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Film composer David Arnold seems to have risen to prominence with unnerving swiftness, but this is in fact an illusion, as Arnold spent many years paying his dues by writing scores for English television and documentary film projects, many of them produced or directed by his lifelong friend Danny Cannon. In between times, Arnold tried out for the Clash and the Waterboys, but failed to get the gigs. Cannon made the move to feature directing with the 1993 film The Young Americans, tapping Arnold to provide the score. Arnold, in turn, co-wrote "Play Dead" with Iceland's Björk, giving the film a British Top Ten hit. Cannon went on to Judge Dredd, while Arnold visited Los Angeles with a copy of The Young Americans. The net result of that visit was the assignment to score Roland Emmerich's Stargate.
Arnold's grandiose score for Stargate drew both positive and negative critical attention, in part because of Arnold's attention to traditional methods and styles of motion picture scoring. The music was created to be almost wall-to-wall, strong on melody. Arnold went on to score The Last of the Dogmen in a more sedate manner, following that with a score for Cutthroat Island that ended up, like much else with that film, being thrown out. Going into 1996, he was once again working for Emmerich and Dean Devlin on a wall-to-wall orchestral score for Independence Day, providing music that was delivered on an equal scale to the visuals of the film. 1997 saw him composing the theme to the short-lived The Visitor TV series and acting as the music director and composer for A Life Less Ordinary, a score that once again saw him writing more sedate music.
The big news for 1997, however, was Arnold's assignment to score Tomorrow Never Dies, the second Pierce Brosnan-starring James Bond film. Arnold's score drew uniform praise, though the Sheryl Crow title song, produced without Arnold's participation, was derided. A second song, performed by k.d. lang and produced/co-written by Arnold, received a great deal of praise and some degree of success. Arnold also produced a James Bond music tribute called Shaken and Stirred, featuring Propellerheads and others. In 1998, Arnold worked on his next major score project -- the Roland Emmerich remake of Godzilla.
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, the 1998 film Godzilla and the television series Little Britain and Sherlock.
Film and television career 
While attending a Sixth Form College in Luton, Arnold became friends with director Danny Cannon. Cannon initially created short films for which Arnold 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.
Arnold then composed 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 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.
He is a member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA).
On Thursday 29th November 2012, Arnold received an honorary degree from University of West London. Now a university honorary, he will work closely with the University in particular London College of Music, a faculty within the institute.
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." Barry contacted Barbara Broccoli, producer of the then-upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, to recommend Arnold as the film's composer.
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. Arnold did not score the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, with Thomas Newman taking his place. Arnold commented that Newman had been selected by the film's director, Sam Mendes, because of their work together, rather than because of Arnold's commitment to working with director Danny Boyle as composer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, a part of his composition on Casino Royale (2006 film) has been reused in Skyfall.
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.
In May 2011, he was part of the United Kingdom's jury for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011.
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.
He is not related to another British musician, David Arnold (conductor).