David Arnold

David Arnold
Birth name David Arnold
Born 23 January 1962 (1962-01-23) (age 49)
Luton, Beds, UK
Genres Film score
Occupations Composer
Instruments Clarinet, guitar, piano
Years active 1993–present

David Arnold (born 23 January 1962) is an English film composer best known for scoring five James Bond films, the 1994 film Stargate, the 1996 film Independence Day, and the television series Little Britain.


Film and television career

While attending a Sixth Form College in Luton, Arnold became friends with director Danny Cannon.[1] Danny initially created short films for which David was asked to write the music. The two made their respective major film debuts with The Young Americans. "Play Dead", a song from the film with singer Björk, charted #12 in the UK. The following year he scored Stargate and Last of the Dogmen, with excerpts from the former ranking third in the most commonly used soundtrack cues for film trailers.[2]

Arnold would then go on to compose music for Stargate director Roland Emmerich's next two movies, Independence Day and Godzilla, as well as four movies for director John Singleton. In addition, he has also scored various comedies, dramas, and nineteenth-century period pieces, as well as providing music for several British television shows including the 2000 remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Little Britain. During film production, his compositions are conducted by Nicholas Dodd. In 2010, he composed the music for Come Fly With Me, a British television series from the producers of Little Britain.

James Bond

Arnold was a Bond fan from an early age and also a fan of Bond composer John Barry. In 1997, Arnold produced Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, an album featuring new versions of the themes from various James Bond films. The album featured a variety of contemporary artists including Jarvis Cocker, Chrissie Hynde, Propellerheads and Iggy Pop; a version of You Only Live Twice by Björk was recorded but not included on the album. John Barry, the composer of many of the themes on the album, was complimentary about Arnold's interpretation of his work; "He was very faithful to the melodic and harmonic content, but he's added a whole other rhythmic freshness and some interesting casting in terms of the artists chosen to do the songs. I think it's a terrific album. I'm very flattered."[3] Barry contacted Barbara Broccoli, producer of the then-upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, to recommend Arnold as the film's composer.[4]

Arnold was hired to score the installment, and he has since scored the four subsequent films; The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.[5] Arnold also co-wrote the main theme songs for The World Is Not Enough ("The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage) and Casino Royale ("You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell) as well as "Surrender" by k.d. lang which appears during the end credits of Tomorrow Never Dies. Arnold also contributed the main themes to Kevin Kiner's score for Activision's GoldenEye 007, the remake of the 1997 game of the same name.

Other work

He has collaborated with such musical acts as Cast, The Cardigans, Kaiser Chiefs, Massive Attack, and Pulp, and solo artists Natasha Bedingfield, Melanie C, Björk, Chris Cornell, Shirley Manson, Mark Morriss and in 2009 produced Shirley Bassey's album 'The Performance.'

In 2001, he provided a new arrangement of Ron Grainer's Doctor Who theme music for the Eighth Doctor audio dramas from Big Finish Productions. His version was used as the Eighth Doctor theme starting with 2001's Storm Warning until 2008, when it was replaced with a new version arranged by Nicholas Briggs starting with Dead London.

Arnold is the second cousin of Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, and is an ambassador for aid agency CARE International in the UK. He has made minor appearances in two different episodes of Little Britain as separate characters.

In February 2011, it was announced that he was appointed Musical Director for the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.[6]

Arnold took part in a tribute to John Barry on 20 June 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, singing a song that was composed by Barry and playing the guitar part of the James Bond theme.[7] See a link to video of Arnold's performance of The James Bond Theme below.



  • Won: Grammy Award – Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television – Independence Day
  • Nominated: BAFTA Award – Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music – Casino Royale
  • Nominated: Grammy Award – Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media – You Know My Name from Casino Royale (songwriter)


  1. ^ "David Arnold". soundtrack.net. Archived from the original on 2008-01-04. http://web.archive.org/web/20080104145454/http://moviemusicuk.us/darnold.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Top 100 Frequently Used Cues". soundtrack.net. http://www.soundtrack.net/trailers/frequent. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  3. ^ Burlingame, Jon (1997-12-18). "Bonding with the Score: David Arnold blends the traditional with the modern in music for 'Tomorrow Never Dies.'". Los Angeles Times (Times Mirror Company). 
  4. ^ Macnee, Patrick (Narrator). The Bond Sound: The Music of 007 (DVD (Documentary)). 
  5. ^ "David Arnold Back For 'Bond 22'". commanderbond.net. http://commanderbond.net/article/4582. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  6. ^ "James Bond composer David Arnold will be 2012 musical director". The Telegraph (London). February 18, 2011. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/cultural-olympiad/8332882/James-Bond-composer-David-Arnold-will-be-2012-musical-director.html/. Retrieved February 22, 2011. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Composer John Barry remembered at memorial concert". BBC. 2011-06-21. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13777242. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ David Arnold still optimistic about Bond 23

External links

Preceded by
Éric Serra
James Bond film score composer
Succeeded by

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