Jimmie Nicol

Not just a temporary Beatles drummer!

James George Nicol, born London 03.08.1939

40s/50s Choir boy at Honeywell Road School, Battersea, London
50s The Boys Brigade (percussion instruments)
50s schoolband with 1 saxophone + 2 trumpet players and Jimmie as drummer
50s Army Cadet Military Band (percussion and xylophone)

50's working as drum repair man for UK musical instrumental distributor Boosey & Hawkes


Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys 1958-1959

1957/1958 Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys
Colin Hicks is the younger brother of British rock'n' roll pioneer Tommy Hicks aka Tommy Steele.
Colin never sold many records despite following Tommy's footsteps to the famous 2-'I's coffee bar in Soho London.
  Tommy Steele's manager, John Kennedy, signed him up to sing in a nightclub in London's posh Mayfair district. Then three TV guest spots and a top-of-the-bill tour. A recording contract with Pye records and TV appearances with his backing group 'The Cabin Boys' in 1958. Jimmie Nicol used to get up regularly at the 2 I's and Bobby Green arranged an audition for Colin's backing group The Cabin Boys.

Pye 7N15114 1957 Wild Eyes And Tender Lips / Empty Arms Blues
Pye 7N15125 1958 La Dee Dah / Wasteland
Pye 7N15163 1958 Little Boy Blue / Jamabalaya

Europe Di Notte    europa di notte


Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys - Giddy Up A Ding Dong (video clip 1959)

1959 Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys appeared in the Italian film Europa Di Notte (Europe By Night / Nuits D'Europe ) with Giddy Up A Ding Dong, which had proved to be a big hit in Italy, resulting in a lucrative invitation to tour there. The Cabin Brothers consisted of Jimmie Nicol (drums), Mike O'Neill (piano), Dave 'Zom' Tick (lead gt.) and Rod 'Boots' Slade (bass gt). In Italy they had rave reviews about their rock'n'roll show, the Italians loved them and Colin and his group recorded eight songs for the Italian Broadway label.

Broadway Int. 1022 1959 Brand New Cadillac / ?
Broadway Int. 1028 1959 Sexy Rock / Johnny B. Goode
+
Giddy Up A Ding Dong / Book Of Love / 20 Flight Rock / Iea Iea / Oh Boy / Tutti Frutti

Colin Hicks & Cabin Boys (LP)
Spanish LP from 1988 from Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys (with Jimmie Nicol on drums)

 


1960 Vince Eager & The Quiet Three
Tex Makins (bass gt.), Jimmie Nicol (drums), Colin Green (lead gt.) replaced by Kenny Packwood
Vince Eager & The Quiet Three

Vince Eager backed by the Quiet Three who managed a full, rounded sound


1960 Oscar Rabin Band (big band, weekly radioshow "Come and Go")
1961 Cyril Stapleton (big band)
1961-1964 session work with musicians from the orchestras of Ted Heath and Johnny Dankworth.

jimmy nicol

Jimmie was very much inspired by the legendary British jazz drummer Phil Seamen. Jimmie and Phil were both often booked together for sessions by the famous fixer Charlie Katz. Jimmie was booked as substitute for Phil Seamen in case of his prevention.

Phil Seamen
Jimmie's idol: Phil Seamen

Jimmie's idol: Phil Seamen
Jimmie's idol: Phil Seamen


1964 The Shubdubs (Jimmie's own band)
Jimmie Nicol (drums), Quincy Davis (tenor sax), Bob Garner (bass gt.), Roger Coulam (organ), Johnny Harris (trumpet), Tony Allen (vocals)

Jimmie Nicol & The Shubdubs 1964

Pye 7N15623    2/1964  Humpty Dumpty / Night Train
Mar-Mar 313        1964 Humpty Dumpty / Night Train (US)
Pye 7N15666    6/1964  Husky / Please Come Back
Pye 7N15699  10/1964  Baby Please Don't Go / Shubdubery

shubdubs_humpty    Jimmie Nicol - Night Train


1964 April/May: Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames
Georgie Fame (vocals, keyboards), Tex Makins (bass), Micke Eve (sax), Peter Coe (sax), Speedy Acquaye (percussion), Jimmie Nicol (drums)

George Fame & Blue Flames  - Flamingo London 1964
Jimmie Nicol and Tex Makins with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames at the Flamingo in London.


The Beatles (stand-in for Ringo Starr)

The Beatles - VARA TV 1964

June 3, 1964: The Beatles in the studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). That morning, during a photo session, Ringo Starr had become seriously ill and had to be hospitalized. Since The Beatles were scheduled to leave on a world tour the very next morning, it was too late to cancel the tour. Brian Epstein and George Martin arranged for a temporary drummer to take Ringo's place for the first part of the tour, and the drummer selected was Jimmy Nicol, someone who they knew to be talented but who was unknown enough not to be mistaken as a permanent replacement for Ringo. On the spur of a last-minute phone call from George Martin, Nicol rushed over to EMI Studios, where he and The Beatles ran through six songs from their tour repertoire in a quick rehearsal ("I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "I Saw Her Standing There", "This Boy", "Can't Buy Me Love", and "Long Tall Sally"). Just 27 hours later, drummer Jimmy Nicol was performing live with The Beatles in Copenhagen, Denmark.

