Jimmie Nicol's life changed on June 3, 1964 when he received a call from a desperate George Martin who asked if the drummer could stop everything and go out on the Beatles' first world tour, conditional on his passing an audition. He would replace Ringo Starr who has been stricken with tonsillitis and pharyngitis and had been admitted to Middlesex University Hospital. The very next day, the tour departed for Denmark, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand with Nicol spending two weeks as a Beatle, both onstage and off. After Ringo recovered and rejoined the group, Nicol, for all intents and purposes, vanished. Drummer/producer Butch Vig, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Garbage called The Beatle Who Vanished "a fascinating and mysterious read for anyone who wants to understand the meteoric rise to pop stardom and subsequent crash landing."
Hamilton commented, "We are thrilled to be partnering with Jim Berkenstadt to expand his vision to another medium and expose a whole new audience to his riveting and previous untold Beatles' story." Orbison added, "It's a truly compelling story of the man who rescued the Beatles' first world tour from disaster. He spent his 15 minutes of fame by the age of 25 then seemingly vanished. This is a story that is both intimate and epic." Orbison and Hamilton are hoping to foster the creation of an unprecedented soundtrack that will re-create the music from the Beatles' tour with Nicol and from his entire musical career.
Paul McCartney summarized the enigma that was Jimmie Nicol: "It wasn't an easy thing for Jimmie to stand in for Ringo, and have all that fame thrust upon him. And the minute his tenure was over, he wasn't famous anymore."
During the tour, McCartney was aware of the pressure that Nicol was under and would inquire as to how he was getting on. Putting on a brave face, Nicol's stock response was, "It's getting better," the recurring comment providing the inspiration for the Sergent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band track "Getting Better." Unfortunately, the opposite would hold true with Nicol. After his 13 days of fame were over, the true mystery of Nicol's story was riddled with blacklisting, betrayal, substance abuse, bankruptcy and an eventual disappearance that has led many to question whether he is dead or alive. He had become a mysterious footnote in Beatles history until Berkenstadt began his research.
Berkenstadt is the author of Classic Rock Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind (with Charles Cross) as well as Black Market Beatles: The Story Behind the Lost Recordings (with Scott Belmo Belmar). He is founder of Rock and Roll Detective® LLC, a company dedicated to providing production, publishing, writing, research, social media and content creation for the entertainment industry. He has consulted to the late George Harrison, the Beatles and Martin Scorsese.
Ashley Hamilton is an actor/singer/