Bond theme composer Monty Norman dies aged 94

Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the soundtracks for James Bond films, has died at the age of 94.

Orman began his career singing in big bands before honing his career writing music for musicals and films such as Songbook, Poppy and Make Me An Offer.

A statement on his official website said: “We are saddened to share the news that Monty Norman passed away on 11 July 2022 after a brief illness.”


News is announced on Norman’s website (Screengrab/PA)

Norman was born to Monty Noserovitch in Stepney, east London, to Jewish parents and was evacuated from London during the early days of the Blitz.

At the age of 16, his mother bought him a guitar, the seller’s price dropped from £17 to £15, and he soon found music by the Beatles and Eric Clapton.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, he was a vocalist for major bands including Cyril Stapleton, Ted Heath and Nat Temple, and appeared in variety shows with comedians including Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan.

He and comedian Benny Hill then joined a joint variety show on the road, taking turns appearing on the headlines based on whether their favorite town was comedy or music.

Moving on to songwriting, he wrote songs for Sir Cliff Richard and early Sir Tommy Steele rock and patina, and wrote lyrics for musicals.

He has worked in the stage shows Make Me An Offer and Expresso Bongo, often considered the first rock and roll musical.

But Norman is best known for scoring the first James Bond film, 1962’s Dr No starring Sir Sean Connery, which included a popular theme that recurred throughout the next 24 films.

However, the producers were not satisfied with Norman’s arrangement and drafted a young John Barry to rearrange the piece.

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Barry – whose separate credits include Out Of Africa, Born Free and Midnight Cowboy – later claimed it was he who wrote the thread but Norman won’t sue The Sunday Times for publishing a report similarly forced.

He continued to work through the 1980s and beyond with Songbook in both the West End and on Broadway, winning the Evening Standard, Olivier and Ivor Novello awards for best musical.

That decade also saw his pantomime-style musical Poppy run for over a year at the Barbican and Adelphi theater in London and win the Swet – now Olivier – for best musical. Bond theme composer Monty Norman dies aged 94

Fry Electronics Team

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