Monday, 16 March 2015

Question: What links Kevin Costner, James Bond and the Fairhurst Building?

Tom Grady knows...

Answer: John Barry the film score composer, of course. 

Photo: Classic Bond with Gadget Briefcase by Andrew Becraft.
Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence.
You may have noticed that the Library's collection of DVDs and CDs has a sign above the door, reading: "The John Barry Audiovisual Collection."

This is to recognise the achievement of a former York resident who went to school at St Peters and whose family home on Fulford Road is now the Pavilion Hotel (though in later years he lived in New York).

John Barry was an Oscar-winning composer perhaps best-known for his work on eleven James Bond films, from Dr No to The Living Daylights. He also wrote the music for Kevin Costner's horse-opera Dances With Wolves. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University in 2001, made an Honorary Freeman of York a year later and given an Academy Fellowship at the BAFTAs in 2005 for his lifetime contribution to cinema.

Most people could instantly recognise the 007 theme tune but not everyone knows Barry's involvement in its turbulent history. The theme was performed by the John Barry Seven and the John Barry Orchestra but law courts have twice ruled that, despite some stories to the contrary, the tune itself was written by Monty Norman, the successful singer and composer.

Over the course of a starry career John Barry won five Oscars and four Grammys. He died in January 2011.

(Little-known fact: according to the York Press, the great composer "kept pigs at his home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, just as [his] family did in Fulford.")

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