When you were young
And your heart was an open book
You used to say, "Live and let live."
(You know you did, you know you did, you know you did)
But if this ever changing world in which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die
- Paul McCartney and Wings, "Live and Let Die" (Apple, 1972)
On August 19, 2009, I saw the legendary Paul McCartney in concert at the brand new Cowboys Stadium (the first official stadium event after Arlington declared the stadium open earlier that summer). The two best performances of the night were "Helter Skelter" and "Live and Let Die." "Live and Let Die" was the greatest hit for any Bond song up to that point. "I remember what Paul told us," remembers Wings co-founder and original drummer Denny Seiwell,
...they wanted him to write the theme to the next James Bond movie, and they sent him the book to read. And we were up at the house one day and he had just read the book the night before, and he sat down at the piano and said, 'James Bond... James Bond... da-da-dum!', and he started screwing around at the piano. Within 10 minutes, he had that song written. It was awesome, really. Just to watch him get in there and write the song was really something I'll remember the rest of my life.
McCartney had originally been hired to write the song for someone else, but only agreed to do it if the Wings could record it. According to Roger Moore, Bond producer Harry Saltzman was unconvinced by the demo and asked Beatles long-time producer George Martin about who should be hired to sing the final version. Martin reminded Saltzman that Paul McCartney was one of the biggest recording artists of all time. This was the genius behind songs like "Hey Jude," "Blackbird," "Yesterday," "Helter Skelter," "The Fool on the Hill," and "Eleanor Rigby." The answer should have been obvious.
Even though it wouldn't be until 1985's "A View to a Kill" that we would have another James Bond rock song (they missed their chance with Alice Cooper and The Man With the Golden Gun), the union between a Beatle and James Bond left us with a timeless rock classic.
1. The video quality is poor, but the links are from the actual concert I attended.
2. Guns N' Roses recorded an incredible version that is almost as intense as the original.