It was 50 years ago today that John, Paul, George & Jimmie left Heathrow Airport to fly to Denmark.
Jimmie? Yes Jimmie Nicol.
You see... the day before, the Beatles were in the studio recording songs for the A Hard Day’s Night album when Ringo collapsed and was diagnosed with tonsillitis – he was taken to the hospital and ordered to have complete rest.
The opening night of a tour that was to take them to New Zealand by the end of June was in Copenhagen on 3 June. The solution to there immediate problem was to hire a stand-in drummer – which is how Jimmie Nicol flew with the other three Beatles to Copenhagen to begin their tour at the KB Hallen with shows at 6pm and 9.30pm, with 4,400 fans at each concert. From Denmark it was shows in Holland before flying back to London prior to heading to Hong Kong and then on to Australia where the band played a couple of concerts in Adelaide.
Ringo was discharged from hospital in time to fly to Australia to play the band’s show in Melbourne, followed by Sydney.
Prior to his brief stint with the Beatles Nicol was in a band called the Shubdubs and after returning from Australia he reformed the band as Jimmie Nicol and the Shubdubs. He later spent some time deputising for Dave Clark when he fell ill. While Jimmie was with the Beatles, Paul would ask him after each gig how he was getting along and he would always reply, “It’s getting better.” Three years later, McCartney was with Hunter Davies, the Beatles official biographer, and taking Paul’s dog Martha for a walk, when the sun came out. McCartney said that the weather was “getting better,” and immediately recalled Nicol, inspiring him to write the song, “Getting Better” that appeared on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.