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Monty Norman

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Monty Norman (born in London, UK on April 4, 1928) is a singer and film composer best known for composing “The James Bond Theme”.

Norman was born in the East End of London to Jewish parents 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. He later did national service in the RAF, where he became interested in 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 the top of the bill 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 later 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 was a West End hit, and was later made into a 1960 film starring a young Cliff Richard).

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