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Beatles Interviews Database: Beatles Press Conference: Hong Kong 6/8/1964
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In the morning hours of June 7th 1964, with Ringo Starr resting in a London hospital, the Beatles and Jimmy Nicol flew from Amsterdam to London. From there, they boarded a cruelly long flight from London to Hong Kong, with refueling stops in Zurich, Beirut, the Pakistani capital of Karachi, Calcutta and Bangkok. Screaming fans and Beatlemania greeted them at each stop along this incredible journey. The Beatles arrived at Kai Tak Airport in Kowloon, Hong Kong on the morning of June 8th.

Weary from 24 hours of air travel, and resting in their rooms, the Beatles had declined an invitation to attend the Miss Hong Kong Pageant being held within the President Hotel where the group was staying. Eventually deciding it was better not to risk disappointing anyone, John Lennon made a quick appearance at the pageant. The Beatles then appeared for the following June 8th press conference, which also was held within the President Hotel. Australian disc jockey Bob Rogers, who would travel with and interview the Beatles during their entire Australasian tour, was also in attendance at the press conference.

While the three more-famous Beatles were far too recognizable to venture very far without being mobbed by their Hong Kong fans, Jimmy Nicol found it very easy to sightsee and shop during their stay. Paul attempted to enjoy some low-key freedom out on the town, but in the end was forced to end his Hong Kong shopping spree early and return to the hotel.

The next day on June 9th, the Beatles would give two performances at the Princess Theatre in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Opening acts included the Maori Hi-Five -- a rock and roll showband from New Zealand, and Sounds Incorporated -- an instrumental back-up group utilized by singers such as Little Richard and Gene Vincent. Sounds Incorporated would tour frequently as opening act for the Beatles. A few years later in 1967, Sounds Incorporated would be invited by George Martin, at the insistance of John Lennon, to perform as the horn section on the track 'Good Morning Good Morning' for the Sgt. Pepper album.

Following the concerts at the Princess Theatre, not impressed by Beatlemania or the Western influences that the commotion promoted, Hong Kong's Chinese language newspapers printed negative reviews that condemned the behavior of the fans; focusing more on the public reaction than on the group or their music. Be that as it may, nothing would be able to dissuade the Beatles' strong Hong Kong fanbase.

The Beatles had a limited chance to catch up on rest the next day, sleeping in on June 10th before hopping another long flight -- this one to Sydney, Australia.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

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

JIMMY: "It's a most exciting experience."

JOHN & GEORGE: (jokingly) "Correct."

BOB ROGERS: (giggling) "Correct... which is a Beatles password, I think, everytime a question is asked, as unanimous agreement with a shout of 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: "Who said we were?"

RINGO: "You said."

GEORGE: "We said."

PAUL: "I remember."

JOHN: (giggling) "We told 'em we couldn't play."

PAUL: (jokingly, to George) "You said we were crummy."


GEORGE: "Well, I dunno."

PAUL: (jokingly) "What's that, George... What's your answer?"

JOHN: (loudly, jokingly) "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, 'cuz 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: (mock-upperclass dialect) "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. Marvelous. Beautiful. Very good, isn't it?"

JOHN: "Yeah."

PAUL: "Very great. Marvelous. Love it."

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

JOHN: (giggling) "We don't!"

Q: "You don't rehearse?"

JOHN: "We do, a bit. We rehearse with Jimmy 'cuz 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: "'Cuz we wanted to see it."

Q: "Any reports from other show business 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."

Q: "What sort of journey did you have on the way up?"

PAUL: "Very bad. Well, it wasn't a bad journey, it was just so long, you know."

Q: "Are you going to, whilst you're here, take a look at some of the poverty that exists in Hong Kong?"

JOHN: (jokingly) "Not if we can help it."


PAUL: "Yes, there's a lot."

GEORGE: "But we don't have time, anyway. And we'd probably be stuck in the hotel."

PAUL: "We'd go and see the good bits, you know. (pause, then quietly) They're capitalists."

Q: "Why did you choose to come to Hong Kong before Manila and Japan?"

JOHN: "Well, nobody asked me to go to Manila and Japan. (to the others) Did they ask you?"


JOHN: "Where is Manila?"


JOHN: (jokingly) "Well, how am I to know where they are?"

GEORGE: "It's just down..."

PAUL: "It's just as popular as Hong Kong."

JOHN: "Is it?"

GEORGE: (to John) "It's just hanging off the bottom."

JOHN: "Oh, that one."

PAUL: "We're not very good at geography."

