Both of these things are 50 years old today:
October 5, 1962 saw the premiere of the first James Bond movie Dr. No in London… and on that same day, a certain combo from Liverpool released their first single, “Love Me Do.”
It boggles the mind. This writer has to put all critical detachment aside to marvel at the unlikelihood of two such phenomena making their public debuts… on the same day. Obviously it was a good day to be in London. (Of course, was there any day during the 1960s that wasn’t a good time to be in London?)
What percentage of the world’s population has seen a James Bond movie during the last 50 years? How many people know and love the Beatles? The coincidental releases of 10/5/62 put me in mind of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for this year’s Summer Olympics, which argued for the enduring influence of British pop culture on the world. Point taken.
Dr. No opened in U.K. cinemas the following day, but wouldn’t be released in the U.S. until the following May (May 8th, to be precise), a seven-month gap that’s hard to imagine in this era of synchronized global releases.
Dr. No uses the James Bond theme (composed by Monty Norman and arranged by John Barry) over the opening title sequence. I can’t help wondering if that might be the only piece of music from 1962 that’s as well known today as the work of the Beatles.
Lennon and McCartney’s “Love Me Do” made it to #17 on the U.K. charts. It wasn’t released as a single in the U.S. until April 27, 1964, when America was in the grip of Beatlemania, and made it to #1 a month later.
The 23rd ‘official’ Bond movie Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig as 007, opens everywhere (as in, worldwide) November 9th. Four days later, remastered editions of the Beatles’ catalog will be rereleased on vinyl LPs. Happy 50th anniversary, lads!