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Home Blog Features The Ultimate John Barry Playlist
The Ultimate John Barry Playlist Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 31 January 2011 13:04

Going through my iPod's immense back catalogue of musical amazeballs that eminated from the late John Barry, I couldn't help but compile something to take me through Monday. What it proves beyond any doubt is this: it is impossible to create a bad playlist from John Barry's music. IMPOSSIBLE.

I have certain favourites (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and can probably sing most of Goldfinger's score off by heart, but almost everything he turned his hand to was pure class. Creating iconic TV themes like The Persuaders was one thing, but Barry's brilliance was in his instrumentation; the doo-da-DA-doo-DA of The Ipcress File's cimbalom is the coolest thing to ever come out of Hungary, and offers a wonderful contrast to the lush strings that typified some of his more well-known themes like You Only Live Twice.

As a conductor, composer and skilled trumpeter, he nailed dynamics and chord progressions, and applied both to swing, pop, rock n roll, and massive orchestras. Listen to the contrapuntal rhythms running through From Russia with Love's The Golden Horn. No wonder he arranged Monty Norman's basic Bond theme into a symphonic masterpiece.

A rival to Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini and Lalo Schifrin, John Barry was influential (see Hans Zimmer's Inception), timeless, and from Yorkshire. What more could you want from a king of orchestration?


Click here to have John Barry serenade your eardrums


  • from russia with love
  • john barry
  • monty norman
  • playlist
  • the ipcress file
  • the persuaders

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