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60 Years Ago: The Beatles and James Bond Debut on the Same Day

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    60 Years Ago: The Beatles and James Bond Debut on the Same Day

    What a day in cultural history!


    #2
    Five favourite Beatles songs:

    05) While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    04) Strawberry Fields Forever
    03) Get Back
    02) Let it Be
    01) Hey Jude

    Five favourite Bond movies:

    05) Goldeneye
    04) Casino Royale
    03) From Russia With Love
    ​​​02) Skyfall
    01) Goldfinger

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      #3
      5th October 1962.

      I was 10 months old. Oblivious to spies and groovy music. My father signed the official secrets act to work in the Department of Defence durin' the Cold War. Russian spies were kicked out of Canberra. The Petrov Affair.


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      Soon aware of pop music on the radio. The first song I liked was I Saw Her Standin' There. Then as I entered my teens Wings became important. Saw my first Bond at a cinema, Live and Let Die with Paul's
      theme song grabbed me as well as Wing's theme for TV's Zoo Gang.

      Still enjoy the Bonds. Beatles, group and solo. Great soft power for Britain certainly. How funny to circle back with conflict with the Russkies.

      Upliftin' music and hero-journey narratives are still important to people. The sense of purpose. As well as Entertainment. Wonderful 60's period for Britain as it came out of the WW2's austerity. Helped by American rebuildin' in Europe. More education in all regions and economic classes. Music education. Access to orchestras. Theatre. Film studios. A rich culture of history, modernism and optimism. Opportunities for creative people. Mass media. BBC. All deliverin' pop culture for the world.

      Hasn't seen such a moment. Britpop and Cool Britannia tried. Oasis. Blur. Kate Moss. Tony Blair. Spice Girls. Tried but was only a photocopy.
      Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 10-05-2022, 11:27 PM.

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        #4
        There is a whole book about this called Love and Let Die by John Higgs which has just been published.

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          #5
          Fun article. Astonishing all the "links" between the Beatles and 007.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post
            What a day in cultural history!
            Well THAT was interesting. I will take Bond for the Win as I consider 'Love Me Do' as one of their worst songs.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Gary Betts View Post
              There is a whole book about this called Love and Let Die by John Higgs which has just been published.


              Love and Let Die by John Higgs review – Fab Four plus 007 doesn’t quite add up

              Death becomes him: Sean Connery in 1962’s Dr No. Photograph: United Artists/Allstar
              This Bond versus the Beatles study works best as a series of lively historical nuggets rather than a fight for the nation’s cultural soul Matthew Reisz Mon 5 Sep 2022 18.00 AEST

              83
              It is a curious fact that the Beatles’ debut single, Love Me Do, and the first James Bond film, Dr No, were both released on Friday 5 October 1962. No one could have predicted that we would still be thrilled by the band’s music six decades later, or that the film franchise would still be going strong. John Higgs, however, had the intriguing idea of exploring their creation, development and afterlives in parallel.

              Though he inevitably covers some well-trodden territory, much of the detail is poignant and entertaining. In the early days of Beatlemania, Ringo Starr’s house was surrounded by fans 24 hours a day. His mother, Elsie, politely offered them sandwiches – which they took away, uneaten, as souvenirs. A friend admitted it was “awkward, particularly as the toilet was still in the yard”. The rulers of the Soviet Union, anxious about the rise of western youth culture, made strenuous efforts to discredit the Beatles. One article depicted them as monkeys and called them “Dung Beatles”, while a propaganda film, reports Higgs, bizarrely “intercut unflattering photographs of [the band] together with images of the Ku Klux Klan, ecstatic pop fans dancing, burning crosses and images of rural poverty from the American south”.

              When American censors objected to the name of the character Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, they were reassured by pictures of the actor Honor Blackman at the UK premiere with Prince Philip. When the Australian model George Lazenby was auditioning for the part of Bond in the late 1960s, the producers sent sex workers to his hotel room to check that he wasn’t gay.


