Updated Beatles Book Looks at Mysterious Disappearance of Drummer Who Briefly Played with the Band in 1964

An updated version of The Beatle Who Vanished, a book about drummer Jimmie Nicol, who briefly filled in Ringo Starr during The Beatles’ 1964 world tour, will be released on June 11. The 60th Beatles Anniversary Tour Edition of the book, written by award-winning author Jim Berkenstadt, will include the latest information about Nicol, who disappeared from public view in the late 1960s.

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According to a press release, the book “will uncover the truth about the drummer’s mysterious fate.”

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About Nicol’s Stint with The Beatles

With The Beatles preparing to launch an Australasian tour leg in early June 1964, Starr was hospitalized with tonsilitis. To avoid canceling shows, producer George Martin suggested the band temporarily hire Nicol, who had recently played drums on a session Martin produced for rock ‘n’ roll singer Tommy Quickly.

Nicol was given a tryout at Abbey Road Studios in London on June 3, and joined The Beatles to play two shows the next day in Copenhagen, Denmark. He also played with the band on June 5 and 6 in the Netherlands, before the group headed to Hong Kong. Nicol played with The Beatles in Hong Kong on June 9, followed by several shows with the band in Adelaide, Australia, on June 12 and 13, before Starr rejoined the group.

Nicol didn’t even say goodbye to the band members before catching a plane home to the U.K. on June 14. Before he left, Beatles manager Brian Epstein gave the drummer a gold watch and a check for 500 pounds, equivalent to about $13,000 in 2023.

More About the Book

Besides detailing Nicol’s time in the band, The Beatle Who Vanished also delves into his life after his brief brush with fame. He apparently dealt with such issues as drugs, divorce, and bankruptcy, leading up to his sudden disappearance several years later.

The book will look into reports that Nicol died in London during the 1990s, and resurfaced in 2014 when he was given a supposed posthumous honor in Mexico City.

Among the topics the book addresses are whether Nicol is still alive, where he learned to play drums, what became of the watch Epstein gave him, and whether he’s been sighted in recent years.

The Author’s Comment on the Book

“Jimmie’s story captivated me from the beginning, and over my sixteen years of research and interviews with industry insiders who knew him, the intricacies of his life in the world of Rock ‘n Roll became increasingly surreal,” Berkenstadt said in a statement. “This narrative is akin to a great mystery, with Nicol navigating competition with The Beatles, battling Epstein’s alleged blacklisting, globe-trotting in search of a hit record, and ultimately disappearing.”

About Berkenstadt

Berkenstadt also has written several other rock-themed books. He currently is serving as a executive producer and script consultant on a feature film that will be based on The Beatle Who Vanished.

He also has served as a historical consultant on the Martin Scorsese-directed HBO documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and on several Beatles-related film and box set projects.

Details About Purchasing the Book

The Beatle Who Vanished – 60th Beatles Anniversary Tour Edition can be purchased in paperback or hardcover, and as a Kindle eBook. For more information, visit TheBeatleWhoVanished.com. Signed copies also are available at the website.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

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