The author is John Higgs, and the subtitle is Bond, the Beatles and the British Psyche. I loved this book, and reading it induced me to order the author’s other books, the ultimate compliment. It is not for everyone, nor is it easy to describe, but imagine the stories of The Beatles and James Bond films told as “parallel careers.” After all, “Love Me Do” and Dr. No were released on the same day in 1962.
It is striking that they have been making James Bond films for sixty years now, and every single one of them has made money. We are still talking about the Beatles too. Will anything from current Britain have such staying power?
From the book here is one excerpt:
Had Paul not then finally found success outside the band, it is possible they may have agreed to a reunion. The success of ‘Live and Let Die’, followed by the album Band on the Run, made Paul McCartney and Wings a going concern at exactly the point when a Beatles reunion looked most plausible. Bond didn’t kill the Beatles, but it is a strange irony that once they had split , he kept them dead.
I hadn’t known that the Soviet edition of the Band on the Run album replaced the title track with “Silly Love Songs” as the lead song, as the lyrics to the “Band on the Run” song were considered too subversive. There is for instance talk of a prison break in the song. And when Paul much later performed a short solo concert for Vladimir Putin, he chose to play “Let It Be.”
The book excels in its portraits of George Harrison, especially in his solo career. I enjoyed this tidbit about the Harrison family:
In 1978, George married Olivia Arias and in the same year they had a son, Dhani. Dhani only discovered his father’s past when he was at school. ‘I came home one day from school after being chased by kids singing “Yellow Submarine”, and I didn’t understand why,’ he has said. ‘It just seemed surreal: why are they singing that song to me? I came home and freaked out to my dad: “Why didn’t you tell me you were in the Beatles?” And he said: “Oh, sorry. Probably should have told you that.” It’s impossible to imagine, John, Paul or Ringo neglecting to mention they were in the Beatles to their children.
Recommended, for me at least.