Monty Norman - The first man of James Bond music
In 1961 Monty wrote the music and lyrics for Belle or The Ballad of Doctor Crippen. Wolf Mankowitz wrote the book and was also the producer. They raised all the money for the show at a Sunday afternoon audition attended by top British and American film producers, stage impresarios and money men. Among them was Cubby Broccoli who was so enamoured with the show he became a substantial financial backer.
Unfortunately, the show only lasted seven weeks. The critics were vitriolic about a black comedy musical with a notorious murderer as its hero - this was well before 'The Phantom Of The Opera', 'Little Shop Of Horrors' and 'Sweeny Todd' and they just weren't ready for it.
One of the worst reviews was from Bernard Levin in the Daily Express. The cast carried a coffin down Fleet Street and handed it in at the Express Building. But through it all, Cubby Broccoli reiterated his admiration for the show and especially, for Monty's work.
Not long after, Broccoli asked Monty to meet him and his new partner Harry Saltzman in their office in Mayfair - notable for the two large desks where the titans sat facing each other. They had acquired the rights of Ian Flemingis James Bond novels and were planning to make them into films. The first was going to be DR NO and because of Broccoli's admiration for Monty's score of BELLE he was asked to write the music.