John Barry (1933-2011)
Published on: Jan 31, 2011 8:32:52 AM CST
ScoreKeeper here with the worst kind of news. Legendary film composer John Barry passed away late last night at the age of 77. You don’t have to be a passionate pursuer of film music or an avid soundtrack collector to have been blessed by Barry’s musical gifts. He transcended niches and touched the lives of practically every movie lover around the world.
Although he’ll be most remembered for composing scores for eleven James Bond films, DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990), THE BLACK HOLE (1979), A LION IN WINTER (1968), CHAPLIN (1992), OUT OF AFRICA (1985), BODY HEAT (1981), and countless others, one of my personal favorites is a slightly lesser-known work entitled MY LIFE (1993) starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman.
There was something about Barry’s score for MY LIFE that struck me in a profound way. The film deals with the incredibly difficult subject of celebrating life even while starring in the face of death. Keaton’s character develops an inoperable brain tumor and is given a few months to live. His sole goal becomes to live long enough to see the birth of his child. While he struggles to heal his body, he discovers the importance of healing his spirit.
I can’t imagine a more difficult subject of which to compose music. Barry’s impeccable score for MY LIFE unleashes the unimaginable sadness of death paired harmoniously with a joyous celebration of life.
I can’t think of a score more appropriate…
Rest in peace, Mr. Barry. You will be missed.