Photo: Ank kumar

James Bond Theme Composer Monty Norman: Dead At 94: Look + Listen

Monty Norman, the British composer who wrote the famous theme for the James Bond films, has died. He was 94.

A statement posted Monday (7.11) on Norman’s official website said: “It is with sadness we share the news that Monty Norman died on 11th July 2022 after a short illness.”

Born Monty Noserovitch to Jewish parents in the East End of London in 1928, Norman got his first guitar when he was 16. Initially performing with big bands and in a variety double act with comedian Benny Hill, Monty subsequently wrote songs for early British rockers Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele and composed for stage musicals including “Make Me an Offer,” “Expresso Bongo,” “Songbook” and “Poppy.”

Norman was hired by producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli to compose a theme for the first James Bond film, “Dr. No,” released in 1962. For inspiration he drew on a piece of music he had written for a proposed musical adaptation of V.S. Naipaul’s “A House for Mr. Biswas,” shifting the key melody line from sitar to electric guitar. The result was the theme song used in all 25 Bond thrillers.

As legend has it, the movie producers hired composer John Barry to rearrange the theme, and Barry was widely assumed to have written it. Barry, who died in 2011, went on to compose scores for almost a dozen Bond films, including “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Twice.” Norman went to court to assert his authorship, suing the Sunday Times newspaper for libel over a 1997 article asserting the theme was composed by Barry. He won in 2001 and was awarded 30,000 pounds in damages.

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Ank kumar