FAITH NO MORE focus on the song 'Midnight Cowboy'
English composer John Barry OBE, who died in 2011, would have celebrated his 85th birthday on November 3rd. The Yorkshire born musician was most recognised for his film scores including the legendary James Bond theme.
Faith No More recorded their faithful and wonderfully graceful version of Barry’s movie theme from Midnight Cowboy in early 1992 for their fourth album Angel Dust.
Recording the instrumental track was Bill Gould’s idea who went “through some strange period where I was listening nonstop to an old San Francisco pop radio station called Magic 61”.
"It was pretty much Billy's idea he's into easy listening, I like it too. It's again a really hyper beautiful piece that's a real challenge to put down. I think in a way some of softest music you hear in like elevators is also some of the heaviest. It's really profound and powerful in a way that loud rock can't be." - Roddy Bottum 1992
In a departure from the digital keyboard sounds on the majority of AD, Roddy used an accordion to capture the song’s intoxicating lead melody.
"I'm really pleased with the cover we did of 'Midnight Cowboy', because that's taken us into one direction that we've never gone before. That's the way of the future, easy listening is where it's at. We're going to come out real soon with an EP of music for elevators." - Roddy Bottum 1992
Mike Bordin agreed that the majestic slow tempo ballad was the perfect ending to Angel Dust which was in itself the most eclectic and diverse record in FNM’s catalog.
“Midnight Cowboy to me, a friend told me this and I think it's appropriate. She sat down and heard the whole record, the first song she said was a pretty great opening track, it's energetic. And at the end when MC came on she said this was exactly like taking a really great roller coaster. The first song your starting off and zooming off, the end of the ride when you've been upside down and thrown up, comes back down and you're slowing down." - Mike Bordin 1992
Fans were to hear the song as a prelude to AD as it was included as a b-side on the single release of Midlife Crisis on May 26th 1992.
The original was recorded by Barry in 1969 for the Oscar winning film of the same name directed by John Schlesinger, starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman.
The song won a Grammy for best instrumental theme and featured harmonica by Toots Thielemans, but on its album version it was played by Tommy Reilly.
Even though Midnight Cowboy featured on AD in 92 it wasn’t until 1997 that the band performed the song live. Towards the end of touring their sixth record Album Of The Year their version was unexpectedly added to the set as an opening song with Mike Patton playing the lead melody on a Melodica, this performance would return at select shows during their Second Coming tour beginning in 2009.
John Barry never spoke of the FNM version of his composition, however we are sure he would have approved.