When James Bond Dissed the Beatles
Early followers of counterculture in the U.K. enjoyed a notable day on Oct. 5, 1962. That’s when the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” was released; it's also the day the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, opened in theaters.
Both would have an impact on global culture in the years that followed, with the Beatles representing a new form of musical expression while Sean Connery’s 007 pioneered the attitudes of the sexual revolution.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing – especially when the suave spy dissed the Fab Four two years after their arrival.
In a scene from Goldfinger in 1964, Bond is entertaining a woman in a bedroom when he realizes their champagne has become too warm. As he fetches a replacement, he explains, “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.”
Watch James Bond Talk About the Beatles in ‘Goldfinger’
Perhaps predictably, given that both were central to the ‘60s lifestyle, Bond and the Beatles would cross paths a number of times. In their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night, released just months before Goldfinger, a scene takes place in the casino seen in Dr. No. The scene features actress Margaret Nolan, whose next appearance was as Dink in Goldfinger. Another actor, Richard Vernon, appears in both movies.
There are more similarities in the second Beatles film, the spy spoof Help!, which includes a Bond-like plot about Ringo Starr being pursued for a rare diamond ring. In 1981, Starr married Barbara Bach, who played Anya in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me.
There were backstage connections too. While both Paul McCartney and George Harrison owned Aston Martin cars, the vehicle favored by Connery’s 007, John Lennon took the connection even further. He married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar in 1969, seven years after Connery had married first wife, Diane Cilento, in the same place. In 2008, a character called Strawberry Fields – a nod to the Beatles' classic “Strawberry Fields Forever” – appeared alongside Daniel Craig’s Bond in Quantum of Solace.
Musical connections were also made over the years. In 1972, McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” became one of the most popular Bond themes of all time and gave Macca the opportunity to work with producer George Martin once again. Martin was connected with several Bond soundtracks and, later, completing the circle, Martin’s 1998 album, In My Life, features a spoken-word version of the Beatles track of the same name, voiced by none other than Connery.
Listen to Sean Connery Narrate ‘In My Life’