In Memoriam|

Photo: Monty Norman | Wikipedia | Monty Norman (April 4, 1928 – July 11, 2022) was an English film composer and singer best known for composing the “James Bond Theme”. Norman was born Monty Noserovitch in Stepney in the East End of London, the only child of Jewish parents, Annie (née Berlin) and Abraham Noserovitch, on the second night of Passover in 1928. When Norman’s father was young, he traveled from Latvia to England with his mother (Norman’s grandmother).

As a child during World War II, Norman was evacuated from London but later returned during the Blitz. As a young man he did national service in the RAF, where he became interested in pursuing a career in singing.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Norman was a singer for big bands such as those of Cyril Stapleton, Stanley Black, Ted Heath, and Nat Temple. He also sang in various variety shows, sharing top billing with other singers and comedy stars such as Benny Hill, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Worth, Tommy Cooper, Jimmy James, Tony Hancock, Jimmy Edwards, and Max Miller. One of his songs, “False Hearted Lover”, was successful internationally.

From the late 1950s, he moved from singing to composing, including songs for performers such as Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, Count Basie, and Bob Hope, and lyrics for musicals and (subsequently) films. In 1957 and 1958, he wrote lyrics for the musicals Make Me an Offer, the English-language version of Irma la Douce (based on a 1956 French musical written by Alexandre Breffort and Marguerite Monnot; the English version was nominated for a Broadway Tony Award), and Expresso Bongo (which Time Out called the first rock and roll musical).
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As of 2004, Norman was working on an autobiography, to be titled A Walking Stick Full of Bagels, and musical versions of the 1954 Kingsley Amis novel Lucky Jim and his 1970s musical, Quick Quick Slow.

Norman is best known for writing the “James Bond Theme”, the signature theme of the James Bond franchise, and the score to the first James Bond film, Dr. No. Norman received royalty payments for the theme from 1962 on. However, as the producers were dissatisfied with Norman’s arrangement, John Barry re-arranged the theme. Barry later claimed that it was actually he who wrote the theme, but Norman won two libel actions against publishers for claiming that Barry was the composer, the last against The Sunday Times in 2001. In the made-for-DVD documentary Inside Dr. No, Norman performs a music piece that he wrote for an unproduced stage musical based on A House for Mr Biswas several years earlier, entitled “Bad Sign, Good Sign”, that he claimed resembles the melody of the “James Bond Theme” in several places. Also of note, the “James Bond Theme” introduction is very similar to a portion of Celia Cruz’s Plegaria a La Roye as recorded in Cuba with La Sonora Matancera in 1954.

Norman collected around £485,000 in royalties between 1976 and 1999 for the use of the theme since Dr. No.

Norman died on July 11, 2022, at the age of 94.


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Our music community continues to lose our talented artists to COVID-19, suicides, and murders – staggering loses. We are going to miss them so much. If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost, please check them out at http://www.wikipedia.com

July 2022

13: A. B. Crentsil, 78, Ghanaian musician; Rubina Qureshi, 81, Pakistani classical singer, cancer; Chris Stuart, 73, British journalist, songwriter, and producer.

12: Bramwell Tovey, 69, British conductor (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra) and composer (Eighteen), sarcoma; Jan Wijn, 88, Dutch pianist and pedagogue.

11: Monty Norman, 94, English composer (“James Bond Theme”).

10: Andrew Ball, 72, British pianist; Chantal Gallia, 65, Algerian-born French singer and humorist, stroke; Enamul Haque, 85, Bangladeshi museologist.

9: Barbara Thompson, 77, English jazz saxophonist (Colosseum, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Keef Hartley Band), complications from Parkinson’s disease.

8: Alam Khan, 78, Bangladeshi composer (“Ore Neel Doriya Amay De Re De Chhariya”, “Hayre Manush Rangin Phanush”); Libor Krejcar, 60, Czech sculptor, poet and lyricist.

7: Mark Astronaut, British musician and poet; Don Graham, 87, American music promoter, stomach cancer; Samvel Sahakyan, 61, Armenian singer; Adam Wade, 87, American singer (“The Writing on the Wall”) and television host (Musical Chairs), complications from Parkinson’s disease.


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