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Famous Like Me > Composer > N > Monty Norman

Profile of Monty Norman on Famous Like Me

Name: Monty Norman  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 4th April 1928
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Monty Norman (born in London on April 4, 1928) is a singer and film composer best known for the creation of "The James Bond Theme".


Norman was born in the East End of London to Jewish parents on the second night of Passover in 1928. When Norman's father was young, he travelled 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. He later did national service in the RAF, where he became interested in 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 and Ted Heath. He also sang in various variety shows, sharing the top of the bill 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 later 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). Expresso Bongo was a West End hit, and was later made into a 1960 film starring a young Cliff Richard). Later musicals include Songbook, which was also nominated for a Broadway Tony and won an Ivor Novello Award. Further film work included the theme songs for the science fiction classic, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, the first James Bond film, Dr. No, The Two Faces of Doctor Jeckyll, and the 1963 Bob Hope movie, Call Me Bwana.

Norman has been credited with writing "The James Bond Theme", one of the signature themes for the James Bond films, and has received royalties since 1962. The classic version of "The James Bond Theme" was orchestrated by John Barry for the first James Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962. Barry has testified several times and claims that he was actually the one who wrote the theme, but Norman has won two libel actions against publishers for claiming that Barry wrote the theme, most recently against The Sunday Times in 2001. In the made-for-DVD documentary, Inside Dr. No, Norman performs a piece of music he had written for the stage several years earlier entitled "Bad Sign, Good Sign" that resembles the melody of the "James Bond Theme" in several places. Barry went on to compose 11 more Bond soundtracks, and "The 007 Theme" (dominated by brass and percussion).

As of 2004, Norman is working on an autobiography, to be entitled A Walking Stick Full of Bagels, and musical versions of the 1954 Kingsley Amis novel, Lucky Jim, and his 1970s musical, "Quick Quick Slow".

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Monty Norman