Derek Watkins, 007 musician, dies

Derek Watkins

Derek Watkins

Derek Watkins, who frequently played trumpet on the scores of James Bond movies, has died, according to a series of Tweets by composer David Arnold.

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold
Very very sad news…the legend that was Derek Watkins,gentleman,musical genius and Trumpet on EVERY
Bond score has just passed away

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold
renowned as one of the finest Trumpet players in the world (LA session players often asked me about him) but he was mainly a lovely man

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold
He played on pretty much all of my scores and records….sublime playing,tasteful,supreme…and could hit notes others couldn’t get near

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold 4h
That will be a chair in the Trumpet section that will remain permanently empty….an irreplaceable musician and a down to earth,funny man

Arnold was composer on five James Bond movies, starting with Tomorrow Never Dies and running through Quantum of Solace. Watkins’s Web site has a long list of movie and TV credits.

UPDATE (March 23): Watkins, born in 1945, was just 17 when he played on Dr. No, beginning his long run performing on 007 scores. You can CLICK HERE to view his biography on his Web site.

UPDATE II (10:55 a.m., March 23): There is a Facebook page called DEREK WATKINS, THE TRUMPET LEGEND. It includes this post from his wife Wendy:

“A trumpet spreading a wondrous sound
Throughout the graves of all lands.
Will drive mankind before the Throne
Death and Nature shall be astonished”

It is with such sorrow that I have to tell you that my beloved husband died at 19.50 on 22 March. He was surrounded by his family telling him how much we loved him. His two year battle against cancer is over, he is at peace but we shall miss him so very much. His courage and strength over the past years have been an inspiration to everyone he met, and his music will live on for his future generations.


The HOME PAGE of Watkins’s official Web site now also has a tribute. Finally, some 007 Web sites have tried embedding one of the Skyfall videoblogs about the film’s music where Watkins is featured along with composer Thomas Newman. But those videos appear to have been blocked. But you can still see it by going to the VIDEOS PAGE of the official Web site.

UPDATE III (11:52 a.m.): The BBC’s Web page has an obituary you can view by CLICKING HERE. Meanwhile, other 007 bloggers inform us they’ve embedded versions of the video featuring Watkins works fine. So we’ll try to embed here:

007 by the numbers: crew members

Given this is the 50th anniversary of James Bond in the movies, we go to wondering about which crew members had worked the most on 007 films. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means and those listed didn’t necessarily get an on-screen credit. And because it’s still filming, we’ll exclude Skyfall. Anyway, here’s a sampling of crew members in Bondage:

Derek Watkins

Derek Watkins (musician, 1962-present): 22*. On his official Web site, the trumpet player lists all 22 of the 007 films made by Eon Productions among his credits. There is some question whether he played on 1979’s Moonraker, where the score was recorded in Paris and not the U.K. Film music expert Jon Burlingame has a book coming about James Bond film music and perhaps he’ll shed some light on this. For now, we’ll credit him with 22, with an asterisk.

Peter Lamont (draftsman, set decorator, art director, production designer, 1964-1995, 1999-2006): 18. Starting as a draftsman on Goldfinger, Lamont would eventually be responsible for all sets starting with 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. He skipped Tomorrow Never Dies so he could be production designer on Titanic, where he won an Oscar.

Albert R. Broccoli (presenter, producer, 1962-1995): 17. Co-founder of Eon Productions, he “presented” the first 17 films and had a producer’s credit on all but Thunderball (where Kevin McClory received the producer’s credit) and GoldenEye. Spent more than a decade in a sometimes stormy partnership with Harry Saltzman before taking full control of Eon.

Albert R. Broccoli, co-founder of Eon

Michael G. Wilson (extra, special assistant to the producer, executive producer, screenwriter, producer, 1964 and 1977-present): 14. Stepson of Cubby Broccoli. He initially went to work for Eon full-time as a lawyer, became involved in production work starting with The Spy Who Loved Me.

Richard Maibaum (screenwriter, 1962-1965, 1969-1971, 1974-77, 1981-1989): 13. Involved in scripting 13 of the first 16 in the Eon series, had worked previously with Cubby Broccoli and was one of the most influential crew members in establishing the film 007.

John Barry (arranger, The James Bond Theme; composer, 1962-1971, 1974, 1979, 1983-1987): 12. For Dr. No, the film 007 film, Barry arranged and added rifs to Monty Norman’s James Bond Theme. Starting with the second film, From Russia With Love, he became the preferred composer for Bond movies. He would do 11 scores, departing the series with 1987’s The Living Daylights.

Barbara Broccoli (executive assistant, assistant director, associate producer, producer): 10*. The daughter of Cubby Broccoli and Dana Wilson, her first on-screen credit was as executive assistant on 1983’s Octopussy, when she would have been 22. She promoted to associate producer with 1987’s The Living Daylights and became producer with 1995’s GoldenEye. According to her profile on, she was an uncredited second assistant director on Moonraker, when she would have been 18. If that’s correct, the count would go to 11.

Harry Saltzman (presenter, producer, 1962-1974): 9. The other co-founder of Eon and partner with Albert R. Broccoli during the first nine films of the series. Eventually, Saltzman and Broccoli traded off having the primary responsibility for a film (something that didn’t become generally known until the 1980s). Live And Let Die in 1973 was his last film as the primary producer, but he had at least some involvement with 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun. Was actively involved in developing scripts of the early Bond movies.