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December 11 - End of December, 1968

Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman on holiday in Portugal

Last updated on August 1, 2023


  • Location: Quinta das Redes, 16 Rua da Praia, Praia da Luz, 8600-156 Lagos, Portugal


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On December 11, Paul McCartney, Linda Eastman, and her daughter Heather flew to Portugal, to visit the author Hunter Davies at his holiday home. Davies had written an official biography of the Beatles, had stayed in touch with the band thereafter, and was renting accommodation in Luz, Portugal.

Paul, Linda and her daughter Heather arrived in the middle of the night, and I could hear this hammering and banging on the door. I could also hear this Liverpool voice shouting and hollering, ‘Get up!’ I came down stairs and there was a taxi outside, which they had got from Faro Airport, and Paul had no money, so I had to pay the taxi off. Paul had hired his own jet and he had flown out late at night to Faro airport with no luggage, no money, no nothing. He did have a twenty-pound note, but, while he was trying to get a taxi, he actually gave the note to somebody and asked him to get the local currency. But, the taxi arrived, and it went off, leaving this bloke with a twenty-pound note. Paul had brought with him his guitar and he used to go in the lavatory and sit, playing his guitar. One evening, it came out that my real Christian name is Edward, Edward Hunter Davies, but I’ve always been called Hunter. Paul thought this was very funny and he went to the lavatory and he wrote this song for me, it was called ‘Little Eddie.’

Hunter Davis – From his autobiography, “Memoirs From The Outside Looking In
From Shining In Luz (wordpress.com) – Hunter is on the left. His wife Margaret is on the right. In the center is Linda Eastman and Paul McCartney.

Paul decided he would do a deal with the media, to protect his privacy during his stay in Portugal. From Shining In Luz (wordpress.com):

Paul McCartney decided he would do a deal with the media. He would give them an interview in return for having family privacy respected for the rest of the holiday. The story of Paul’s impending marriage to Linda Eastman was the main thrust of the report. As you can see, Paul scribbled a little note for the Popular Diary which was included by the newspaper, and the story got published on 13 Dec 1968.

The interview was held on December 12, on a beach.

From Musique au Portugal: influence du Portugal sur The Beatles (villaferia.com)
From Shining In Luz (wordpress.com)

During their stay in Portugal, Paul proposed marriage to Linda. It was around the time Linda found out she was pregnant with their first daughter Mary.

As our relationship solidified and we really started to feel very confident with each other, it was a question of ‘Well, shall I get off the pill then?’ and we talked about that, and I said, ‘Yeah!’ I don’t know why. It wasn’t like planning a family, it was more ‘If you like. We could see what happened. If anything happened. That would be all right.’ Then Mary was on the way, it was definitely not planned. And we decided, round about that point, to get married.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now”, by Barry Miles, 1997

Paul would marry Linda on March 12, 1969. And Mary would be born on August 28, 1969.

I remember one tune he played for me in Portugal, which he had written on the lavatory (he rarely went there without his guitar), which was called ‘There You Go Eddie’. Just a short verse, and I don’t think he ever completed it. He had discovered that my first Christian name is Edward, something I’ve always kept quiet.

Hunter Davies, 1985

There You Are Eddie” would be rehearsed by Paul McCartney during the “Get Back” sessions in January 1969.

The Penina was the first golf course to be built in Algarve, in 1966. One night during his stay, around 1:30 am, Paul entered the luxury hotel to exchange five pounds for Portuguese escudos. He then decided to visit the hotel’s bar where the resident band Jota Herre was performing. The band members recognized the singer and asked him to join them.

The bar, which was half empty and almost closing, quickly filled up with guests and staff who were overjoyed to see the world-famous musician sing an impromptu song while playing the piano. The party continued late into the night (around 4 am) and saw McCartney improvising a song, named “Penina“, which he then “offered” to Jota Herre who ended up recording and releasing it in 1969.

That night, we all gathered around Paul and Linda, had a drink and then he proposed: let’s play. It was after one o’clock in the morning. Paul gave an unforgettable show. He played successively piano, bass, guitar and drums. He played drums like I’ve never seen a musician play. Every time more people came into the room. Paul returned to the drums and asked for “one minute”. He started to hum and challenged the crowd to try to follow the harmonic sequence that was coming out. It was 4 o’clock in the morning and, right there, he composed and sang the song and the lyrics of the song he offered us. In the end, he gave it a title, the name of the hotel.

Giuseppe Flaminio – member of Jota Herre – From Jesse Tedesci sur Twitter

The story was narrated by the Daily Express, in its January 9, 1969 edition:

In one of those spontaneous gestures for which the Beatles are well known, Paul McCartney is making an escudo millionaire out of a Portuguese bandleader. It all started during the 26-year-old bachelor Beatle’s New Year holiday in Portugal’s Algarve.

