Paul McCartney flies to Los Angeles

With the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band all but complete, Paul McCartney decided to take a flight to America to surprise his girlfriend Jane Asher on her 21st birthday. At the time she was touring the United States with the Old Vic Company, performing Romeo And Juliet.

Shortly after midnight The Beatles’ assistant Mal Evans arrived at McCartney’s house at 7 Cavendish Avenue, London. McCartney, accustomed to working late on Sgt Pepper, went to bed at 3.30am but was up early when decorators arrived to work on the house.

Shortly afterwards two officials from Air France arrived to take McCartney and Evans to London Airport, from where they flew to Paris-Orly Airport. There they caught a connecting flight to Los Angeles.

McCartney’s US visa had expired but American customs and immigration officials in Los Angeles sorted out the paperwork within 30 minutes. Then a private Lear jet – reportedly hired from Frank Sinatra, but bearing an NBC News logo – took the pair to San Francisco. The plane was used for the duration of the trip, which lasted until 12 April 1967.

Both McCartney and Evans brought with them Canon 8mm home cinema cameras, and documented the events over the next few days. McCartney’s was later stolen by fans, but Evans’ footage survived.

The Lear jet arrived in San Francisco in the early hours of 4 April. McCartney and Asher were reunited on the following day.

Last updated: 30 December 2010
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