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Remembering the Beatles visit to Hong Kong

PAUL MCCARTNEY, by far the most acclaimed of all pop musicians, recently turned 80.

Eight facts of local interest:

1) Paul, John and George (Ringo was ill) visited Hong Kong on June 8, 1964.

2) In their suite at the President hotel, Kowloon, they found a smiling lady, said to be a mistress of the previous guest, President Sukarno. She’d waited to meet them.

3) The flight had taken 24 hours, with multiple refuelling stops, and they were so exhausted Paul and George went straight to sleep. John went to judge a beauty contest.

4) Paul woke up and wanted one of Hong Kong’s famous 24-hour handmade suits—the tailor came to him.

5) Later, Paul tried to sneak out of the hotel to explore, but there were so many fans waiting for him that he retreated.

6) The two shows they played were not sold out – but that was because tickets were priced at HK$75: a week’s wages.

7) Paul bought a wristwatch for each arm—one on English time “for when I ring me dad”.

8) Just before they left to get on a plane at Kai Tak to go to Sydney, Paul’s suit was delivered: a perfect fit with then-fashionable “drainpipe” trousers.


Everyone knows Paul’s most famous songs, such as Let It Be, Hey Jude, Yesterday, and Eleanor Rigby.

But his BEST songs are often tucked away on albums and b-sides, in this writer’s opinion. Here are my pick of the greatest Paul McCartney songs most people have never heard

1) Return to Pepperland (1987)

Melodic, wacky pure Beatles magic only available as a bootleg.

2) English Tea (2005)

The sort of happy song you listen to with your mom and hum for a week.

3) Spin It On (1979)

This punk metal screamer has to be listened to at floor-shaking volume while shaking your hair (if available).

4) I Must Do Something About It (1976)

Best song ever written about introversion and procrastination

5) Golden Earth Girl (1993)

A tender piano ballad like Let It Be but far richer and more complex

6) I’m Down (1965)

Originally a B-side, this classic rock screamer was the video highlight of the Shea Stadium concert

7) Distractions (1989)

Musically complex love song that makes the hairs on your arms stand up

8) She’s a Woman (1964)

Another B-side rocker,  now considered a blues classic

9) Junk (1970)

Just voice and guitar, but ethereal

10) Beautiful Night (1997)

Paul and Ringo song with a Beatles feel


Bonus: Want a song to express your love for someone?

Five classic love songs only McCartney could have written:

1) Warm and Beautiful

2) This Never Happened Before

3) Only Love Remains

4) I’m Carrying

5) She’s My Baby

All the above are easy to find and worth a listen. And if anyone reading this was present at the 1964 concerts, do write to tell us about them.

Images at the top from historical sources

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