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Ringo Starr is taken ill before The Beatles’ world tour

On the morning of 3 June 1964 Ringo Starr collapsed with tonsillitis and pharyngitis during a photo session for the Saturday Evening Post newspaper in Barnes, south London.

He was taken to University College Hospital where he was ordered to rest completely. Unfortunately for him, The Beatles were due to begin their world tour in Denmark the following day, and it was too late to cancel.

George Martin suggested they draft in session musician Jimmie Nicol as a temporary replacement.

I was having a bit of a lie down after lunch when the phone rang. It was EMI asking if I could come down to the studio to rehearse with The Beatles. Two hours after I got there I was told to pack my bags for Denmark.
Jimmie Nicol

The Beatles with Jimmie Nicol, June 1964

I was very against that. I didn’t want to do the tour without Ringo. It’s stupid. It’s like Cliff Richard getting sick and putting someone else in his place. The Beatles were, always will be, the Four Fabs, and so three Fabs and a not-so-Fab is not The Beatles. At least, that’s how I felt.

When I think back, it’s hard to imagine how we were treated or bullied by Brian Epstein and George Martin into accepting that situation that we had to go. We should have been more forceful and said, ‘No, we’re not doing it.’ It was also no help to Jimmie Nicol’s life to be king for a day.

George Harrison
Fifty Years Adrift, Derek Taylor

Between 3pm and 4pm, Nicol and the three remaining Beatles ran through six songs from their current stage set: ‘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’. The rehearsal was not recorded.

After Nicol had left the studios at Abbey Road, John, Paul and George remained behind to record demos and overdubs for several songs in Studio Two.

Last updated: 10 November 2020
Recording: Any Time At All, Things We Said Today, When I Get Home
Recording: You Know What To Do, You're My World, No Reply, Any Time At All, Things We Said Today
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