Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2011 February 09 • Wednesday

The New York Times obituary for John Barry had a few errors. At the bottom of the online version you can read how the piece originally got Max Steiner's name wrong—how did that happen?—as well as the alternate title by which Beat Girl was known in the United States. That second one is a bit more obscure, but don't they have fact checkers?

When I read the version in the paper—and I hadn't intended to, but my mother clipped it and sent it to me—I noticed another error that has yet to be corrected.

The obituary states: "In 1957 he formed the John Barry Seven, a rock ’n’ roll band styled after the popular guitar-based instrumental group the Ventures."

That's a ridiculous statement. The Ventures didn't exist in 1957.

The John Barry Seven, like many bands, covered "Walk Don't Run" after The Ventures had a hit with it, but The Ventures' recording of "Walk Don't Run" didn't come out until 1960. It was on their first album and their third single. (The first two singles came out in 1959 and 1961 and probably weren't noticed by John Barry.)

The John Barry Seven never sounded anything like The Ventures, despite the prominence of the guitar in the band. The John Barry Seven sound, especially in its early days, depended more heavily on the horns. It would be more accurate to say that John Barry was attempting to cross-pollinate rock and roll (especially Duane Eddy) with the sound of Stan Kenton's band.