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The Beatle Who Vanished Paperback – January 24, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Rock And Roll Detective Publishing; 1st edition (January 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985667702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985667702
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

“Berkenstadt’s impressively detailed book opens with a 24-year old Jimmie receiving the phone call that would change his life, inviting him to temporarily take Ringo Starr’s place on the Beatles’ first world tour during June 1964. Berkenstadt instantly draws the reader into his tale of this little-known drummer from the borough of Wandsworth, England, and then progresses through eight chapters, telling his back story. The author manages to generate a phenomenal amount of energy around the little-known drummer, using first rate historical details, rare photographs and memorabilia illustrations; the dynamic photos, especially, lend this bio legitimacy and appeal. Berkenstadt brings excellent investigative skills to this bio of a forgotten replacement Beatle.” KIRKUS Reviews

About the Author

Jim Berkenstadt is the Rock And Roll Detective®. A true Sherlock Holmes, Berkenstadt uncovers the lost history and mysteries hidden within decades of popular music. An international authority on The Beatles, he has co-authored three other books: Black Market Beatles; The Beatles Digest; Nevermind Nirvana; and he edited John, Paul & Me: Before The Beatles. Berkenstadt has consulted to The Beatles and the Estate of George Harrison on numerous projects.

Customer Reviews

Well researched, well done.
Dennis W. Alstrand
This is the story of a restless soul who, throughout his life and professional career, very much marched to his own drumbeat.
Mark Naboshek
The book is a great read and for fans (and non fans) of the Beatles.
Scott F. Belmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mark Naboshek on January 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
Over the past two decades, author Jim Berkenstadt has aptly earned his reputation as The Rock 'N Roll Detective, investigating rock music's greatest mysteries. With his latest book, The Beatle Who Vanished, he has come face-to-face with perhaps his greatest challenge -- to chronicle the life of one of the most enigmatic musicians of the rock era. Within its 236 pages, he lifts the veil of secrecy on the only musician to ever be recruited to replace a Beatle after the band had achieved worldwide fame. I'm speaking, of course, about Jimmie Nicol, the drummer who was plucked from relative obscurity one day in June 1964, became a member of rock's greatest band the following day and a mere thirteen days later was driven to an airport, given a gold watch and sent packing.

But this isn't just about Nicol's fleeting days of fame with The Beatles, though those days are described in great detail. This is the story of a restless soul who, throughout his life and professional career, very much marched to his own drumbeat. The Beatle Who Vanished traces Nicol's roots, from his childhood in Battersea to his early days as a drum repairer and his rise on the London coffee bar scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s (specifically at Soho's famous 2i's Coffee Bar). Berkenstadt paints a fascinating, in-depth picture of club life as well as life on tour in those fledgling days of Nicol's music career. The reader will learn how he became widely acknowledged as one of the most versatile, talented, respected and supremely powerful drummers of his day, playing everything from skiffle and ska to blues and big band. So vital was Nicol to every band he joined, that he often became its most prominent player, sometimes overshadowing the headlining member.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By WH123 on May 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating and well-written book. While an interesting, self-motivated and talented musician, one gets the sense that Jimmy Nicol's downfall throughout his career was his exaggerated sense of importance and single-minded chase for stardom. Berkenstadt's description of Jimmy's post-Beatles career suggests that Jimmy believed he was truly "the fifth Beatle." As a result he often acted the part, wanting to be the featured artist in whatever group he was in...the leader both creatively and otherwise.

Of particular interest to me was Nicol's obsession with the idea that he was as good as, if not better than Ringo and that he could have replaced Ringo! If not Ringo's replacement, Jimmy believed he deserved to be equally rich and famous. Unfortunately, he never seemed to accept his role in his inability to become the next big thing, instead believing that Brian Epstein (?!) was somehow working behind the scene to sabotage his career.

