Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My connection to John Barry, 1933-2011


Composer John Barry died this week at the age of 77. He was famous for his film scores, notably several James Bond films as well as Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves, and unlike some film score masters, he could also write pop tunes. My blog buddy Abu Scooter has a nice tribute. Actor Alec Baldwin put up a good essay on the Huffington Post.

For me, I started teaching myself piano many years ago. The first tune I remember figuring out all the chords and changes for was the theme from Born Free, one of Barry's great pop tunes. I played it over and over again until I felt I got it right, playing the melody with my right hand in octaves and breaking the chords into simple arpeggios with my left. No one was in the piano room with me, but it could be heard all over the house. When I got up and went to the kitchen, my mom asked why Chris, one of my older brother's musical friends and a much better pianist than I was, was playing Born Free over and over. I told her it was me, I had just learned it. I still remember feeling proud about the comparison.

Best wishes to the family and friends of John Barry, from a fan.

3 comments:

Padre Mickey said...

Boooorrrnnn Free! 'cuz yer father's a doctorrr....

Abu Scooter said...

Thanks for the kind words, Matty.

dguzman said...

Nice tribute, Matty. I too was a big fan of Barry; I used to play his soundtrack to the Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour flick Somewhere in Time. Beautiful stuff, including a great rendition of Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini."