TIL that the famous James Bond theme (first heard in 1962 in Dr. No) was source of a long running dispute between John Barry and Monty Norman. Norman had originally written a song for a musical adaptation of V. S. Naipaul's novel A House for Mr Biswas which was the inspiration.


Monty Norman wrote the "James Bond Theme" and received royalties from 1962 until his death in 2022. Norman collected around £600,000 in royalties between 1976 and 1999.[1] For Dr. No, Norman scored the film and the theme was arranged by John Barry, who would later go on to compose the soundtracks for eleven James Bond films. Courts have ruled that the theme was written by Norman, despite claims and testimony by Barry that he had actually written the theme. Norman has consequently won two libel actions against publishers for claiming that Barry wrote the theme, most recently against The Sunday Times in 2001.[1]

Norman describes the distinctive rhythm of the guitar in the first few bars of the "James Bond Theme" as "Dum di-di dum dum". He said that it was inspired by "Good Sign, Bad Sign", a song he composed for a musical adaptation of V. S. Naipaul's novel A House for Mr Biswas, set in the Indian community in Trinidad. Norman showed his manuscript music from A House for Mr Biswas in a filmed interview and sang its lyrics.

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