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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monty Norman (born in London, UK on 4 April 1928) is a singer and film composer best known for being credited with composing 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, Ted Heath, and Nat Temple. 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, written by Wolf Mankowitz was a West End hit, and was later made into a 1960 film starring a young Cliff Richard). Later musicals include Songbook (aka The Moony Shapiro Songbook in New York), which was also nominated for a Broadway Tony and won an Ivor Novello Award; and Poppy (1982), which was also nominated for the Ivor Novello Award, and won the SWET award (renamed the Laurence Olivier Awards in 1984) for Best Musical. Further film work included the theme songs for the science fiction movie, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, The Two Faces of Doctor Jeckyll, and the 1963 Bob Hope movie, Call Me Bwana.

Norman is famous for writing the music to the first James Bond movie Dr. No, and has been credited with writing the "James Bond Theme," the signature theme of the James Bond franchise. Norman has received royalties since 1962 for the theme, but it was arranged by John Barry[1] after the producers were dissatisfied with Norman's music. Barry claims that he actually did write the theme, but nevertheless, Mr. Norman won two libel actions against publishers for claiming that Barry was the composer, most recently against The Sunday Times in 2001. During the trial, Barry testified on the stand that he had, in fact, composed the The James Bond Theme, but that Norman was contractually obligated to receive credit for the score.

However, in the made-for-DVD documentary, Inside Dr. No, Norman performs a piece of music he wrote for the stage several years earlier entitled Bad Sign, Good Sign, that resembles the melody of the "James Bond Theme" in several places. But Barry went on to compose the well-known "007" theme as well as eleven more Bond film scores.

Mr. Norman admits to having collected around £485,000 in royalties between the years 1976 and 1999 [2] for the theme since Dr. No.

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".

External links

Norman at Musical Theatre Norman's web site


Preceded by
James Bond title artist
Dr. No
Succeeded by
John Barry
From Russia with Love,


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