Born in York, Barry spent his early years working in cinemas owned by his father. During his National Service in Cyprus, Barry began performing as a musician having learned to play the trumpet. Upon completing his national service, he formed his own band in 1957, The John Barry Seven. He later developed an interest in composing and arranging music making his début for television in 1958. He came to the notice of the makers of the first James Bond film Dr. No, who were dissatisfied with a theme for James Bond given to them by Monty Norman. This started a successful association between Barry and Eon Productions which lasted for 25 years.