Bond theme composer Monty Norman dies at 94
The renowned James Bond theme song was written by accomplished composer and songwriter Monty Norman, who passed away at the age of 94, according to his family.
Born in London’s East End to Latvian immigrants, Norman was raised there. When he was 16 years old, his mother gave him his first guitar.
Before entering the film industry, he went on to write music for West End productions such as Expresso Bongo and Irma La Douce.
His Bond theme, which had been commissioned for the 1962 film Dr No, was utilised throughout the entire run.
Cubby Broccoli, the director of the first Bond film, had requested Norman to write the score after being impressed by his resume in stage musicals.
The main theme was rewritten by the composer with the slick spy in mind using one of his earlier works, Bad Sign Good Sign, from an unfinished production of VS Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas.
When Norman switched the primary riff from a sitar to an electric guitar, he realised he had perfectly encapsulated the character of Agent 007.
The Bond theme was notably orchestrated by John Barry, which led some people to believe he had also composed it, much to Norman’s chagrin. He sued The Sunday Times in 2001 over a story that claimed he wasn’t the author of the well-known guitar riff, and he won a £30,000 libel settlement.
He composed the music for the 1960 Hammer film The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll, the 1961 film The Day the Earth Caught Fire, the 1963 Bob Hope film Call Me Bwana from Eon Productions, and the TV miniseries Dickens of London (1976).
Due to his commitments to two other stage projects, Norman initially needed to be persuaded to write the Bond theme.
But when Harry Saltzman and Broccoli offered to pay for their flights for him and his wife to Jamaica, where the location work would be filmed, he accepted.
Norman passed away on Monday after a brief illness, according to a statement from his family.