When Ringo Starr was hospitalised on June 3, 1964 with tonsillitis on the eve of The Beatles 1964 Australian and Asian Tour, The Beatles manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin discussed the possibility of using a stand in drummer rather than cancelling part of the tour.
Martin then suggested using Jimmie Nicol, as he had recently recorded a session with him and had also drummed on an album of Beatles covers as part of a session band called The Koppykats, and so Nicol knew The Beatles songs well.
Nicol was sitting at home when he received a call for an audition at Abbey Road Studios. Here’s a photo from that’s days rehearsal with John Lennon, Paul McCartney & George Harrison.
On the same day of the rehearsal he packed his bags, got a “moptop” haircut and 27 hours later with Ringo’s suit on performed live with The Beatles on June 4, 1964 at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark in front of 4,500 screaming fans.
And for the next 12 days and for 8 shows Jimmie Nicol was a Beatle.
Nicol was sent home with an 500 pound bonus and a gold watch. Here he is at the airport in Australia on his way home.
He played in several different bands and once even played on the same bill as The Beatles. Check out this picture of all four Beatles with Jimmie Nicol.
Nicol had a tough time to adjusting to life after his stint in The Beatles. Nicol said several years later:
“Standing in for Ringo was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Until then I was quite happy earning thirty or forty pounds a week. After the headlines died, I began dying too.”
It has been rumored that Nicol had passed away in 1988 after living as a recluse but it was confirmed he was still alive when this photo was taken circa 2005.