John Barry (Seven)

  • Real Name: John Barry Prendergast
  • Birth Date: 3rd November 1933
  • Birth Place: York
  • John Barry's early years were heavily influenced by the cinema because his father owned and ran several theatres and cinemas in the North Of England. John began to take music seriously soon after beginning his attendance at St. Peter's public school in York. However, at the age of 15, he began studying music full time at York Minster under the tutelage of Dr. Francis Jackson, one of the foremost musicians in the city.

    Although John Barry's studies had been in classical music and the piano, he soon turned his attention to jazz and added the trumpet to the repertoire of instruments that he could play well. His first professional engagements were with a local band- The Modernaires, but these were punctuated by the call-up and national service. John Barry turned his time in the army into an opportunity to practice music and signed on for three years instead of the normal two in order to assure himself a place as a bandsman. John lost no time during his long spell in Cyprus to form an unofficial army jazzband among his official bandsmen colleagues.

    By the time that John Barry had been demobbed, the sale of 'popular music' on records in the UK had really taken off and 'rock and roll' was just about to happen. Within a few weeks of coming home John had formed his first 'seven' and had the ambition of breaking into the big time borrowing from the style of Bill Haley and The Comets. However, not only was John Barry a fine musician but he also had the drive necessary to get the band noticed. He had the wisdom to bring his group to the attention of the young rock and roll entrepreneur Jack Good who was looking for suitable musicians for his pioneeering TV show 'Six-5 Special'. The 'seven' were initially turned down, because they were too close in sound to Six-5's resident band 'Don Lang And His Frantic Five'. However, within a few months the seven with an improved repertoire got their first appearance on the show. This led to their first chance to record- though their earliest efforts were not of great merit.

    For whatever reason, I have not found the sleeve pictures on John Barry's EPs of great merit. However, this one at least carries a reasonable photograph of the talented musician- but sadly, none of the rest of the band. Two of the numbers on this record are attributed to "The John Barry Seven plus Four", which shows that the trend to a bigger sound was already well under way at the time of its release.

    John Barry soon realised that the older Bill Haley sound was giving way to a new guitar led sound, and he was fortunate to enlist the services of a first rate guitarist in Vic Flick. The group's early singles thus reflect the change from 'brass and sax' to a 'guitar and strings' dominated style. Although the John Barry Seven are rightly associated with superb instrumentals, it was in their role as backing musicians that their greatest break came. The song 'What Do You Want' acquired from young songwriter Johnny Worth, John Barry's musical arrangements and Adam Faith's original rendition proved an irresistible combination. By the end of 1959 the John Barry Seven were at last regarded as an important force in British popular music. This had come through TV appearances, their own original instrumental recordings and finally with a characteristic backing on a UK #1.

    The strong character of the John Barry Seven's music at the time the 1960s began was due to the pizzicato string arrangements. That same formula was used on 'Hit And Miss', a Barry penned tune that was adopted by DJ David Jacobs to replace the previously used signature tune to his famous TV show 'Juke Box Jury'.

    By this time, John Barry had the credibility, the experience and the resources to move on to fulfill his great ambition- that of providing music for the cinema. His list of successes in this field is too long to present here, but the most important included the 'James Bond Theme' which first appeared with 'Dr. No', and themes for 'The Ipcress Files', 'The Knack', 'Born Free', and 'Midnight Cowboy'. John continued to be successful in this field throughout the coming decades and has long been recognised as one of the greatest composers of music for the large screen.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See lower list for EP releases

