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New John Barry biography was a `labour of love`

30-Dec-2008 • Collecting

For Stourbridge civil servant Pete Walker completing his “labour of love” took more than two decades.

The 49-year-old author has co-written John Barry: The Man with the Midas Touch, which claims to be a definitive biography of the famous musician, reports Stourbridge News.

Best known for James Bond scores including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever, Barry’s fans have hailed the book “a bible about Barry” and word has spread as far as Irish national radio.

It’s all a far cry from the book’s humble beginnings, which date back to when Pete met co-authors Geoff Leonard and Gareth Bramley in 1981.

Pete, of Ridgacre Lane, Quinton, said: “We met by chance when Geoff wrote to me and pretty much started working on the book from there.

“We have put a lot of research in, travelling round the country to interview different people, fitting it in around the day job.

“There were occasions when we feared it would never be finished - it’s been an intense labour of love for all of us.”

Barry is the UK’s most successful Oscar winner with five statuettes. He began his career with The John Barry Seven and graduated from arranging hits for Adam Faith to scoring hit movies such as Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves.

The 300-page biography includes more than 200 photographs and follows Barry’s life and career from his formative years growing up in York to his life in Oyster Bay, New York, where he now lives.

Pete, who works as a disability employment advisor at Stourbridge Jobcentre, added: “I have always found his music very inspiring.

The arrangements are always original, you can always tell when a piece of music is by him.”

Published by Redcliffe Press and priced at £19.99, The Man with the Midas Touch is available from bookshops and online, or from the John Barry website at www.johnbarry.org.uk

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