Monty Norman, Composer of James Bond's Iconic Theme Music, Dead at 94

Monty Norman, whose famous 007 theme music has recurred in over 20 of the franchise's films, died Monday

2D31HY4 Composer Monty Norman arrives at the High court in London where he is involved in a libel action over a newspaper article which reported that he did not write the James Bond theme.
Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Monty Norman, the composer behind the iconic James Bond theme music, died Monday at the age of 94.

A statement posted Monday on Norman's official website said: "It is with sadness we share the news that Monty Norman died on 11th July 2022 after a short illness."

Born in the East End of London in 1928, Norman was a composer and lyricist who began his career singing in big bands before finding a passion in writing with a string of hit stage shows, recordings, TV and film scores to his name.

He wrote the music for the horror film The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), the comedy Call Me Bwana (1963), and the TV miniseries Dickens of London (1976).

Norman is best known, however, for scoring the first James Bond film, 1962's Dr No, which starred Sean Connery and included the famous theme which has recurred throughout the decades of subsequent films in the franchise.

Ursula Andress, Sean Connery
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Norman also received numerous awards throughout his career. In 1989, he received the highly coveted Gold Badge of Merit, for Services to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors. Later he was also honored with a special Ivor Novello Award for composing the Bond theme.

(L-R) Composer Monty Norman and his fiancee, singer Diana Coupland (Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images)
Barratts/PA Images via Getty

Within the Bond films themselves, many different musical arrangements of the theme have been used over the years, often reflecting the musical tastes of the specific times.

After appearing at the 2012 premiere of Skyfall, Norman spoke about hearing the iconic theme song featuring British singer Adele. "It was very heartwarming for me at the Albert Hall premiere of Skyfall when the garage door opens and they saw the original car, and the theme started everyone began applauding and cheering — that was a marvelous moment," he said in an interview.

"Quite often these days people come up to me and say, 'Oh, you're the man who wrote dum-diddy-dum-dum.' They don't even sing the melody!" Norman added, laughing, "but everyone seems to know what they mean!"

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