Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 12 January 2019

The Beatles and Bond

In which G.M. Norton looks at the close links between two 1960s icons.

I know what you're thinking, dear reader. Norty is getting quite obsessed with James Bond. And I agree with you.

But did you know that James Bond shares a few interesting links to my favourite band of all time, The Beatles?

You are probably aware of a few obvious ones but please allow me to run through them, in no particular order.


On the 5th October 1962, the very first James Bond film, Dr No was released in Britain. On this momentous of days, The Beatles released their first single, Love Me Do.

Incidentally, the 5th October was first day in paid employment. Although this was 1998, rather than 1962.


Moving on, The Beatles record producer Sir George Martin has a producing credit for the Goldfinger theme tune sung by Shirley Bassey.


In Goldfinger, Bond is disparaging about The Beatles to Shirley Eaton, before being promptly knocked unconscious by everybody's favourite Korean henchman, Oddjob.

"My dear girl, there are some things that just aren't done; such as drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That's as bad as listening to The Beatles without earmuffs."

Oddjob was clearly a big fan of The Beatles too, but suffocating poor Shirley in gold paint was going too far.


In fact, Sean Connery who uttered that line about The Beatles is actually quite a big fan of the band. So much so that he recorded a cover of 'In My Life.'

While I should like this, I can't resist saying that there are some things that just aren't done; such as listening to this without earmuffs.


As The Beatles were rather wealthy young men, as well as driving around in a Mini (which was my first motorcar), they also dashed about in Aston Martin cars. Just like Bond.


In The Beatles' first foray into film with A Hard Day's Night, there's a gambling scene where Sir Paul McCartney's very clean fictional grandfather is in a London casino. This was Le Cercle, where audiences first witnessed Sean Connery deliciously say, "Bond, James Bond".


Draped over Macca's grandfather, who was played by Wilfred Brambell, is the very alluring Margaret Nolan. Margaret played Dink at the beginning of Goldfinger, which was released two months after A Hard Day's Night.


Another actor also appears in both A Hard Day's Night and Goldfinger. Step forward Richard Vernon, who played a city gent in The Beatles when they are on the train. You may remember him in Goldfinger as Colonel Smithers from the Bank of England, who meets with Bond and M while indulging in a "rather disappointing brandy".

"Why, what is the matter with it?" asks M.

Bond, always ready to show off, lectures: "I'd say it was a 30 year old fined and indifferently blended, Sir...with an overdose of bon bois."

M: "Colonel Smithers is giving the lecture, 007".


The Beatles follow-up film, Help! was clearly Bond inspired with globetrotting, espionage, exotic beauties and mad scientists.


Bond and The Beatles well and truly jump into bed together when Paul McCartney penned the theme tune for the 1973 Bond caper, Live and Let Die. With Sir Roger Moore making his debut as 007, this was also the first film that didn't a John Barry soundtrack, with the honour going to Beatles producer George Martin.


Then to wrap things up, a Beatle then walked down the aisle with a Bond girl. The happy couple are of course Mr Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach, who starred as Triple X alongside the dimple-chinned Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me.

So, there you have it. Peace and love.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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