Saturday 24 February 2018

Year of Bond, the Beatles and of Marilyn's birthday song

1962 was a year of seismic cultural changes and fear of mutually assured destruction, recalls David Robson

IT was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Fifty years ago on Friday, the first James Bond film, Dr No, had its world premiere at the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus, a glamorous event launching an obsession that is still with us. The following day Love Me Do, the Beatles' first single, was released rather more quietly. It became a top 20 hit -- it got to No 17 -- largely because their manager Brian Epstein had bought 10,000 copies, most of which remained unsold.

Prompted by hundreds of requests from Liverpool, Love Me Do got its first airing on Radio Luxembourg. George Harrison sat at home by the wireless all evening with his mother waiting to hear it. She had given up and gone to bed when he rushed upstairs shouting: "We're on, we're on."

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