John T. Stanhope

Born in the small northern California town of Oroville and raised on a farm, John grew up loving film and film music -- fantasy & science fiction have always been favorites, with the original Star Trek series and original Star Wars films being huge influences. He wound up going to film school at San Francisco State University, then transferred to and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in film production. After graduation he worked in various aspects of the film industry for several years (his last stint was as Assistant Visual Effects Editor on the 1999 film version of MY FAVORITE MARTIAN) before moving to Colorado Springs, CO. He and his wife currently own a Coffee & Tea house called Pikes Perk (named after Colorado's famous Pikes Peak mountain) and John contributes film-related articles to the Colorado chapter of, the Colorado Springs newspaper insert for YourHub, and Geek Monthly magazine. He also now posts tiny reviews of films (and other things that may strike his fancy) at

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5 responses to “John Barry: A Wordless Poet Dies”

  1. Steve Biodrowski

    I have heard people try to give credit to Barry for the James Bond theme, but I know of know first-hand source to support this. Definitely, the final version owes a lot to Barry’s orchestration, and Monty Norman himself was apparently happy with Barry’s contribution.

    I also want to mention Barry’s excellent 1999 non-soundtrack album, THE BEYONDNESS OF THINGS, which should be on the collection of all his fans. The familiar themes and orchestrations are all there – big, bold, adventurous, and romantic. The only thing missing is the typical fast-paced “chase” music, a la the Bond films.

  2. Steve Biodrowski

    Apparently, courts have twice upheld Norman’s claim that he wrote the Bond theme. I do believe a recording exists (on a 007 compilation CD somewhere) of Norman’s version without Barry’s contribution.

    I think what this comes down to is this: if Norman’s version had been released on its own and become famous, and then Barry had done his, everyone would accept Norman as the composer and Barry as the arranger.

    Think of Deep Purple’s version of “Hey, Joe” or Yes’s version of Paul Simon’s “America,” both of which include long instrumental passages not in the original. Had Yes released their version first, we might all be saying, “Paul Simon didn’t compose that great Steve Howe guitar solo.” Well, no – he didn’t, but he did compose the song itself, and Yes added their stuff later.

    Sometimes, there is a fine line separating “composition” from “arrangement.”

  3. rmdmusic7

    Well, John, thank you for that touching and poignant and very accurate portrayal of one of Hollywood’s (and England’s) greatest film composers of our time. I appreciate your acknowledgement about how Barry’s style was unique and very much his own He never quite sounded like anyone else in his field, yet he was often imitated. Truly, only Barry sounded like Barry, though David Arnold has come very close with his take on 007 music.
    John Barry was probably the first film composer I ever took notice of and collected musically and I am glad to say that today I have almost every recording of his made available and I cherish them all. The 007 music is especially meaningful and thrilling and even groundbreaking, but another genre he he tackled so well was period or historical romance. Just listening to Mary, Queen of Scotts or Lion in Winter or the Last Valley, and I am transported back 400 years or to a different time in European history, He captured the cinematic ambiance of that time brilliantly and with such class. Today’s film composers and filmmakers should pay attention to these scores of Barry’s and others the sixties’ and seventies movies and learn to tone down the music scoring but all the while keep it musical and interesting. Great music will live forever and thus will John Barry.

    Randy Derchan

  4. Sherry

    I loved readinig this because I am also a huge Barry fan! I was sorry to see that he died, but I have loved his music for years. Then one day I got a CD with themes from many movies that he had written – “Midnight Coyboy”, “Hanover Street”,” Indecent Proposad” even “Zulu”. So many! It got to where I would look, if I liked a main theme in a movie, to see if it was one of his – and I was usually right. His music made me cry. I loved his diversity and the tenderness that came through his music! I for one will miss his added dimention to the movies.

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