John Barry, Oscar winning Bond composer dies

Tributes have been paid to James Bond composer John Barry who has died aged 77.

The five-time Oscar winner, who grew up in York, wrote scores for films including The Ipcress File, Zulu and Midnight Cowboy but is best known for his long association with 007.

A statement released by his family said: "It is with great sadness that the family of composer John Barry announce his passing on the 30th of January 2011 in New York.

"Mr Barry is survived by his wife of 33 years, Laurie, and his four children and five grandchildren.

"Funeral arrangements will be strictly private and a memorial service will be held later this year in the UK."

Barry's arrangement of Monty Norman's James Bond theme made his name and he wrote songs for many of the films.

Lyricist Don Black, who co-wrote songs including Born Free and Diamonds Are Forever with Barry, said success never changed him.

"I think I knew him as well as anyone in the world. We were best friends for a long time, since the early Sixties," he said.

"The thing about John that I will always remember was he never changed. He was very much the Yorkshireman whether he was in Beverly Hills or Manhattan.

"He lived in Oyster Bay, New York, for 30 or 40 years but you would never know it. There was no trace of America about him, he brought York to New York.

"He had a wonderful talent and gave me my start with Thunderball and I owe him a great deal.

"When he played you a melody it was like an unveiling. You didn't question it because you knew he had been up all night working on it and getting it right."

Fellow composer David Arnold, who took over Bond music duties from Barry, said he had "a heavy heart".

He told fans on Twitter: "I am profoundly saddened by the news but profoundly thankful for everything he did for music and for me personally."

Barry was born into a showbusiness family - his mother played the piano and his father owned a string of cinemas.

He was made an OBE and was awarded a Bafta fellowship in 2005 in recognition of his work.

His style, complete with lush strings and grand orchestral movements, was instantly recognisable and influenced stars including Robbie Williams whose 1998 number one hit Millennium was inspired by the theme to You Only Live Twice.

Singer and actor Michael Crawford paid tribute to a man he said had been "a close friend for many, many years".

He said: "He wrote some of the most memorable and beautiful film scores we could ever wish to hear."

Music producer and DJ Mark Ronson wrote on Twitter: "RIP John Barry. One of the greatest composers EVER."

Actor David Schneider wrote: "Sad re John Barry. But I bet he's got one helluva special trumpet-based thing planned for that walk to the pearly gates."

Comedienne and presenter Sue Perkins, who won the BBC's celebrity conductor TV contest Maestro, wrote: "R.I.P John Barry - a man who made the world sound sexy for a while."

Sir Tim Rice, who co-wrote the theme to Octopussy, All Time High, with Barry said he was "a magnificent figure".

He said: "He was a very pleasant man and very well-spoken with a slight Yorkshire tinge to his voice which he never lost.

"He was able to catch the mood of a scene or a whole film by the genius of orchestration with fairly conventional instruments.

"I can remember being quite surprised because he made these great rock 'n' roll records and then you heard these symphonic works as well.

"It is quite extraordinary but film seemed to bring out the very best in him."