Thirteen Facts about Jimmie Nicol. Who? Well, let me use this 13-fact format to tell his story.
1. Jimmie Nicol earned his place in music history by temporarily playing with the Beatles during the height of Beatlemania in 1964. Ringo came down with tonsillitis and was hospitalized, just as the Lads were about to tour Australia, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. It would have cost the Beatles too much to cancel the tour, so they looked for a drummer to take Ringo's place for eight shows, until Ringo was strong enough to rejoin the group.
2. Beatles producer George Martin suggested Jimmie, a session drummer he'd recently used in the studio with other acts. Jimmie auditioned with John, Paul and George, performing six numbers as they rehearsed for the tour, and got the job. There's no record of anyone else being considered. Ringo admitted he felt bad that he'd been replaced so easily, recalling, "I thought they didn't love me anymore -- all that stuff went through my head."
3. The next 27 hours were a whirlwind for Jimmie. A pair of women -- a hairdresser and seamstress -- showed up at his house to fix his hair and tailor Beatle jackets for him. Then he was on a flight with the Beatles and their entourage and played his first concert with them in Copenhagen.
|You're right. That's not Ringo.|
4. He also drummed for them in Holland, Hong Kong and Adelaide, Australia, before Ringo rejoined the group in Melbourne.
5. The Beatles changed their set when Jimmie was with them. Ringo's solo, "I Wanna Be Your Man," was eliminated. Jimmie never got the spotlight because The Beatles didn't want anyone to think Ringo was "out."
6. In Melbourne, Beatles manager Brian Epstein took Jimmie to the airport, giving him a check for £500 (about $6,000 in today's dollars) and a gold watch inscribed: To Jimmie with gratitude. Brian Epstein and The Beatles.
7. Jimmie then formed his own band, The Shubdubs. When one of the Beatles' rival bands, The Dave Clark 5, was unable to fulfill a commitment due to Dave Clark's illness, the promoter got publicity by hiring the "temporary Beatle" to fill in.
8. After that, though, gigs were few and far between. He spent his own money trying to promote the Shubdubs and at about this same time, his wife filed for divorce. Jimmie went bankrupt.
9. Paul McCartney put a good word in for Jimmie with his friends, the duo Peter and Gordon, who took Jimmie with them on the road. When that tour was over, he was again unemployed.
10. He moved to Sweden and joined a band called The Spotnicks. He toured the world with them until 1967, when after an engagement in Mexico he chose to stay behind. He studied the samba and bossa nova and played small clubs.
11. In Mexico, Jimmie remarried and had a son. He also, unfortunately, seems to have gotten involved with drugs and became quite paranoid. His ex-wife said he complained that Brian Epstein had him blackballed and then he destroyed the gold watch he'd been given. (Considering what Beatle memorabilia goes for at auction, that was an expensive tantrum.)
12. In the 1980s, he returned to England. He left music behind and worked as a contractor, renovating homes. He also appeared at a Beatles fan convention in Amsterdam in 1984.
13. It's rumored he has retired to Mexico, though neither his second ex-wife or son is in contact with him. There have also been reported sightings of the 82-year-old Jimmie in London.
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