top of page

Book Reviews for The Beatle Who Vanished

“Just read a splendid book, “The Beatle Who Vanished” the story of Jimmie Nicol by Jim Berkenstadt. It was very well researched and interesting.”

Tony Bramwell: Former Assistant to Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and ex-employee at The Beatles’ company Apple Corps Ltd.

“I remember when Jimmie Nicol filled in for Ringo, that brief moment in time so long ago, when Ringo was ill. It was a strange and fleeting moment in the Beatles meteoric explosion of fame called Beatlemania. Even though Jimmie was only there as a fill-in, for thirteen days, it would be assumed that this amazing career event on his part would have set him up in the music business for life.

Instead, as Jim’s detective work shows, Jimmie seemed to fade in and out of various locales, over the years, in one band or another, with one wife or another, in one country or another….losing himself over and over, constantly reinventing himself. People assumed his death at one point. Jim takes you on a great “magical mystery tour” with this book, establishing a new, fascinating, historical biography for the “vanishing Beatle” as he discovers Jimmie over and over again, only to have the trail go cold again. Knowing now, based on the photos in the book, that Jimmie is perhaps still alive, but in “hiding”, is so intriguing.

Excellent, Excellent read! I hope Jimmie, and his son Howie, read this book. It’s a great testament to the man who saved the 1964 Beatles world tour–their first ever—from financial ruin.”

Shelly Germeaux: National John Lennon Examiner

“The post-Beatles portion of Nicol’s hard luck story takes up half the book, but fans likely will most enjoy the chapters that detail the drummer’s time on the tour with the Fabs. In a departure from the usual lax sourcing in a rock book, Berkenstadt’s text is footnoted with his sources (over 700 citations) fully detailed. There also are photos from throughout Nicol’s life, including plenty of shots from The Beatles’ tour.

In the end, Nicol’s story may not have turned out as he wished, but it’s resulted in a fascinating read.”

Derek Page:

“Beatle fans: I’ve been reading the new book “The Beatle Who Vanished” by Jim Berkenstadt. It is the story of drummer Jimmie Nicol who sat in for Ringo when Ringo was ill during the 1964 tour. But what makes the story really a great read is that it is a mystery as to what happened to Nicol after his stint with The Beatles. The author researched the book contacting everyone who knew Nicol and he went to England and Australia searching for him. What he discovered will blow your minds! The book is a great read and for fans (and non fans) of the Beatles. We learn an area of Beatles history that had not been brought to light until now. And the mystery of Jimmie Nicol keeps you glued to the pages. What happened to Nicol? I’m not telling! You will have to read the book. :)” 

Belmo: Beatles Author and Historian

“Jimmie was an exemplary drummer, one of those drummers appreciated by all other musicians.”

Tony Sheridan: Played with The Beatles in Germany and Jimmie Nicol in England

“If Jimmie knew this book was about his whole life and career, I think he would appreciate it.”

Julia Villaseñor: Ex-wife of Jimmie Nicol

“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, 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 in those fledgling days of Nicol’s music career and 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.

Without giving much away, it was his reputation in the studio which later led to “The Call” from producer George Martin on behalf of The Beatles, who were a day from the start of their first world tour when Ringo Starr suddenly collapsed and was hospitalized with tonsillitis and pharyngitis.

Beatles fans will love to read a new, never-been-told piece of the band’s history. However, one does not have to be a fan to enjoy this mysterious true story of a temporary Beatle who “vanished”. The book’s secondary theme intrigues us with what happens to a young person who enjoys 15 minutes of fame and attempts for the rest of his life to live up to that brief moment, before disappearing…”

Mark Naboshek: Beatles Historian

“I loved it. Great work Jim it’s a fascinating read.”

Johnny Harris: Arranger/Trumpet Player, Jimmy Nicol & The Shubdubs

“The Beatle Who Vanished serves as a fascinating read for hardcore fans. Nicol may be a footnote in Beatles history, but Berkenstadt’s research fleshes him out as a human being with his own musical background. The writer gives us an insider’s view of the hard life of a professional musician, and offers an unglamorous account of Beatlemania. If you’ve ever had dreams of being a “fifth Beatle,” Nicol’s story may give you pause.”

Kit O’Toole:

“Jim Berkenstadt’s book ‘The Beatle who vanished’ is a diligently researched and well written book… A worthy addition to the history of the Beatles which tells of Jimmy Nicol’s timely part in their amazing story. A MUST for Beatles researchers and aficionados. I love the book!”

Sam Leach: The Beatles first Promoter, Liverpool/Author: Birth of The Beatles

bottom of page