Q: "Are you going to do any shopping while you're in Hong Kong?"

JOHN & PAUL: "Yes."

Q: "What were you feeling when, after your big success in the States, that an old-timer like Louie Armstrong finally displaced you at number one with 'Hi Dolly'?"

PAUL: "Well, when you've got to go, you've got to go. And we might as well go woth Louie Armstrong as anyone else, mightn't you. He's a good lad."


Q: "Are you thinking of recording 'Hi Dolly?'"

BEATLES: "It's called 'Hello Dolly.'"

Q: "Well, Hello Dolly. It doesn't make any difference."

JOHN: "It DOES, you know..."

PAUL: "I'll bet you didn't buy it."

JOHN: " the fella that wrote it. (pause, then comically) You make a lot of money, you know."

PAUL: "No, we don't want to sing it."

JOHN: "No, we don't record it, no. It's jazz."

Q: "How would you judge your reception at Kai Tak Airport as compared with the reception you've received when visiting other countries?"

GEORGE: "It's been great."

JOHN: "A good comparison."

GEORGE: "Yeah, it was very good."

Q: "Was it quieter, was it...?"

GEORGE: "No, it was about the same as we've had recently at other airports."

Q: "George, they tell me that you arrived in London the other day and only two people turned up."

JOHN: (correcting, comically) "THREE!"


PAUL: "Five. Five."

Q: "It was the Daily Express and, you know, you can't believe them. What happened?"

PAUL: "They were all 'round Ringo's bed."


Q: "When you're standing on a stage, and you look down and see a crowd of screaming teenagers, what do you say to yourself?"

JOHN: "'Look at them, all screaming.'"


PAUL: "It's the same feeling as footballers must get when they come out onto a football field. It's a marvelous feeling inside, you know. And it's the same every time."

JOHN: "Ask Jimmy 'cuz it's new for him."

Q: "Don't you sometimes get irritated because you can't make yourselves heard above the screams?"

PAUL: "No. Actually, you get irritated when the screams go down a bit."


Q: "How do you like your girls in Hong Kong?"


JOHN: "Oh, I dunno..."

GEORGE: "Well uhh, from what we've seen, they're great. (pause) Everywhere you go there's some good and some bad, aren't there."


PAUL: "That's true."

JOHN: "True. I'm not arguing. I'm with you, there."

GEORGE: (laughs)

JOHN: "Correct!"

PAUL & GEORGE: (giggling) Correct!"

Q: "It's said that you got your hairdo from Oliver Twist."

GEORGE: "No, we didn't. We didn't know Oliver Twist had a Beatle haircut."

PAUL: "No, it's just a rumor."

Q: "How often do you get your hair cut?"

GEORGE: "It just depends. Usually about once every blue moon."


Q: "John, could you tell us something about the book that you've written?"

JOHN: (pause) "It's selling well..."

Q: "What made you write it? What is it about?"

JOHN: "It's about nothing, really."


JOHN: (giggling) "I just do it for a hobby, you know. I've done it for many years."

Q: "Have you any idea how many copies it's sold already?"

JOHN: "No, 'cuz I changed me phone number and the fella can't get in touch with me to tell me."

PAUL: (laughs)

Q: "John, somebody suggested, and I've read some of it, it looks as though Lewis Carroll had something to do with it. Did you ever read Lewis Carroll when you were young?"

JOHN: "Yes, Alice In Wonderland. That's all, and the Looking Glass."

GEORGE: "And Louis Armstrong."

JOHN: "Oh, he's another one. Yeah."

Q: "It's also been said that you were very well educated. Could you prove it?"

JOHN: "No, I'm not."

Q: "You didn't go to school, then?"

JOHN: "Oh, of course. I had to. The state made me."

Q: "How long were you educated?"

JOHN: "'Til I was about 18, 19. I've forgotten."

PAUL: (to George) "He was?"

GEORGE: "Oh, art school."

JOHN: (loudly, comically) "That's school i'nt it? That's school i'nt it?"

GEORGE: "Sorry, John."

JOHN: "Alright."

GEORGE & JOHN: "Correct!"

PAUL: (giggles)

Q: "You're taking your mothers to Australia, is this correct?"

JOHN: (joking, somewhat morbidly) "Well, Paul and I aren't."

GEORGE: "Incorrect!"

JOHN: "Just my Auntie."

PAUL: "Just his Auntie."

JOHN: "That's all."

PAUL: "We haven't got..."

JOHN: "She's resting."

Q: "But we hear reports that some of you are bringing your mothers..."

