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Monty Norman (born 4 April 1928) is a singer and film composer best known for composing the "James Bond Theme".
|Birth name||Monty Noserovitch|
|Born||4 April 1928|
|Genres||Film scores, video game music|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, music producer|
|Instruments||Piano and electric guitar|
Norman was born Monty Noserovitch in Stepney in the East End of London, the only child of Jewish parents, Annie (née Berlin) and Abraham Noserovitch, 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. As a young man he did national service in the RAF, where he became interested in pursuing 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 top billing 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 (subsequently) 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 music for the Hammer movie The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), the Bob Hope movie Call Me Bwana (1963), and the TV miniseries Dickens of London (1976).
As of 2004, Norman was 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.[clarification needed]
James Bond ThemeEdit
Norman is famous for writing the music to the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, including the "James Bond Theme", the signature theme of the James Bond franchise. Norman has received royalties since 1962 for the theme. However, as the producers were dissatisfied with Norman's arrangement, John Barry re-arranged the theme. Barry later claimed that it was actually he who wrote the theme, but Norman won two libel actions against publishers for claiming that Barry was the composer, most recently against The Sunday Times in 2001. In the made-for-DVD documentary Inside Dr. No, Norman performs a music piece which 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.
Norman collected around £600,000 in royalties between the years 1976 and 1999 for the use of the theme since Dr. No.