Louis Armstrong, Shirley Bassey to mainstream pop acts like A-ha and Duran Duran. Barry was a composer who wasn't afraid to mix things up, from using experimental synth tones on Her Majesty's secret service and combining genres like jazz, country and military in one composition was child's play for Barry.

While most music scored for film only really works within the context of the movie, Barry's music can stand alone Just like any piece of classical,rock or pop and it can act as the soundtrack to the movies in your mind or even your own life.

Barry recently spoke out about his peers In an interview with The Guardian, the four-times Oscar winner said, "[The composers] have nothing to say. They are just messing around with notes. I'm at a loss." He also told The Guardian, "I walk out of the cinema bewildered these days. I think, what was the producer or director thinking of to allow 45 minutes or an hour of music that doesn't mean a damn thing? Today it's very empty.

It is a sad loss for the movie and music world because we all know Barry was a one off, as he pretty much redefined the movie and TV scores through the 1960's, yet he never ran out of appeal or emotive creativity through the years and decades that followed.

I doubt another composer will ever match the thrilling emotive and sexy brilliance of Barry but there is one consolation, I still haven't heard all of his works yet so I have many more wide screen journeys to take with him and many familiar timeless epics I can return to again and again.

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