Now, that Monty Norman rubbish. John Barry appeared on the Steve Wright show on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 7th September 2006 and said:
“I had done one or two small budget movies up until then but not much else, and I said ‘I only know James Bond from that [comic] strip in the Daily Mail’ (editors note: it was the Daily Express). He said ‘well they’ve got Monty Norman’ and I said ‘well Monty can’t write, can he? He’s a song-writer of sorts’. He replied ‘well he’s written a song for the movie and they want you to do it’, so I said ‘well I write the song as well’.
So I wrote the song with Don Black, but we couldn’t get credit because of the legal thing – [Norman] was signed to do the movie. I think I got £125 and I think Don got the same. We recorded the first Bond theme and Lionel Bart went to see the movie and he said ‘ere! Monty Norman never wrote that!’ and I said ‘he was signed to do the movie, I came in at the last minute’, I know he never wrote it but I said ‘if they continue, if this is a success, and we go on then I’ll do the rest of the movies, that’s my shot.'”
Norman sued the Sunday Times over an article in October 1997 which claimed John Barry actually wrote the distinctive twanging guitar tune – first heard in the 1962 film Dr No, starring Sean Connery. Mr Norman said afterwards: “I am absolutely delighted – and vindicated. The Sunday Times always said that they were only interested in the truth. Well, now they’ve got the truth.”
The truth is that Norman came up with some of the notes for the song, the bare melody line which recurs but Barry then made it into the theme world famous today. It’s as if someone wrote the da-da-da-da of Beethoven’s 5th but Beethoven did the rest. As Barry received no credit whatsoever for this, it’s a bit rum and one would think Norman might have been more gracious but no. Anyway, I didn’t run it in this post because Norman might sue again.