Monty Norman, Composer Of The James Bond Theme, Has Died At The Age Of 94
Monty Norman, a British composer who wrote the theme song for the James Bond movies, has died. He was 94.
“It is with sadness that we share the news that Monty Norman died on July 11, 2022, after a short illness,” said a statement posted on Norman’s official website on Monday.
Norman was born Monty Noserovitch in the East End of London in 1928. When he was 16, he got his first guitar. Before he wrote songs for early British rockers Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele, he played with big bands and did a variety act with comedian Benny Hill. He also wrote music for stage musicals like “Make Me an Offer,” “Expresso Bongo,” “Songbook,” and “Poppy.”
Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, who was in charge of making movies, asked Norman to write a theme for the first James Bond movie, “Dr. No,” which came out in 1962.
He used a piece he had written for a planned musical version of “A House for Mr. Biswas” by V.S. Naipaul, but changed the key riff from sitar to electric guitar. The result is a sound that is twangy, driving, and scary, and it has been used in all 25 James Bond thrillers.
Producers hired composer John Barry to change the theme, and most people thought that Barry had written it, which made Norman sad. Barry, who died in 2011, went on to write music for almost a dozen Bond movies, including “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Twice.”
Norman went to court to prove he was the author. He sued the Sunday Times for libel because a 1997 article said Barry wrote the theme. In 2001, he won the case and was given damages of 30,000 pounds.
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