Fond memories of musician John

John Barry who has died aged 77
John Barry who has died aged 77

A FORMER Scarborough musician has recalled fond memories of his career alongside famous multi-Oscar winning composer John Barry OBE, who died of a heart attack aged 77.

Ken Golder, of Newby, performed as a drummer in Mr Barry’s group, the John Barry Seven, during the 1950s.

The group earned huge plaudits for their rock and roll style, touring Britain, Sweden and Denmark and also appeared on television shows including The 6.5 Special and The Oh Boy Show.

However, despite their success, Mr Barry went on to achieve even greater acclaim, composing the musical score for 11 James Bond movies, with critics queuing up to brand him Britain’s greatest film music composer.

But despite his work on Bond films including Dr No, Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy, his success was recognised elsewhere, with Oscar wins for scores in the films Born Free, The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves.

He also worked on Body Heat and The Cotton Club and received the Bafta fellowship in 2005 for recognition of his services to film music.

However, Mr Golder said Mr Barry, who was originally from York and married his first wife, Scarborough electrical store worker Barbara Pickard in 1960, started out in more humble beginnings in the early stages of his route to stardom.

He told the Evening News: “I remember I was playing at the Spa with the Geoff Laycock Orchestra in 1956 and John Barry – or John Prendergast as he then was - used to come in dancing on a Saturday night.

“One night as I came off the stage and was walking across the ballroom when he approached me and said ‘Would you be interested in playing and starting a group?’

“I was taken aback and I asked two other lads, Fred Kirk and Ken Richards who were also from Scarborough, what they thought.

“We decided to give it a go and we went to one of John’s father’s cinemas, the Railto, in York.

“We came out and played and it sounded alright and we were quite pleased with the sound that we got.”

The meeting proved to be the springboard for an extremely successful jaunt through the latter part of the 1950s.

The group were quickly signed up on the Moss Empire Circuit performing on the same bill as household names including Larry Grayson and Des O’Connor and were regularly touring the country.

One of the groups big moves came when they played with Tommy Steele in Sweden and Denmark, who was promoting his film Little White Bull.

However, Mr Golder pointed to another famous acquaintance who was drawn in by the Seven’s musical talents.

He said: “Paul Anka came over to the UK and we were asked to go and do an audition with him for his song Oh Diana.

“It was at a nightclub in London and we got on and played and he said ‘that is the band I want, they are just the job for me’”.

The band embarked on a tour of the country after their successful showing and continued playing for a while afterwards with their demand never waning.

However, the strain of constant life on the road gradually began to take its toll and by 1959 the group had split up.

Mr Golder came back to Scarborough and took on a role as a drummer with the Geoff Laycock quartet which played at the Candlelight Club.

He went on to start his own band, The Ken Golder Trio, and also played with Scarborough Concert Band.

But he was full of praise for Mr Barry’s work.

He added: “It was fantastic what John achieved. He will be missed by a lot of people.”