LONDON (Reuters) – The austere stone walls of London’s High Court were shaken but not stirred on Monday by the rousing strains of the James Bond theme, as a libel battle began over who actually wrote it.
Since the 1960s, the catchy tune has led the soundtrack in a string of action movies about the suave British spy.
Award-winning composer Monty Norman, 72, is suing the Sunday Times over an October 1997 article attributing the bulk of the soundtrack to John Barry rather than him.
The article claimed the tune owed nothing to Norman except for a snatch of a much-altered melody line, his counsel James Price said.
The article had damaged Norman’s reputation by suggesting he had been dishonest in taking the credit and receiving the royalties for 35 years, he added.
And it had suggested Norman was a “non-entity,” describing him as “little known.”
Price told the jury Norman had composed the soundtrack for Dr. No, the film which provided audiences with the debut of the James Bond theme, and had won four awards in recognition of his musical work.
The hearing continues.