Sir Paul McCartney performed a 'secret' show for a select number of fans in New York last night, as it emerged that the veteran performer had achieved his highest ranking in the US pop chart for over a decade.

The former Beatle wowed an audience of around 700 during a hastily arranged gig at the city's Highline Ballroom to celebrate the release of his new album, Memory Almost Full.

Yesterday McCartney's 21st solo album debuted at number three on America's Billboard 200 chart.

His latest offering is the first album he has released under the recently launched label Hear Music, which is part-owned by the Starbucks coffee chain.

During last night's show McCartney, who turns 65 on Monday, treated his audience to tracks from the album and classic Beatles tracks like Let It Be and Hey Jude.

Tickets for the free gig were only announced on the artist's website on Tuesday and eager fans queued up outside the venue ahead of the performance in a bid to benefit from the giveaway.

McCartney's show in New York followed a similar gig he performed to a celebrity-packed crowd at Camden's Electric Ballroom in London, earlier this month.

But as the singer enjoys new-found success with his solo work, he has warned that there is never likely to be another act which lives up to the fame achieved by the Beatles.

McCartney says he is amused when newcomers to The Music scene pledge to be bigger than the fab four, recently telling Newsweek magazine: "It's a prediction that doesn't come true.

"It's a fatal prediction."

14/06/2007 08:01:39