Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Jimmie Nicol joined the band for a short stint in 1964 – after Ringo Starr was hospitalised with tonsillitis.
Jimmie not only got the opportunity to play with The Beatles during the height of their fame, but he also got the chance to hang around with music legends John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
However, this only lasted for two weeks, and then everything went back to normal for Jimmie.
Jimmie’s whirlwind began when Ringo collapsed with tonsillitis on the eve of The Beatles’ 1964 Australian tour.

The band’s manager Brian Epstein, as well as their producer George Martin urgently discussed the viability of using a stand-in drummer rather than cancelling the rest of the tour.
George happened to suggest Jimmie Nicol – as he had recently used him on a recording session with Tommy Quickly.
Jimmie appeared in his first Beatles concert just 27 hours later at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Before hitting the stage, he was styled with the distinctive Beatle mop-top hairstyle and even wore Ringo’s suit – despite the trousers being too short.
Paul McCartney recalled teasingly sending Ringo a telegram saying: “Hurry up and get well Ringo, Jimmy is wearing out all your suits.”

Commenting later on the fickle nature of his brief celebrity, Jimmie remembered: “The day before I was a Beatle, girls weren’t interested in me at all.
“The day after, with the suit and the Beatle cut, riding in the back of the limo with John and Paul, they were dying to get a touch of me.
“It was very strange and quite scary.”
Whilst visiting the Netherlands, Jimmie and John Lennon allegedly spent a whole night at a brothel.
John said: “There’s photographs of me grovelling about, crawling about Amsterdam on my knees, coming out of whore houses, and people saying ‘Good morning John’.
“The police escorted me to these places because they never wanted a big scandal. When we hit town, we hit it – we were not p***ing about. We had [the women].
“They were great. We didn’t call them groupies, then; I’ve forgotten what we called them, something like ‘s****’.”

At this point, The Beatles were becoming more restricted by their fame, and had to spend most of their free time inside their hotels. However, Jimmie could behave much as any tourist could, he said: “I often went out alone. Hardly anybody recognised me and I was able to wander around.
“In Hong Kong, I went to see the thousands of people who live on little boats in the harbour.
“I saw the refugees in Kowloon, and I visited a nightclub.
“I like to see life. A Beatle could never really do that.’
In total, Jimmie played eight shows – until Ringo re-joined the group in Melbourne, Australia.
Jimmie didn’t even get a chance to say ‘goodbye’ to The Beatles, as they were still asleep when he left.
Instead, Jimmie silently walked away and everything returned to normal – as if he had never been a part of them and the 13 days were a dream.
George Martin went on to pay tribute to Jimmie, he said: “Jimmie Nicol was a very good drummer who came along and learnt Ringo’s parts very well.
“He did the job excellently, and faded into obscurity immediately afterwards.”
Paul McCartney added: “It wasn’t an easy thing for Jimmie to stand in for Ringo, and have all that fame thrust upon him. And the minute his tenure was over, he wasn’t famous anymore.”
Several years later, Jimmie went on to shed light on any disenchantment he felt when it came to readjusting to normality, he said: “Standing in for Ringo was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
“Until then I was quite happy earning £30 or £40 a week. After the headlines died, I began dying too.”
However, he decided not to cash in on his time in the band, in a rare 1987 interview he added: “After the money ran low, I thought of cashing-in in some way or other.
“But the timing wasn’t right. And I didn’t want to step on The Beatles’ toes.
“They had been damn good for me and to me.”

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