Gringo Starr: How the Beatle who stood in for Ringo – and enjoyed 12 riotous days of hedonism – on their first world tour is now a recluse and thought to be living in MEXICO
- Jimmie Nichol earned £500 for 12 days’ work in 1964 while with The Beatles
- Ringo Starr collapsed shortly before the tour and the band needed a drummer
- Nichol started his own band after returning to London but his attempt flopped
- He soon was declared bankrupt with debts of £40,000 and assets worth £30
One summer’s morning in 1964, Jimmie Nicol was woken by the phone at the shabby rented flat in Barnes, South-West London, where he lived with his wife Patricia and their young son, Howie.
On the line was George Martin, who, as the producer behind The Beatles, was one of the most powerful men in pop.
‘What are you doing for the next few days?’ he asked.
Nicol, who earned a crust playing drums in Soho nightclubs, knew enough about the music business to reply that his diary appeared to be empty.
‘Then come to Abbey Road studios at 3pm,’ said Martin. ‘The Beatles want to run through some numbers with you . . . Ringo Starr is ill and we want you to take his place on their tour. Would you mind going to Australia?’