Song of the Day: John Barry “A Man Alone”
As a kid I loved spy movies and shows. I loved the realistic ones (Three Days of the Condor, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold), I love the over the top ones (any James Bond) and I loved the parodies (Our Man Flint, Get Smart). There was always plenty of suspense, intrigue and of course a killer soundtrack. One of my favorite spy movie composers was the late great John Barry who arranged the original James Bone Theme and wrote eleven Bond themes in all. One of my all time favorite spy movies is The Ipcress File with Michael Caine which was released in 1964. The soundtrack, done by John Barry, is unforgettable, and the track highlighted here is my favorite one in the film. A true classic in the genre!
John Barry was born in York, England in 1933. He was the son of an Irish father and an English mother. His mother worked as a classical pianist while his father was a film projectionist who would become the eventual owner of a chain of cinemas across the northern UK. Clearly, Barry’s upbringing had a strong influence upon him as he swiftly developed a lifelong love of both music and the cinema: interests that he would successfully merge for a long and fruitful career as a film composer. Barry worked not only scoring dozens of films, but also as a composer of his own non-film related music. He also retained a lifelong interest in jazz after studying with jazz composer and trombonist Bill Russo. This led to Barry doing arranging work on a number of jazz and pop albums and incorporating jazz elements into his film scores. Barry is probably best known for his work on the James Bond films (of which he scored the first 12), but he also composed and arranged memorable scores for films such as Born Free, Out of Africa, Dances With Wolves and The Lion in Winter. Sadly, Barry died in 2011 at the age of 77. Among his honors include multiple Grammys, Emmys, a lifetime achievement award from the World Soundtrack Academy and an OBE.