R.I.P. John Barry: Appreciating the Composer's Widespread Legacy
|Good evening, Mr. Bond|
British composer John Barry has died at age 77 of a heart attack, leaving behind three ex-wives and a widow, four Grammys, a few Oscars, an Order of the British Empire, and -- most importantly -- a wealth of lush, evocative film scores. You'd surely recognize his work from the Bond theme, but perhaps you have also seen Out of Africa? Or Body Heat? Or Peggy Sue Got Married? (Or the end of the Simpsons "Whacking Day" episode, where the theme from Born Free plays as the snakes slither into the sunset?) Or, perhaps more likely, you have listened to a pop song that samples some of Barry's work?
Another memorable poaching: Mono's "Life In Mono," the modishly moody single from the Great Expectations soundtrack, wraps itself around the title theme from the Michael Caine thriller The IPCRESS File.
You get the idea. And if you think about it, this is a pretty neat kind of success for a composer: to be outlived by your sounds, embedded so deep in all kinds of places that even if your name is eventually forgotten your fingerprints will never be completely erased from the culture.
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