Licence to thrill again for fans of Bond music

IT might not be the best Bond film but the music for Moonraker by Yorkshire-born composer John Barry is out of this world.

James Bond composer John Barry

Thirty six years after Roger Moore saved the world from baddies Hugo Drax and Jaws, fans of the late John Barry’s work are banding together to raise £25,000 for the entire film score to be re-recorded by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

The original master tapes were reportedly lost but that has not stopped hundreds of fans of York-born Barry calling for the score to be recreated.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

By last night almost 200 people had already pledged £15,000 on ‘crowd funding’ website Kickstarter.

James Bond composer John Barry

The project was helped along by film critic and broadcaster Jonathan Ross who retweeted the funding appeal to his four million Twitter followers.

According to record label boss James Fitzpatrick, who launched the funding project, Bond fans have been asking about the Moonraker score for years.

“Over the last couple of decades, Moonraker has proved to be the most demanded John Barry and the most frequently requested James Bond score in need of a complete recording.

“The music is one of the finest examples of Barry’s more mature approach to Bond, putting a heavy emphasis on symphonic adventure scoring as opposed to the more rebellious, guitar-based sound of earlier films like Goldfinger.

“Some would argue this score is the turning point in his 007 legacy.”

He said there were many reasons why fans were clamouring for a re-recording, most notably because the original score was recorded in Paris, while most of Barry’s Bond scores were recorded in London.

The soundtrack album released in 1979 was missing “key moments” from the score - including the famous theme to James Bond.

“The 1979 album was, and still is, the only official James Bond soundtrack that didn’t feature a single second of the famous James Bond theme.

“Although the film had at least two major set-pieces scored with the theme, none of these moments were selected for the official LP.”

The full score will run to about 50 minutes, he said, and would be overseen by conductor Nic Raine, who worked with Barry.

“Nic actually worked with John as the orchestrator of A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights, so his intimate knowledge of Barry’s working methods makes him the best candidate to undergo the arduous task of reconstructing Moonraker.”

Over the years Mr Fitzpatrick, who runs Tadlow Music Ltd, has received around 1,000 requests for a new Moonraker recording.

It is the first time he has asked fans via Kickstarter to provide the money

Members of the John Barry Appreciation Society are backing the project.

Tony Weeks, a nurse who lives near Eastbourne, said: “Moonraker is a fantastic Bond score, though not the greatest of Bond movies. It is just wonderful music.”

He said the Kickstarter approach opened up lots of possibilities for future re-recordings of other John Barry scores including Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985).

“If we can do this with Moonraker, it means we can do this with other projects. There are quite a few scores that we hope will come out one day.”

Barry fan John May, who made a contribution via Kickstarter, wrote on the website: “Congratulations - and endless thanks - for getting this very exciting dream project off the ground. Moonraker has been given its soundtrack wings at long last. A well-loved score of this quality really deserves the red carpet treatment.”

The project has until February 8 to reach the £25,000 target.

* Over the past 20 years Tadlow Music has produced many new recordings from the music of John Barry, including Raise the Titanic, Zulu and The Betsy.

Company boss James Fitzpatrick is a fan of Bond films and John Barry.

His favourite Barry scores are The Last Valley, Robin and Marian, The Lion in Winter, Zulu and Raise the Titanic.

All had new recordings made by Tadlow Music for Silva Screen Records.

He says: “I knew John (Barry) quite well and originally did approach him about having himself conduct the new recordings of his music in Prague. But over a rather fine meal at Rules restaurant in Covent Garden, with John and his orchestrator Nic Raine, John declined the offer as he was more than happy for Nic to reconstruct the music and conduct these re-recordings, as John and Nic had worked together for several years.

Barry died, aged 77, in 2011.