Music News: What happened to 'the Beatle who vanished'?


Jimmie Nicol (far right) with the Beatles in 1964
Jimmie Nicol (far right) filling in for Ringo Starr with the Beatles on tour in Holland, 1964 (Dutch National Archives)

Drummer Jimmie Nicol has been called The Beatle Who Vanished. That's the title of a 2013 book about Nicol, who filled in for Ringo Starr on tour with the Beatles for ten concerts in 1964, when Starr was suffering from tonsilitis. Nicol already knew all the songs, having played on a Beatles cover album.

Now, Alex Orbison — the son of Roy Orbison — has bought the rights to make a movie based on author Jim Berkenstadt’s book about Nicol. The book turns into a mystery: Nicol's exact whereabouts today are unknown. (Rolling Stone)

Today's political news

In an interview with ESPN, Chance the Rapper said he's tired of people "talkin' about Chicago like it is a Third World country." Referring to President Donald Trump’s tweet about considering sending "the feds" to fight crime in Chicago, Chance said, "It sounds like he was announcin' he was going to war with Chicago." Instead, Chance hopes "he's coming in to do some type of federal overturn of our state and city budgets in terms of schooling and housing." (Okayplayer)

14 years after the Dixie Chicks were essentially blacklisted from mainstream country radio for criticizing then-president George W. Bush, country artists still have "the fear of God" about speaking out politically. That's according to singer-songwriter Radney Foster, who tells Billboard "the Dixie Chicks' black cloud looms over the entire industry in Nashville."

The rest of Billboard's report points out that the situation is complex — that many county artists share stories of working-class struggle that have political implications even if they don't get labeled "political" — but that in general, country music has been closely associated with the Republican Party since President Richard Nixon successfully courted Nashville in an attempt to win southern white voters.

Former Hennepin Theatre Trust leader files for mayor

Tom Hoch has filed papers for a possible campaign to be the next mayor of Minneapolis. Hoch recently resigned from his longtime position as leader of the Hennepin Theatre Trust — the nonprofit organization that runs the Orpheum Theatre, State Theatre, Pantages Theatre, and New Century Theatre. Hoch says he wants to see a "culture of respect" in Minneapolis, and wants to see a new level of creativity in attracting visitors downtown. "Everywhere you look it's got to be beautiful and it's got to be interesting," Hoch recently said at a meeting of the Downtown Council, which he chaired until stepping down this year. (Star Tribune)

Martin Shkreli schedules, then cancels playing of $2 million Wu-Tang album

Just over a year ago, controversial pharmaceutical czar Martin Shkreli paid $2 million for a Wu-Tang Clan album released in an edition of one. Members of the band subsequently criticized Shkreli, who became infamous when he dramatically raised the price of a lifesaving AIDS treatment drug. Trolling the nation, Shkreli subsequently said he'd release the album if Donald Trump won the presidential election — and then shared samples when Trump did in fact win.

This week, Shkreli started selling tickets ($15-$50) to an event next Tuesday at Webster Hall in New York. At the event, Shkreli promised to "discuss investing, healthcare and politics," and also "play tracks from his unreleased music collection (Wu-Tang and more)." Then, on Wednesday, the event was canceled with no further explanation. (Pitchfork)

Fiona Apple shares covers for Valentine's Day

For Valentine's Day, Fiona Apple joined an Instagram-famous senior citizen for covers of songs by Frankie Valli and Stevie Wonder. Apple recorded the duets with 69-year-old Lili Hayes, who's gained a huge online following through the accounts of her son, artist Kevin Hayes. (Billboard)

Today's Adele news

Rock legend Carlos Santana doesn't share the widespread consternation over Adele’s Grammys coup. Adele can really sing, Santana told the Australian Associated Press in an interview prior to touring Down Under — but as for Beyoncé, "it's more like modeling kind of music" and "she's not a singer, with all respect to her."

Needless to say, the Bey Hive was not pleased. "Carlos Santana saying Beyoncé isn't a singer is like someone saying to me Carlos Santana doesn't absolutely own the guitar," tweeted singer (and Graffiti Bridge featured artist) Tevin Campbell. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, Adele pulled off yet another victory — of a sort. Rumor, a five-year-old German Shepherd whose name was inspired by Adele's hit "Rumor Has It," won the Westminster Kennel Club's annual show on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. (Billboard)

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