Barry Gray (John Livesey Eccles)
BiographyBlackburn, Lancashire, England, UK
Although many reference sources inexplicably give Barry Gray's year of birth as 1925, he was in fact born John Livesey Eccles in Blackburn on 18 July 1908. His father John Haworth Eccles was a stationery traveller by profession, but both parents were said to be musically talented, and John Junior went to study at the Royal Manchester College of Music and at Blackburn Cathedral, learning composition from Matyas Seiber. His 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. Read more... 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. After several years as musical assistant to Eartha Kitt, Hoagy Carmichael and Vera Lynn, in 1956 he began a long and successful association with producers Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, scoring popular marionation series such as Twizzle, Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray and Thunderbirds. He continued to compose independently, sometimes using the pseudonyms John Livesey, Gene Durant or Martin Jerbourg (a character in Bergerac). Barry Gray himself 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. He died of heart disease at Guernsey's Princess Elizabeth Hospital on 26 April 1984, age 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.