An Excerpt from The Beatle Who Vanished by Jim Berkenstadt
Where is Jimmie Nicol, ex-Beatles drummer?
"The Call," it took only the routine ring of the telephone to turn Jimmie Nicol’s world upside down. It came out of the blue, born of immense urgency. It was neither a fluke nor a “lucky break” as some have described that fateful day of Wednesday, June 3, 1964. "The Call" had meaning on many levels. It came out of desperation, yet it was also a reward, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that sprang from years of hard work, determination, fate, and musical dues-paying … “Hello, is Jimmie Nicol in please? This is George Martin calling.” Continue Reading . . .

An Excerpt from The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 by Kevin Howlett
Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2013 by Kevin Howlett.
In a remarkable night for BBC Television, The Beatles dominated the Saturday evening schedule of 7 December 1963. First, the Beatles were seen by 23 million viewers in Juke Box Jury. The show had been an integral part of Saturday night viewing since 1959. Based on an American format, four ‘jurors’ reviewed a record and then ruled whether it would be a hit or a miss. Presenter David Jacobs rang a bell if the panel’s verdict was a ‘Hit’. A ‘Miss’ was rejected by the sound of a klaxon. John had appeared on an edition in June 1963, alongside frequent panelist Katie Boyle and the obligatory teenagers: actors Bruce Prochnik (playing the title role in the current West End production of Oliver!) and Caroline Maudling. John voted every one of the records a ‘Miss’ – even ‘Devil in Disguise’ by his first rock ‘n’ roll hero Elvis Presley.
An Excerpt from When They Were Boys by Larry Kane
Mona, Pete - A Home For The Boys
In August 1960, nervously facing their first visit to Hamburg, the newly renamed Beatles needed a backbeat. The Beatles had split with Ken Brown, a talented guitarist, in what Pete describes as a huff over money—“huff” in Liverpool means a serious argument. Pete was close to Brown, so it was a lit- tle awkward when Paul McCartney called him and made the invitation. He joined the band, along with the small entourage, on the ferry ride across the sea to Hamburg. As the first non-temporary drummer took his place with the vagabond touring group, mother Mona was already plotting concerts and special appearances for their return, with the promoter Brian Kelly. She was also trying to book them in the Cavern, but she came away frustrated. The owner of the Cavern had a strict jazz-only policy at the time. She called incessantly, but the policy remained intact, and that was that.

But in the B.E. era (before Epstein), their association with Mona helped kick-start the boys into high gear during a period of almost two years that would bring Pete instant fame, a fast demise, and the gift of a brother, Vincent “Roag” Best, who was conceived by Mona in her relationship with Aspinall, a man half her age, a story that is an unusual side event for the Best family. But while Roag would become a blessing to the Best family, the story of Pete and the boys themselves had an unhappy ending. Mona and Pete were truly, before Brian, the closest thing to real managers the boys had had. In later years, Mona told the Beatles’ first biographer, Hunter Davies, “He’d [Pete] been their manager before Brian arrived, did the bookings, collected the money . . . looked upon them as friends. I had helped them so much, got them bookings, lending them money. I fed them when they were hun- gry. I was far more interested in them than their own parents.”

The last statement in that interview is furiously contested by all those who remember the families’ support for the boys, but in reality, Mona had a stronger understanding of the boys’ craft—their music—than the mostly loving parents. And then of course, there was her son. The truth is that Pete Best was, and remains, an incredible drummer.

There were 274 performances by the Beatles at the Cavern from 1961 through 1963. Sir Ron Watson, now of Southport, worked nearby and saw sixty-one of them. “In the beginning,” he says, “before their creative songwriting began, the Beatles were able to take American songs and put their own stamp on them. Pete Best was an integral part of that. I would munch on a hot dog or cheese roll, sip a Coke, and tried to ignore the thick cloud of cigarette smoke as I watched them, mostly at lunchtime, some of this in the pre-Richie [Ringo] days.”

Watson, who worked at the nearby landmark Liver Building, was obsessed with the hard-rock sound, and the drummer’s beat. “Dynamic is an understatement,” he recalls. “The place was always packed, boys and girls together. I will tell you, Larry, that the truth of the matter is . . . Pete was an anchor, although a shy one. They played two long sets each time, and the drumming energized them. Quite often the boys would mix with the crowd; Paul, of course, was the most talkative. Pete was friendly but unassuming. He appeared, I think, a little uncomfortable with the fact that he was the girls’ favorite.” “The girls’ favorite.” That’s an understatement.

A Summary of The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay by Bruce Spizer
The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay tells the fascinating story of how and why the Beatles first record releases in America came out Vee-Jay, an independent label based in Chicago that specialized in gospel and R&B music. The book explains why Capitol Records turned down the American rights to release Beatles recordings a total of four times and how a New York lawyer brokered a deal that gave Vee-Jay the U.S. rights for the Beatles for five years. Author Bruce Spizer, who is an attorney, explains how Vee-Jay's Chicago lawyer committed a legal blunder that forced Vee-Jay to surrender its rights to the Beatles to Capitol Records on April Fool's Day, 1964, leaving Vee-Jay with less than eight months to manufacture Beatles records. Through creative marketing, Vee-Jay managed to squeeze out over 16 different singles and albums from only 16 Beatles songs! The book tells the full story behind each record, including how the songs were written and recorded, how the records did on the charts, how many copies were sold and how the records were marketed. You will learn why Vee-Jay released albums that combined four Beatles songs with eight by Frank Ifield and how the company was able to issue a deluxe double album titled The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons. The book shows full color images of all album covers, picture sleeves and labels. The original edition of the Vee-Jay book sold out years ago and now sells for hundreds of dollars in the secondary market if you can find it. The new revised and expanded digital edition of this classic is now available exclusively from the author's website

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