June 04, 1964: KB Hallen, Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
June 05, 1964: Treslong, Hilversum, Holland, (recording TV show, VARA)
June 06, 1964: Auction Hall (Veilinghal), Blokker, Holland
June 09 ,1964: Princess Theatre, Kowloon, Hong Kong
June 12, 1964: Centennial Hall, Adelaide, Australia
June 13, 1964: Centennial Hall, Adelaide, Australia

Jimmie Nicol & the Beatles,  June, 03 - 1964  Jimmie Nicol & the Beatles,  June, 03 - 1964
June 3, 1964: The Beatles and Jimmie Nicol in the studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London)

June 13, 1964: The Beatles perform two more shows at Centennial Hall, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. For the four shows that The Beatles performed in Adelaide there were 12,000 tickets, for which 50,000 requests had been placed. The two shows on this day are drummer Jimmy Nicol's last as a "temporary Beatle". Ringo Starr will meet The Beatles in Melbourne the next day and perform with them right away. Jimmy Nicol's brief stint as a 'member' of the world's most popular musical group is over.

The Beatles - Blokker - June 6,1964  The Beatles - Blokker - June 6, 1964
The Beatles and Jimmie Nicol - Blokker, Holland - June 6, 1964

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1964/1965 Jimmy Nicol & The Shubdubs

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Solosingle as The Sound of Jimmy Nicol
Decca F12017 1965 Clementine / Bim Bam
Parrot PAR9752V 1965 Clementine / Roaring Blue (US)

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Jimmy was declared bankrupt and divorced in 1965.

Jimmie Nicol 1965


Sept. 1965 - Feb. 1967 THE SPOTNICKS
In September 1965 Jimmie was invited to join the legendary Swedish guitar group The Spotnicks.
He was also offered a job for the musical West Side Story. On 7th. of October, Jimmie played with The Spotnicks in Oslo, and later on in his first gig in Sweden (Kungälv). The Spotnicks rush-released a single, The Spotnicks Introducing Jimmie Nicol, with Husky and Drum Diddley.

The Spotnicks with Jimmie Nicol (October 1965)
The Spotnicks (October 1965)
Bo Winberg (lead gt.) - Björn Thelin (bass gt.) - Jimmie Nicol (drums) - Peter Winsnes (keyb./vocals) - Bob Lander (rhythm gt./vocals)

In November that year, The Spotnicks started a world tour until March 1966.
The visited the USA (New York), Mexico (Mexico-City), USA (Los Angelos), Hawaii, Japan (Tokyo), Japan (tour of one month; Karelia made No.1 in Japan in January 1966), Hong Kong, Manilla, Bangkok, Beirut, Italy (Rome - TV show), Germany (Berlin), Denmark (Copenhagen). After coming home they toured Sweden nationally. The albums "Spotnicks in Tokyo" and "Spotnicks Around The World" were released that year with Nicol on drums. Jimmie Nicol (& The Spotnicks) released a single Stagger Lee / C'mon Everybody (SweDisc SWES 1160) under his name James George. In October 1966, The Spotnicks visited Germany. "Spotnicks In Winterland" was released in Sweden, Japan and Mexico shortly before Christmas.

sswes1111.jpg (3514 bytes)    sswes1160.jpg (3196 bytes)

In January 1967, The Spotnicks started another world tour during which they returned to Japan and Mexico. The first live album of The Spotnicks was recorded at the Sankei-Hall in Tokyo and released as "The Spotnicks Live In Japan"

The Spotnicks live in Japan

Jimmie Nicol left the group in February '67, during recording of the album "Spotnicks in Acapulco" in Mexico. He got so much inspired by the Latin samba and bossa nova music from Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, that he decided to stay in Mexico. It's at that point that Jimmie's history gets clouded.

The Spotnicks in Japan 1966

DISCOGRAPHY: THE SPOTNICKS WITH JIMMY NICOL

1965 SweDisc SWES 1111:
(45) The Spotnicks Introducing Jimmie Nicol

HUSKY / DRUM DIDDLEY

1966 SweDisc SWELP 38 (Mono) SWELPS38 (Stereo):
(LP) The Spotnicks in Tokyo

AUTUMN IN JAPAN /  CRYING IN A STORM   /  DRUM DIDDLEY / FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE / HAPPY SILENCE / HUSKY /  LOOK UP TO THE EVENING STAR /  MEMORY OF SUMMER /  ODE TO DAWN /   PIERCING THE UNKNOWN /   PLAYBOY'S BUNNY HOP /  THE LONESOME PORT /  THE OLD LOVE LETTERS

1966 SweDisc SWELP C 42:
(LP) The Spotnicks around the world

CASTING MY SPELL /  GEISHA GIRL /  GREEN EYES /   HONGKONG BLUES /  MOOD OF ASIA /  PLÄTTLAGGEN /    RECADO /  SENTIMENTAL GUITAR /  STEEL GUITAR RAG /  SUBJECT IN ORBIT /   TURISTA /  USKA DARA /  WHAT NOW MY LOVE /   WORRYING KIND

