This was a tough one to write. I was in South Carolina, visiting my dying brother, when word came that John Barry had died of a massive heart attack. I knew the career so well — and we had been friends for over 20 years — that I was able to write it in my hotel room before getting on a plane to head home. Two days later I wrote this appreciation of the man, and five months later I wrote about his memorial concert in London.
Of all the sections I’ve done for Variety on composers over the years, this is one of which I’m most proud: I flew to New York to interview John Barry on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 2008. I had always loved his music and we had become friends over the years. This is the main story, an overview of his life and career with quotes from Roger Moore, Michael Caine and David Arnold; here is a look at his invention of the spy-music genre, featuring an especially articulate Arnold; here are quotes about 10 of his greatest scores; this is a piece featuring some of his collaborators, including Sydney Pollack, Don Black, Bryan Forbes, Anthony Harvey and Barbara Broccoli; and here is a final piece that looks at his theater and TV work.