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The Beatle Who Vanished
on 11 May 2013
To most Beatles fans Jimmie Nicol is merely a footnote in the history of the band - a drummer asked to fill in during the start of their first world tour when Ringo was taken ill. He played with them for thirteen days, the concerts taking him from Denmark and the Netherlands, to Hong Kong and Australia and from relative obscurity to the madness of Beatlemania. George Harrison was quite scathing in the Anthology about going on tour without Ringo, but with the tour literally days away and tickets sold, presumably Brian Epstein felt that cancelling was not an option. In this really fascinating account of Jimmie Nicol's life, the author not only tells the story of his career as a musician, but of how those thirteen days affected everything that followed.
The beginning of Jimmie's career saw him on many of the Larry Parne's package tours, including the 1960 tour with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. He was a session musician and played with Georgie Fame, among others. When the Beatles needed a drummer the author explains how their paths had already crossed and he was a natural choice to fill in. Sadly, the fleeting moments of superstardom seemed to bring him more problems than success. It was nice to read that both George and Paul tried to make contact (indeed, in Paul's case offer help) even if it was rebuffed. However, this book gives as full an account of the drummers whole career as he could have wished and even turns into a detective story as Jim Berkenstadt tries to discover his whereabouts. For fans this is an intriguing and fascinating read about the man who wished he could stay a Beatle.