              Ringo Starr with his mum, Elsie, and stepfather, Harry, in their new house in Liverpool, March 1964. Photograph: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy
              Love and Let Die works well as a collection of sharp and pacy stories, though it is a pity Higgs has a weakness for grandiose flourishes. There were “truths in [the] screaming” of the girls at early Beatles concerts, he writes, “that many religions have yet to grasp”. He also offers us a bold overarching thesis, based on Freud’s idea of the conflict between Eros and Thanatos, that “while the Beatles represent love, James Bond represents death. What makes Bond different from other spies is that he has a licence to kill.”

              It is clearly true that Bond and Beatles embody different attitudes to class, privilege, violence, masculinity and Englishness. But Higgs wants to go much further and claim that they are engaged in a kind of permanent struggle for the soul of [British] culture”.
              It makes a kind of sense to say that 'the Beatles represent love', but what about Higgs’s notion that the Bond films are 'about selling people death'?

              “When we cheer on Bond,and fantasise about living his life,” he argues, we “unconsciously find ourselves supporting the powers that be … The spell was massively weakened, however, by the arrival of the Beatles.” Once the Beatles had broken up, the Bond of the early 1970s “continued to insistthat he and the British establishment were the best in the world. And now … there was nothing of equal stature to contradict him.”

              None of this is very plausible. There has been a vast amount of pushback against the politics and sexual politics of Bond’s world that has not needed to evoke the Beatles as a counterweight. And many people clearly enjoy the films for the suits, stunts, hedonism and exotic locations, and the “sophistication” of a hero who can’t resist telling bar staff how to make the best martini, without buying into their values. Higgs himself cites the interesting case of 007 (Shanty Town), a 1967 song by Desmond Dekker, the voice of the new post-independence Jamaica, which offered “a strange mixof topical political reportage and Bond fandom”. It is safe to assume that he had no time for what the book describes as “post-imperial fantasies of British exceptionalism”.

              It no doubt makes a kind of sense to say that “the Beatles represent love”, though love is hardly an unusual topic for songs, but what about Higgs’s notion that the Bond films are “about selling people death”? It is true that women tend to die after sleeping with 007, that some of the films feature terrifying stunts and that the producers have a knack for tapping into current fears, most recently about surveillance, hacking and nanotechnology. Yet much of the franchise treats violence and death in a cartoonish style far less visceral and disturbing than in the average TV cop show. Higgs himself mentions the scene in Diamonds Are Forever featuring “an almost uncountable number of police cars smashing into each other – often followed by a shot of their unharmed drivers exiting the cars and throwing their hats to the ground in frustration … people usually survive car accidents in the James Bond universe”.

              Higgs is a lively writer and has assembled many intriguing nuggets from six decades of British popular culture. I remain unconvinced that the eternal battle between Eros and Thanatos provides the key to them all.

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                #8
                Five favourite Beatles songs:

                05) Dear Prudence
                04) Getting Better

                03) Lovely Rita
                02) Across The Universe
                01) Baby You’re A Rich Man

                Five favourite Bond movies:

                05) Man With The Golden Gun
                04) Live And Let Die
                03) Diamonds Are Forever

                ​​​02) You Only Live Twice
                01) Thunderball


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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
                  When the Australian model George Lazenby was auditioning for the part of Bond in the late 1960s, the producers sent sex workers to his hotel room to check that he wasn’t gay.
                  Now that would be a porno film worth watching.
                  Shaken - not stirred.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Spiritual Architect View Post

                    Now that would be a porno film worth watching.
                    Shaken - not stirred.
                    We've been expectin' you, Mister Bond. 😍

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                      #11
                      Bond hit the books in 1953. They are very good.
                      And except for 'Thunderball', they are different from the later films.
                      Talk about escapism, they are part travel log, part menu.
                      I would be surprised if our resident book worm (that's you Ash) has not read them all.
                      If you like Bond and you like fun, fast reads, you should try one.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
                        We've been expectin' you, Mister Bond. 😍
                        I thought Lazenby was great in that movie, though I could have done without those slow, skirt scenes.
                        I think he got paid literally a million pounds for doing it - his first film - and he gave it all away to charity.
                        And then Sean said, "Hey, I'll do it again for a million pounds."
                        And then he too gave it all away to charity.

                        And of course 'Her Majesties' has the BEST Bond ending of all of them.

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