McCartney had spent an evening listening to the resident band at the resort’s luxury Penina Golf Hotel. He decided to give a tip in appreciation. And composed a few bars — called Penina — for the lucky bandleader, Anibal Cunha. To help them along McCartney beat out the rhythm on the drums.

As the shareholders of Northern Songs (currently standing at 33s. a share) know, McCartney compositions never fall to net £20,000 at the very least.

But before they rush to cell an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to ask about their percentage from “Penina”, they may care to note the view Paul’s business associate Derek Taylor, of the Beatle’s firm Apple.

“Naturally he has obligations to his shareholders and fellow directors“, says Mr. Taylor. “One of the sad facts of life is that he is in business. But this was not a whole song he gave to the bandleader. It was more a rif“.

A rif, in the trade, is the name given to a repeated musical phrase coupled with a suggested rhythm.

Northern Songs shareholders in fact are presently benefiting from a rif, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. John Lennon and Paul McCartney borrowed from another performer, Jimmy Scott. The Marmalade version of this song topped the hit parade this week for the first time.

John and Paul saw him right,” says Mr. Taylor. “They are themselves often asked for help on their travels. And it just isn’t possible for them to refuse.

From the Daily Express – January 9, 1969
From the Daily Express – January 9, 1969

From Luz – Paul McCartney 1968 | Shining In Luz (wordpress.com) – This photo is Paul sitting on the rocks reading the Diário Popular. As this is much better quality, presumably it was taken by Linda Eastman. And presumably Paul is viewing the story about himself and Linda. There are two little things of interest. Paul used the rocks regularly, much as the genteel folk of yore did, though there is a photo of him in for paddle whilst playing with the kids. Whilst behind on the Avenida dos Pescadores is a large car, so it was not yet pedestrianised. One assumes that if Faro airport had not opened in 1965, this little adventure would not have occurred.
From Paul McCartney on Twitter: “Paul. Portugal, 1968. Photo by Linda McCartney #ThrowbackThursday #TBT https://t.co/ifnxsj3s8p” / Twitter
From Linda McCartney (@lindamccartney) • Instagram photos and videos – Paul. Portugal, 1968.⁣
From Linda McCartney (@lindamccartney) • Instagram photos and videos – Paul. Portugal, 1969
From Linda McCartney (@lindamccartney) • Instagram photos and videos – Schoolchildren. Portugal, 1968
From Facebook
From Facebook
From tumblr_obrk67jIo01txv2qzo1_1280.png (984×708)
From Facebook
From Facebook
From Facebook – Photo by Linda McCartney

Some of the photos taken by Linda during those holidays appeared on the inner sleeve of Paul’s debut solo album, “McCartney“, released in April 1970.

This photo was used on the inner sleeve of the “McCartney” album – From Paul McCartney on Twitter: Paul on the beach in Portugal. Photo by Linda McCartney

Colour home movie of Paul and Linda on holiday in Algarve, Portugal was filmed by their friend Hunter Davies. Hunter showed some of the footage at a book convention in 2006 but no known copies of this footage had come to light until yesterday (November 11th, 2022) when it was shown at a new event by Hunter. According to him, the entire footage lasts 10 minutes, only 3 were shown.

From Paul & Linda McCartney in Algarve, Portugal (NEW Home Movie Footage, December 8th – 17th, 1968) – YouTube

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

Shop on Amazon

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Notice any inaccuracies on this page? Have additional insights or ideas for new content? Or just want to share your thoughts? We value your feedback! Please use the form below to get in touch with us.

Andrew Shepherd • 2 years ago

1. Penina and the Algarve are in Portugal. So Paul would have gone into the hotel to get Portuguese escudos not Spanish escudos, particularly as the Spanish currency at the time was the peseta.

2. On this page it is implied that Paul was staying with Hunter Davies. But in the page about the song "Penina" https://www.the-paulmccartney-project.com/song/penina/ it quotes Paul as saying that he "returned" to the hotel, as if he were staying there.

The PaulMcCartney Project • 2 years ago

Hi Andrew, thanks for your comment / questions

1. You're right about the Portuguese escudos, I've fixed this.

2. From all I've read on his holiday in Portugal, he didn't stay at the Penina hotel. So you're right, there is an ambiguity with his statement in Club Sandwich, 1994.

Mark Morton • 2 years ago

I read in a Portuguese book simply called The Beatles in Portugal (in Portuguese) that the night Paul and Linda stopped at Penina, they were on their way to a bar/club called sobe e desce in Carvoeiro. It was famous for its live music quite unique at the time. There is a good photograph of Ronnie Scott playing Sax there in 1972. I currently run the bar which is now called The Jailhouse. Lots of older residents say that Paul and Linda did actually make it in to the bar but would love to know for sure if they did….

The PaulMcCartney Project • 2 years ago

Thanks for your question, Mark. I don't know the answer to this question, unf. Hopefully, someone else reading this page will know ! Thanks.

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