As every Beatles fan knows, the Beatles prided themselves on being a democracy...four equal partners or a "square with four equal corners" as I believe Paul McCartney put it. They were a family. Ironically, if any one of the Beatles could be called the "Easygoing Beatle" it was Ringo, and I'm quite sure that he was loved by the other Beatles especially for that quality. Jimmy Nicol's sense that he could replace Ringo in the Beatles because of his drumming skills was a true misread of his role on the tour and of how tight the Beatles had already become. Jimmy was always trying to change musical direction and lead the way. It seems very unlikely that John and Paul would have allowed Jimmy the ability to persuade their musical direction...they didn't really even give George enough of an opportunity to do that!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
To most Beatles fans Jimmie Nicol is merely a footnote in the history of the band - a drummer asked to fill in during the start of their first world tour when Ringo was taken ill. He played with them for thirteen days, the concerts taking him from Denmark and the Netherlands, to Hong Kong and Australia and from relative obscurity to the madness of Beatlemania. George Harrison was quite scathing in the Anthology about going on tour without Ringo, but with the tour literally days away and tickets sold, presumably Brian Epstein felt that cancelling was not an option. In this really fascinating account of Jimmie Nicol's life, the author not only tells the story of his career as a musician, but of how those thirteen days affected everything that followed.

The beginning of Jimmie's career saw him on many of the Larry Parne's package tours, including the 1960 tour with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. He was a session musician and played with Georgie Fame, among others. When the Beatles needed a drummer the author explains how their paths had already crossed and he was a natural choice to fill in. Sadly, the fleeting moments of superstardom seemed to bring him more problems than success. It was nice to read that both George and Paul tried to make contact (indeed, in Paul's case offer help) even if it was rebuffed. However, this book gives as full an account of the drummers whole career as he could have wished and even turns into a detective story as Jim Berkenstadt tries to discover his whereabouts. For fans this is an intriguing and fascinating read about the man who wished he could stay a Beatle.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Jim Berkenstadt is an author, producer, music historian and consultant who has documented the history of several rock and roll musicians. He is founder of the firm Rock And Roll Detective, LLC, which provides content and consulting services to the entertainment industry. (Home page: )

His newest book is called, The Beatle Who Vanished. The true story of Jimmie Nicol, an anonymous drummer whose journey from humble beginnings to an improbable climb - rescuing The Beatles' first world tour from disaster by temporarily stepping in for Ringo Starr - was only one part of his legend.

Though his thirteen days of fame made headlines, the true mystery of Nicol's account is riddled with blacklisting, betrayal, drug abuse, bankruptcy and an eventual disappearance that leads many to question whether he is dead or alive.

More information about the book can be found here:

Berkenstadt has co-authored Black Market Beatles: The Story Behind The Lost Recordings; Nevermind Nirvana; Goldmine The Beatles Digest; and edited John, Paul & Me: Before The Beatles.

Berkenstadt has lent his talent to TV and film productions as well. He has served as the historical consultant on several high profile projects including: Martin Scorsese's Emmy Award winning documentary, George Harrison: Living In The Material World; The Beatles Help! DVD; The Traveling Wilburys box set DVD; George Harrison Dark Horse Years box set DVD documentary; The Beatles First US Visit DVD website; VH1 Behind The Music and Dick Clark's Teen Idol Special (ABC).

In the record industry, Berkenstadt (a member of NARAS) has been active in producing, research, and liner note writing. His credits include: Traveling Wilburys - The Traveling Wilburys box set (2004); George Harrison - The Dark Horse Years box set (2004); George Harrison - All Things Must Pass reissue CD box (2001); Garbage - Version 2.0, Bleed like Me, Absolute Garbage (1998-2007); Live At The Edgewater: Tex Beneke, Stan Kenton & Ralph Flanagan (2000 - Producer); and Live At The Edgewater: Jimmy Dorsey & Woody Herman (1998 - Producer).
New Beatles Book:
Twitter: @RockDetective

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