    Parlophone R4363 1957 Zip Zip/ Three Little Fishes  
    Parlophone R4394 1957 Ev'ry Which Way/ You've Gotta Way  
    Parlophone R4418 1958 Big Guiitar/ Rodeo  
    Parlophone R4453 1958 Pancho/ Hideaway  
    Parlophone R4488 1958 Farrago/ Bee's Knees  
    Parlophone R4530 1959 Long John/ Snap 'n' Whistle  
    Parlophone R4560 1959 Little John/ For Pete's Sake  
    Parlophone R4582 1959 Twelfth Street Rag/ Christella  
    Columbia DB4414 1960 Hit & Miss/ Rockin' Already #10
    Columbia DB4446 1960 Beat For Beatniks/ Big Fella #40
    Columbia DB4480 1960 Never Let Go/ Blueberry Hill #34
    Columbia DB4505 1960 Walk Don't Run/ I'm Movin' On #11
    Columbia DB4554 1960 Black Stockings/ Get Lost Jack Frost #27
    Columbia DB4598 1961 The Magnificent Seven/ Skid Row #45
    Columbia DB4659 1961 The Menace/ Rodeo  
    Columbia DB4699 1961 Starfire/ A Matter Of Who  
    Columbia DB4705* 1961 Rocco's Theme/ Spinneree  
    Columbia DB4756 1961 Watch Your Step/ Twist It  
    Columbia DB4800* 1962  Theme From "Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone"/ Tears  
    Columbia DB4806 1962 Cutty Sark/ Lost Patrol #35
    Columbia DB4898 1962 The James Bond Theme-Dr No/ The Blacksmith Blues #13
    Columbia DB4941 1962 The Lolly Theme (from The Amorous Prawn)/ March of the Mandarins  
    Columbia DB7003 1963 The Human Jungle/ Onward Christian Spacemen  
    Ember EMBS178 1963 Kinky/ Fancy Dress  
    Ember EMBS181 1963 007/ From Russia With Love #39
    Ember EMBS183 1963 Elizabeth/ The London Theme  
    Ember EMBS185 1963 Zulu Stamp/ Monkey Feathers  
    Lyntone LYN378 1963 Ingersoll Trendsetters Theme (TV Commercial)  
    United Artists UP1044* 1963 The Big Safari (from Call Me Bwana)/ Mouse on the Moon  
    Columbia DB7414 1964 Seven Faces/ Twenty-four Hours Ago  
    United Artists UP 1057 1964 Theme from "A Jolly Bad Fellow" Alan Haven (organ)  
    United Artists UP1060 1964 Oublie-Ça/ Séance on a Wet Afternoon  
    United Artists UP1068 1964 Goldfinger/ Troubador  
    Stateside SS296 1964 Barney's Blues/ Theme from 'Man In The Middle'  
    CBS 201747 1965 Man Alone (Theme from 'Ipcress Files')/ Barbra's Theme  
    CBS 201822 1965 The Syndicate/ What A Question  
    CBS202390 1966 Vandetta/ The Danny Scipio Theme  
    CBS202461 1967 Wednesday's Child/ Sleep Well My Darling  
    Ember EMBS S243 1967 007/ The Loneliness Of Autumn  
    CBS 2825 1967 You Only Live Twice/ The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair  
    CBS 3935 1969 The Lion In Winter Part 1/ Part 2  
    CBS 4468 1969 Midnight Cowboy/ Fun City  
    CBS 4680 1969 On Her Majesty's Secret Service/ We Have All The Time In The World  
     *Note UP1044 was credited to 'The Countdowns', DB4705 and DB4800 were credited to Michael Angelo & His Orchestra (John Barry's Italian persona).

    Thanks are due to Mike Taylor who helped compile this discography.

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    Parlophone GEP8737 1958 "The Big Beat"  
    The Big Beat/Farrago/Pancho/Hideaway/Rodeo
    Columbia SEG8069 1961 "The John Barry Sound" #25
    Hit And Miss/Rockin' Already/Walk Don't Run/I'm Moving On
    Columbia SEG8138 1962 "Beat Girl" (Collection w. Adam Faith)  
     "Beat Girl" Theme/The Stripper (Instrumental) - I Did What You Told Me/Made You (A.Faith)
    Columbia SEG8255  1963 "John Barry Theme Successes"  
     "The Human Jungle" (title theme)/Cutty Sark/James Bond Theme/Lolly Theme
    United Artists UEP1011 1963 "From Russia With Love"  
     From Russia With Love (theme)/007/Girl Trouble/Leila Dances/Death In Kerim
    Ember EMB4544 1965 "Loneliness Of Autumn"  
     Loneliness Of Autumn/Fancy Dance/Elizabeth/London Theme
    United Artists UEP1012 1965 "Goldfinger"  
     Goldfinger (title theme)/Pussy Galore's Flying Circus/Dawn Raid On Fort Knox
    Ember EMB4551 1965 "James Bond Is Back"  
    From Russia With Love (title theme)/Double-O Seven/Zulu Stamp/Monkey Feathers
    United Artists UEP1015 1965 "Thunderball"  
     CBS WEP1126 1967 "Themes From James Bond Films"  
     CBS WEP1129 1967 "Big Themes From The Big Screen"  
     CBSWEP1131 1967 "Great Screen Themes"  

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