The Beatles arrive in Hong Kong

More than 1,000 fans were waiting for The Beatles at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport when they arrived on 8 June. They were allowed to bypass customs and immigration procedures and were swiftly taken to the President Hotel in Kowloon, where they were booked to stay on the 15th floor.

At the hotel Paul McCartney and Neil Aspinall ordered a couple of Hong Kong’s 24-hour bespoke suits, a popular request among visitors to the then-British colony.

McCartney also tried to visit Kowloon, but was forced to return to the hotel after being recognised by fans. Jimmie Nicol, standing in for Ringo Starr on this early part of the world tour, felt no such restrictions and was able to wander around unbothered.

In the evening The Beatles had been expected to attend the Miss Hong Kong pageant, which was held in the hotel’s Convention Hall. The long journey from Amsterdam had left them tired and jet-lagged, and they turned down the invitation, a decision which caused tears among the contestants. Eventually John Lennon – never one to shy away from female encounters – went down to the hall to greet them.

The Beatles also held a press conference at the President Hotel.

Q: Mr Nicol, how do you feel being rushed into this vast world of publicity all at once?

Jimmie Nicol: It’s a most exciting experience.

John and George: Correct.

Q: According to the Newsweek article, George and Paul are supposed to have said that you people are ‘just a bunch of crummy musicians.’ How were you able to get to the top, then?

Paul McCartney: Who said we were?

John Lennon: You said.

George Harrison: We said.

Paul: I remember.

John: We told ’em we couldn’t play.

Paul: You said we were crummy.

George: Well, I dunno.

Paul: What’s that, George… What’s your answer?

John: You said in the paper you couldn’t play. How come you’ve got all that money?

George: We don’t profess to be good musicians. But, whatever it is, it sells. And, you know, we don’t know why.

Q: How did you pick the name ‘Beatles’?

George: John picked the name Beatles. Why did you pick the name Beatles, John?

John: It’s not my fault. It’s just a name by any other. But why does anybody pick any name, you know, ’cause it’s the one they like best.

Paul: Beatles seemed like a good name, at the time.

Q: Is it supposed to mean the crawly-crawly…

John: Well, you ought to see us at night.

George: That’s the double-e, crawly-crawly.

Paul: Crawly-crawly, you see. It’s a pun. Jolly good.

John: Pun, pun.

Q: Gentlemen, you’ve had a chance to see something of Asia’s beauty.

Paul: Lovely, yes.

Q: What’s your impression?

Paul: Lovely. Marvellous. Beautiful. Very good, isn’t it?

John: Yeah.

Paul: Very great. Marvellous. Love it.

Q: With all this travelling about, how do you get time to rehearse?

John: We don’t!

Q: You don’t rehearse?

John: We do, a bit. We rehearse with Jimmie ’cause he’s new.

Q: One of the reports made here was that you’d chosen Hong Kong yourselves. You’ve been offered several places and that you, yourselves had chosen Hong Kong. Is that true?

John: Yes.

Q: Why was that?

John: ’cause we wanted to see it.

Q: Any reports from other showbusiness personalities coming back?

John: All of them. All like it.

Paul: We heard a lot about it, anyway…

John: They all like it.

Paul: …since we were kids.

Travel: Amsterdam to Hong Kong
Mixing: A Hard Day's Night, Things We Said Today
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

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  1. Joe Monday 21 December 2009
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