Barry Gray (born John Livesey Eccles, 18 July 1908 - 26 April 1984) in Guernsey, Channel Islands, was a British musician, composer and arranger. He was best known for his contributions to AP Films and one of the original members.
Gray's father, John Haworth Eccles was in stationery; both parents were said to be musically talented. He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and at Blackburn Cathedral, learning composition from Matyas Seiber.
Gray's professional music career began with London publishers B. Feldman & Co. where he arranged scores for variety theatres, and he also worked for Radio Normandy. After war service with the R.A.F. he became a freelance composer and lyricist for radio, records and film music libraries. He joined the Performing Right Society in 1947 under his real name, but later changed it by deed poll to John Livesey Barry Gray. He spent several years as musical assistant to Eartha Kitt, Hoagy Carmichael and Vera Lynn.
In the 1956 he joined Gerry Anderson's AP Films, where he first scored the puppet show, The Adventures of Twizzle. This was followed by Torchy The Battery Boy and then the famed Four Feather Falls, a puppet Western based on a concept suggested by Gray.
Gray's association with Gerry Anderson lasted well in to the 1970s. Perhaps most famous for his score to Thunderbirds and its theme "March of the Thunderbirds", Gray composed the themes to the other Supermarionation shows such as Stingray, Fireball XL5, Joe 90, and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Additionally, Gray is also known as the composer for the Anderson live-action shows, such as UFO and Space: 1999, as well as the Thunderbirds films and the live action feature Doppelgänger. After not being involved with The Protectors (the first Anderson production on which he did not participate), Gray's professional association with Anderson ended after the first season of Space: 1999 when Anderson decided to replace Gray's original theme with one by another composer. He continued to compose independently, sometimes using the pseudonyms John Livesey, Gene Durant or Martin Jerbourg (a character in Bergerac).
Gray moved to the Channel Islands in 1970, settling in St Peter-in-the-Wood in Guernsey and with a music studio in St Peter Port, and occasionally guesting as pianist at island venues as a labor of love. Despite the issue related to Space: 1999, he was still Gerry's first choice of composer in 1982 for his then upcoming Television series, Terrahawks, but Barry Gray's health was too far gone by then and died of heart disease in 1984 at Guernsey's Princess Elizabeth Hospital aged 75. His music continues to find favour with film makers, particularly the ever-popular Thunderbirds March which enjoyed a notable revival in the expensive Thunderbirds remake of 2004.
Gray's music is characterised by the use of brass and percussion sections, and made extensive use of leitmotifs, for example themes for the individual machines in Thunderbirds or the eponymous title character in Joe 90, who was accompanied on screen by a wordless representation of the character's name. The ensembles required for Gray's scoring in series such as Thunderbirds and Stingray dwarfed those of most contemporary television shows; even the orchestra employed for the first Supermarionation series, Supercar, comprised some forty instrumentalists. In addition to composing and conducting orchestral scores, he also became interested in the Ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument that had been developed by Maurice Martenot, and used it to produce unconventional musical sounds as well as electronic sound effects in several of his scores, particularly Captain Scarlet and the feature film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. His expertise and recognition in the field led to his providing electronic music and sound effects for such films as Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D, and uncredited work on Fahrenheit 451. The Gerry Anderson Appreciation Society, Fanderson, has recently gained access to all of Gray's original studio tapes and is undertaking a major reissue project, compiling the themes and incidental music from Gray's various Anderson projects on a series of remastered CDs.
The Barry Gray Centenary Concert
Saturday 8 November 2008, an evening event at The Royal Festival Hall, The South Bank, London. Ralph Titterton, restorer of the Barry Gray archive, co-producer of the Barry Gray original soundtrack CDs, and Cathy Ford, Barry Gray librarian, researcher and biographer, have joined with composer, conductor and arranger François Evans to produce a concert to celebrate the centenary of Barry Gray’s birth. In aid of the The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.
- Space Age Nursery Rhymes (mini-EP, Century 21, Comical updates of nursery rhymes, sung by Ken Barrie and Eula Parker, "Three refined mice" sung by Gray)
- Themes from Thunderbirds (mini-EP, Century 21, record with incidental music)
- Themes from Captain Scarlet (mini-EP, Century 21, record with songs and instrumentals of the series and some cover versions of non-Anderson series)
- No Strings Attached (maxi-single. A release of all the commercial recordings of theme music, near-originals. The CD release also includes "March of the Oysters")
- Thunderbirds Are Go! (LP, United Artists, film soundtrack with pieces from the TV series; not the original film recording. The EMI CD release also include The Shadows tracks of the feature film)
- Thunderbird 6 (CD MGM, film soundtrack, released posthumously)
- Thunderbirds (CD, Silva Screen, TV soundtrack, released posthumously)
- Captain Scarlet (CD, Silva Screen, TV soundtrack, released posthumously)
- Space: 1999 (CD, Silva Screen, TV soundtrack, released posthumously)
- Joe 90 (CD, Silva Screen, TV soundtrack, released posthumously)
- Supercar/Fireball XL5 (CD, Fanderson, original incidental music from the series, released posthumously)
- UFO (2CD, Fanderson, original incidental music from the series, released posthumously)
- Space:1999 Year 1 (2CD, Fanderson, original incidental music from the series, released posthumously)
- Sleeping Astronauts (CD, membership gift Fanderson 2005, original incidental music from various Gerry Anderson series. Also includes some tracks not by Barry Gray)
- International Concerto (CD, membership gift Fanderson 2006, original incidental music from various Gerry Anderson series. Also includes tracks not by Barry Gray)
- For 'Thunderbirds Are Go!' Gray recounts: "It's a rather humorous little story that when 'Thunderbirds Are Go!' was going to go into production, Gerry called me into his office and he said: "Barry, I'd like to get the real sound of a symphony orchestra for 'Thunderbirds Are Go!'. How many musicians would we need?" So I said: "Well, if you want a real symphony orchestra sound you'll want about a hundred and twenty." So, when Gerry had picked himself up from the floor, he said: "Well, how many could you do it with?" I said: "I'll do it with seventy." So it was decided then and there that I would have a 70 piece orchestra. A lot of the music in that score was not connected with the TV series because it was for different situations but I did use and orchestrate the Thunderbirds theme and called upon it in snippets throughout the film. I must say that it was a most enjoyable score to do and we had most enjoyable sessions. We got a very, very excellent recording, which was done by my old friend Keith Grant at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London. We also recorded the 'Thunderbirds Are Go!' LP at the same studio although on this I used a 54-piece orchestra"