|photo credit: (c) Jeremy Fletcher photo/Redferns/Getty Images.|
Jimmie Nicol was a Beatle for 13 days on tour with the group in June, 1964. He replaced Ringo Starr who had to be hospitalized. This is about all of the information that existed in Beatles history books for decades. British music history books contained no mention of the drummer. The inside story of the unknown drummer who got to play with The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania is a missing chapter in the group's history... until now.
And so began my search to see if there was enough material for an article, let alone a new beatles book on the already crowded shelves. A number of people have asked me how I was able to find out who Nicol had played with before The Beatles, and more importantly, what happened to him after his "15 minutes of fame".
The best way to describe the search is to compare it to collecting 1000s of small jigsaw pieces together from around the world and try to assemble the complete picturne. I scoured archives in the US, Australia and England for articles, letters, and documents about Jimmie Nicol. Many online sources surmised that Nicol was born in Liverpool since he had played with The Beatles. However, finding his birth certificate yielded a different answer. That he was in fact, the only Beatle born outside the Liverpool region.
|photo credit: (c) 2013 Rock And Roll Detective, LLC.|
|photo credit: (c) Mirrorpix|
|photo credit: (c) 2013 Julia Villasenor|
The years of writing and research were an amazing journey and challenge. Nicol was an enigmatic character. He always seemed to erase his trail when he moved on, rather than preserve it.
Finally, I had enough information to piece the trail of Jimmie Nicol's life and career together and paint what I felt was an honest portait of an enigmatic character. He was the definition of an independent spirit. He often chose the unexpected path. No one could tell him what to do or how to think. Each time he vanished in his career, it would take me awhile to locate where in the world he would show up next! He usually never said goodbye… just walked out the door… to another spot on the globe. Very mysterious. I tried to retrace his footsteps and to find him, by traveling to England, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne - to get a feel for the places he had lived and worked.
This Beatles book, new to the shelves also helped me to discover and share what it is like for a person to live with "15 minutes of fame" for the rest of their lives. In the words of Grammy producer Butch Vig, who has seen his share of rock stars rise and fall, "The Beatle Who Vanished is a fascinating and mysterious must read for hardcore Beatles fans, and anyone who wants to understand the meteoric rise to pop stardom and the subsequent crash landing."
|photo credit: (c) Newspix/photo file|
It is hard to tell what Jimmie Nicol would think of this book on his life and career. Because, dead or alive, he remains The Beatle Who Vanished.
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