The tragic death of James Bond composer Monty Norman

English singer and film composer Monty Norman has died, his family confirmed to the BBC. He was 94 years old. “It is with sadness that we share the news that Monty Norman passed away on July 11, 2022 after a short illness,” it said in a statement on its website. According to The Guardian, Norman began his career singing for big bands in the 1950s and 1960s. During this time he also discovered his passion for writing music and began doing so for musicals and films such as Make Me an Offer and Wolf Mankowitz’s Expresso Bongo.

“When I was 7 years old, I probably first heard that I wanted to be a musician when I heard a song called ‘Whickey Whackey Woo,’ played by my guitar-playing hero who lived downstairs,” Norman said during of an interview with Universal Exports. Norman ended up working on a handful of other musicals before landing one of the biggest jobs of his career.

Monty Norman created the theme for the entire James Bond franchise

In 1962, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli approached Monty Norman with a life-changing offer. Broccoli was enthusiastic about Norman’s work on the musical Belle or The Ballad of Doctor Crippen and asked him if he would be interested in writing the score for his upcoming James Bond film Dr. No,” according to Norman’s official website. According to NME, Norman went on to create the James Bond theme, which, interestingly enough, was inspired by a song the composer wrote a few years ago called “Good Sign, Bad Sign.” Also, Norman’s theme for “Dr. No” so well that the franchise ended up using it for every James Bond film.

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“We realized we needed a fresh, contemporary sound for the main theme, and we found a wonderful arranger in the up-and-coming young John Barry, so the whole thing worked really well,” Norman said (via Variety).

According to The Guardian, Norman was married to actress Diana Coupland and they have one child together. After Coupland and Norman separated, he married Rina Caesari.