The past week saw the curtain call of one of my favorite composers and one of my favorite bands.
First, we lost John Barry. John was one of the all time great film score composers. He’s one of the few artists whose music has been running through my head since childhood. Though Monty Norman wrote the basic melody of The James Bond Theme, Barry arranged it for the first Bond film, Dr. No. Most important, he created the signature guitar line. From there he went on to compose eleven of the twenty-two Bond films, plus write many of the opening songs. Though I’m not as fond of Goldfinger as most other Bond fans, you can’t deny its iconic status.
Though the Bond music is his biggest claim to fame, he had a full career beyond OO7. He received Academy Awards for his scores for The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa, and Dances with Wolves. I do find it interesting, though, that none of the articles I read mentioned his music for Somewhere in Time. While the movie was not a hit when it came out, I believe at least half the women I went to college with owned the soundtrack.
If you want to hear my favorite John Barry piece, check out the theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unlike The James Bond Theme, credit for the music belongs to him alone and it’s every bit as cool.
The past week also saw the apparent curtain call of The White Stripes. This wasn’t a huge shock. I think most people who followed the band could see the writing on the wall. Jack had moved on to other projects and Meg wasn’t able to follow through on the last tour.
This is too bad because while I’m a fan of The Raconteurs (not so much The Dead Weather), I don’t love them as much as Jack’s original group. Sure, Meg wasn’t the greatest drummer in the world (though more competent on the last two albums than people give her credit for) but she did bring the best out of her partner. The two of them helped get me into music again when my interest was at an all time low.
Now that they aren’t together, my fondest hope is for a Jack White solo project. For someone with such a forceful personality, he seems to gravitate towards collaborations. To me, though, those collaborations often water down the end result. I’d like to see what he’d do without someone to rein him in. It could be a train wreck but it could also be genius.
Whatever the case, thank you Jack and Meg for giving Detroit rock a band to rally around in a decade that didn’t offer much in the way of great music. Finally, because I love making lists, here are my favorite White Stripes songs:
1. Seven Nation Army
2. Hotel Yorba
3. Icky Thump
4. My Doorbell
5. Fell in Love with a Girl
6. The Denial Twist
7. Hello Operator
8. Little Bird
9. We Are Going to Be Friends
10. Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground