That is a mouthful for me, a big one, and maybe roughly as big for anyone who loves music or loves movies or loves the intersection between those two.
I remember my first exposure to his music with the advent of James Bond and the movies, “From Russia with Love,” “Goldfinger,” Thunderball,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” and so many others. There was the trip to watch Dino De Laurentiis’s remake of “King Kong” in 1976, and while the opening credits were running, I clearly noticed familiar “chops” in the strings, phrases and usages which I knew I had heard before, and I smiled when I saw Barry’s credit for the musical score flash on the screen. I have never been a great one for “chick-flicks,” but “Somewhere In Time” has been a favorite of mine from the first time I saw it, and the beautiful lyricism of John Barry’s melodies contribute in no small way to my enjoyment of that particular piece of celluloid.
Yet it is probably the Bond films for which I remember him the most. He did so many of them, and his music provided a continuity of sound which sustained the series even through the procession of different actors playing that remarkable secret agent. John Barry may be the first composer for film that I actually noticed, and that I grew in awareness of him and his handiwork may have catalyzed my awareness of other composers, such as Goldsmith, Horner, Zimmer, and multiple members of the Newman family.
My musical world is richer for the work of this man … and I am the poorer for his passing.