1966 Phono-Pop P 119:
(3” tape) The Spotnicks Around the world 

AUGUSTINE

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 1966 SweDisc SWES 1160:
(45) James George

 C'MON EVERYBODY /   STAGGER LEE

 1966 SweDisc SWELP C 48:
(LP) The Spotnicks in Winterland

AULD LANG SYNE /  FROSTY THE SNOWMAN /  HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS /  I SAW MAMA KISSING SANTA CLAUS / JINGLE BELLS /  PARADE OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS /  RUDOLF THE REDNOSED REINDEER /  SILENT NIGHT /   SLEIGH RIDE /  WHITE CRISTMAS /  WINTER WONDERLAND /   WINTERLAND

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1967 Polydor SLPM 1313 + SweDisc SWELP C 53
(LP) The Spotnicks Live in Japan

CRYING IN A STORM  / HAPPY SILENCE  / HAVA NAGILA /   HEY GOOD LOOKING / JOHNNY GUITAR /
KARELIA / LAST SPACE TRAIN / LOOK UP TO THE EVENING STAR / MEMORY OF SUMMER / OVER AND OVER / THE SPOTNICKS THEME / WABASH CANNON BALL / WHAT DID I SAY / WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN

1967 SweDisc SWELP C 60:
(LP) The Spotnicks in Acapulco

WHAM /   EL TORO BRAVO / MOSCOW (only 3 tracks with Jimmie Nicol)

The Spotnicks in Mexico

Japanese Polydor single

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Pic of Jimmie on the back of Japanese Polydor single


The Spotnicks - I'm Comin' Home (Italian TV show 1966)

Jimmy Nicol & The Spotnicks in Mexico (Feb. 1967)
The Spotnicks in Mexico (early 1967) - Showtime Jimmie Nicol!


In Billboard from July 22, 1967 the following you could read:
Jimmy Nicol and Eddie Quinn (RCA Victor Mexicana) have formed a group they call Los Nicolquinn to present shows throughout Mexico and in Southern Startes of the U.S.
From this group appeared one LP on the RCA Victor label in Mexico and Jimmy also has made at least one solo single for the label.
RCA Victor 76-2398 (1967): Estoy en la onda (Get the feeling) / Muchachas en las rocas (Girls on the rocks)

Los Nicolquinn

In Mexico was Jimmie since 1967 working with a samba & bossa-nova group. He married and had a son, Howard, who was to win a prestigious award for his work as sound engineer on a BBC collection of Beatles recordings in the 1990s. In 1969 Jimmie recorded Jumpin' Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) sung in Spanish for Discos Orfeon with his own band "Jimmie Nicol Show".

1969 Discos Orfeon LP-E-12-623 (Mexico)
(LP) Era Psicodelica Del A Go Go
Jimmie Nicol Show: Jumpin' Jack Flash (sung in Spanish)

In 1971 Jimmy Nicol was member of a Mexican rock group called
BLUE RAIN

Members:
Remy Bastien: bass; Chris Riggs: guitar & vocals (both formerly with Flying Karpet, a Mexican/American psych rock band); Claude Henry: guitar & vocals (formerly with Check Mate); Jimmie Nicol: drums.

They recorded in Jimmie's house where he had a 2-channel recording studio, the band is interviewed in a Mexican magazine and Jimmy talks about his living in Mexico and about when he replaced Ringo.

Later he gave jazz concerts, composed film music and worked for universities. He also started a button factory in Mexico. In 1975 he returned to England, where he had a building trade specialised in renovation of old houses.

Jimmie was invited by the Swedish TV for an interview about a documentary of The Spotnicks in 1983. A year later he was traced by the Dutch fanclub Beatles Unlimited. Twenty years later he came to Amsterdam as special guest for the Beatles convention of 1984. Stayed at the same Hotel as in June 1964 and played some Beatles songs together with The Clarks at Treslong, Hilversum.


Videoclip of Jimmie from 1983. Jimmie is here on Swedish TV speaking about his days with The Spotnicks.
He was also offered a job for the musical West Side Story in September 1965

Jimmie Nicol and Tom Blomberg - Treslong, Hillegom, June 9, 1984
Jimmie with Tom Blomberg at Treslong, Hillegom (June 9, 1984)
Photo: Ton van Draanen - 
www.vandaagindemuziek.nl


1988:  Jimmie died only 49 years old! (source: René van Haarlem from Beatles Unlimited heard this news from his son in 1994), but there was an article in the UK newspaper Daily Mail (Saturday, October 1, 2005) saying that he was still alive and well and living as a recluse in London and denying reports that he died in 1988!

Jimmie Nicol 2005
Jimmie Nicol 2005


Special thanks goes to Bert Bossink for his article about Jimmie Nicol in his magazine The Fabulous Sounds Of The Sixties (No. 53 - November 1984) and Davy Peckett from New Gandy Dancer (Issue 73 - November 2004 Where Are They Now - Jimmy Nicol?) for the inspiration!

(c) piet muys, june 2005