John Barry: Midnight Cowboy

Melancholy music for a melancholy movie - John Barry's Bond bravura takes a back seat with this harmonica-led classic.

John Barry might be known for a heavy reliance on strings and brass in his film soundtracks, but ~Midnight Cowboy~ is evidence of an experimental side. The strings make an appearance eventually, but the most striking aspect of the tune is the meandering harmonica solo. In 1970, the theme (sans harmonica) was covered by Ferrante & Teicher and reached number 10 in the US pop chart.

The film itself, which is often hailed as an American classic, is perfectly matched in melancholy tone by Barry's soundtrack. As the narrative follows the two main characters, played by John Voight and Dustin Hoffman, so the music gradually sweeps around them until the movie's poignant climax. After that, when the credits roll, it's surprising to note that despite his heavy involvement in the soundtrack, Barry received no on-screen credit whatsoever.