GEORGE: "We heard that, too."

JOHN: (jokingly) "You're in the wrong agency."

GEORGE: "That was the Daily Mail."

FEMALE REPORTER: "For the sake of argument now... People are saying you're wearing your own Beatle wigs. Is it real?"

PAUL: "Well, do you want to pull it?"


PAUL: "Yeah, go on. (pause, then continues jokingly) EVERY press conference!"

(laughter, Paul gets his hair lightly tugged)


PAUL: "There ya go, it's real. Okay? (jokingly) That's another one pulled."


Q: "I represent the SPCA, and I'd like to know what you consider cruelty to Beatles?"

PAUL: (reeling from bad joke) "Ohhh!"


PAUL: "What's the SPCA?"

Q: "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals."

JOHN: "R... They're the RS..."

PAUL & GEORGE: "No, that's the Royal one."

JOHN: "Ah well, I'll have the Royal one."

PAUL: "Cruelty to Beatles?"

JOHN: "What is it? Not buying the records, maybe."

GEORGE: "Yes."

JOHN & PAUL: "Very cruel."

Q: "I want to know, how do your mothers feel about the business that you're in?"

JOHN: (pause) "Leave it to your dad."


PAUL: (laughing) "Correct."

Q: "Could you tell us, John, please.... Out of all the records that you've made, which one you are most satisfied with?"

JOHN: "Well I always like, and I think the others do, the one we've just made, you know. 'Cuz you get a bit tired of the others. So whenever we make a new one, we like that best."

Q: "Which one is your latest?"

JOHN: "Well, at the moment it's 'Long Tall Sally' although we've been singing it for eight years."

GEORGE: "And the one from the film."

JOHN: "Alright, alright. We'll get a plug here."


JOHN: (comic voice) "And there's a couple in the film."

Q: "How do you feel about Ella Fitzgerald recording 'Can't Buy Me Love'?"

JOHN: "Honored. Flattered."

PAUL: "Yeah."

JOHN: "Flattened."

Q: "What are the causes of these cults - Mods and Rockers?"

JOHN: "Uhh, it's something to do, you know."

PAUL: "It's just that people like new fashions, anyway."

Q: "Yeah."

PAUL: "You always get some people who don't, but it just happens to have developed into a cult. The one's who do like the new fashions have gone mad about it."

Q: "Don't you think the Mods especially are going a bit too far when they wear pink shirts and high-heeled shoes?"

PAUL: "Well, what's wrong... there's nothing wrong with..."

JOHN: "They've got to get away from the in-betweens, haven't they. What else can they do, you know. They're fine."

PAUL: "I mean, I'll tell ya... That's nothing."

GEORGE: "Pink shirts."

PAUL: "And they wear handbags and eye make-up. (jokingly) That's a BIT far."

JOHN: (quietly, regarding the reporter) "I think he's a bit old to wear a handbag..."

Q: "Would you tell us something about your act while you're in Hong Kong? Are you going to play anything special?"


JOHN: "Just sing."

GEORGE: "Sing and tap our toes."

JOHN: " play them what they want to hear. You know, the ones they bought."

Q: "John, you've written quite a few songs. Will you be writing a song with a Chinese flavor, do you think?"


Q: "What do you think of (Hollywood actress) Tuesday Wells?"

PAUL: "Very nice. Yes."

GEORGE: "Miss Saturday Night's much better."


Q: "The youngsters here and everywhere nowadays are being infected by so-called Beatlemania. What do you think about it?"

GEORGE: "It's very good."

Q: "Very good."

GEORGE: "It's good for the business, and it's good for the teenagers 'cuz it..."

Q: "Good or no good?"

GEORGE: "It's good."

JOHN: "Good."

Q: "Mister Nicol, when Ringo Starr joins the group in Australia, what will you do?"

JIMMY: "Then I go back to London, and things seem to be jumping in London, so you know... I've got a couple of television shows and a band's being formed and everything. So it looks as though things might happen for me, you know."

Q: "George, you admire Segovia. Have you learned anything about guitar playing from him?"

GEORGE: "I haven't ever met him, and I haven't learned anything from HIM. I've learned a little bit, not very much, from his records."

Q: "Mister Lennon, what do you think Misses Lennon thinks of the Beatles?"

JOHN: "Uhh, she rather likes them."

(reporters giggle)

Q: (asks question away from microphone about whether Cynthia Lennon is jealous of all the female fans)

JOHN: "No, because I don't have a go at them."

(room erupts in laughter)

Source: Transcribed by from audio copy of the press conference

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