Jimmy Nicol rehearsing with The Beatles in the studio, June 3, 1964Jimmy Nicol temporarily replaced Ringo Starr after he collapsed and was hospitalized with tonsillitis on June 3, 1964. It was the eve of The Beatles’ 1964 Australasian tour. Rather than cancel part of the tour, manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin decided to use a stand-in drummer to take Ringo’s place. Martin suggested Nicol because he had recently drummed on a Tommy Quickly session. Also, Jimmy was familiar with the Beatles’ songs as he had drummed on an album of Beatle covers called “Beatlemania”. With a last-minute phone call from George Martin, Nicol rushed over to Abbey Road Studios, where he and The Beatles did a quick rehearsal of six songs from their tour repertoire. The next day he would be playing live with them in Copenhagen, Denmark.

On stage, Jimmy wore Ringo’s suit after some alterations. From June 4-13, 1964, Nicol played ten shows in six locations with The Beatles in Denmark, Holland, Hong Kong, and Australia. On June 14, Starr returned to the band in Melbourne, Australia. Nicol said he was “praying he [Starr] would get well at the same time I was hoping he would not want to come back.” For his efforts, Brian Epstein presented him with a check and a gold Eternamatic wrist watch inscribed: “From The Beatles and Brian Epstein to Jimmy – with appreciation and gratitude.”

In later years, it was rumored that Jimmy Nicol had died in 1988, but a 2005 report by the Daily Mail confirmed that he was actually still alive and living as a recluse in London.

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