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Monty Norman, Composer Behind the Iconic “James Bond Theme,” Dies at 94

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Monty Norman
Monty Norman image via his official website

Monty Norman, who composed the iconic theme for the character of James Bond, died on Monday following a short illness. He was 94, and his death was announced on his official website.

The British composer’s “James Bond Theme” was first used in the 1962 movie Dr. No and it has endured to this day, even though it is often mistakenly credited to arranger John Barry. Norman even won a lawsuit once regarding a 2001 article in the Sunday Times that credited the composition to Barry.

The track known across the world today as “James Bond Theme” was initially called “Bad Sign Good Sign” and it was composed for a stage version of VS Naipaul‘s A House for Mr. Biswas, but the project was never produced, so in a sign of cinematic kismet, Norman was allowed to use it years later for Dr. No.

Norman reportedly landed the coveted gig after 007 producer Cubby Broccoli saw his work in two West End musicals of the late ’50s — Irma la Douce and Make Me an Offer.

Norman got his start in showbiz as a big band singer in the 1950s before pivoting into songwriting. He even wrote a song for Bob Hope. His other credits include the stage musicals Poppy and Songbook, and film music for The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), and Call Me Bwana (1963), as well as the 1976 TV miniseries Dickens of London.

Listen to Monty Norman’s amazing “James Bond Theme” below:

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