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Author Topic: The Beatles minus George  (Read 14867 times)

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Loco Mo

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The Beatles minus George
« on: December 22, 2006, 09:12:42 PM »

Do you think it's possible?  Would we still have had BEATLES with John, Paul, Ringo and ?

Everyone attributes the BEATLES' enormous incomprehensible success to the songwriting partnership of Lennon/McCartney.  

Does this mean that Ringo and George were irrelevant?  That anyone could have replaced them provided they were reasonably qualified?  

It seems many posters love to speculate over BEATLES puzzles like this one.  I tend to believe that the BEATLES were a phenomenon in which every component needed to be just the way it was.  It's hard to understand this but I think it's true.

In a sense, this means that even the lowest BEATLE was equal to the highest.  The BEATLES were and are a rarity in terms of the fame, fortune and legacy they acquired.  I think the BEATLES equation was absolute.  Any alteration, no matter how slight, may have offset and possibly destroyed the balance.

I think that Paul would have continued on into the music world without the others.  I've read about first-hand friends and observers of the early BEATLE days who felt Paul was most likely to succeed.  If not, he'd probably have made a very good bus driver.  Many felt John was lazy, unmotivated and driftless and would have gone NO where without Paul.  George was afraid he'd have been an electrician and imagined that would have been the equivalent of an uninspired hardscrabble life.  Ringo thought he'd have been a hairdresser.  He'd probably have continued drumming until his late twenties or so - standard burnout stage for the PROfessional Music Dream for many.

Hey, how about if Eric Clapton had gotten in instead of George?  Would he have been a  lucky enough man to make the grade as a full fledged BEATLE?

Dream on, folks, and ye shall, for sure.  There's no end to this BEATLES Madness, is there?

If there is a God and I ever meet Him/Her/It, I will ask this:  Please, God, please please me and explain to me the mystery of the BEATLES.  What caused BEATLEmania?  Who was the most important of the 4-headed Monster?  Why'd You wait so long to create BEATLES?  What BEATLES wonders never occurred because of the "untimely deaths" of John and George?  Would the BEATLES ever have reunited?  Exactly, God, who was Billy Shears and who was really Paul - the Walrus or was John, in fact, proven to be the ultimate Walrus?  And the Egghead, God, was that you?  The Supreme Egghead who created the Supreme BEATLES?  And lastly, God, aren't You the least bit jealous of them?  Why, they were more popular than You were for a time.  I wonder - are they still?

But thank You, BEATLES creating God!!  I think the BEATLES were your greatest ACHEIVEMENT!!!  Glory Hallelujah!!!  BEATLES FOREVER!!!
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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2006, 09:17:29 PM »

I think it would more likley be John, Paul, George and? than John, Paul, Ringo and ?
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raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2006, 03:48:27 PM »

Quote from: 156
[...]
And the Egghead, God, was that you?  [...]
Wasn't God the fifth guy?
Quote from: 156
[...]
Hey, how about if Eric Clapton had gotten in instead of George?  Would he have been a  lucky enough man to make the grade as a full fledged BEATLE?
[...]
Eric could have been a good substitute ...

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harihead

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2007, 06:54:04 PM »

I'm not sure if Eric Clapton or anyone else would have made a good substitute. I think with the Beatles the chemistry was an essential ingredient, easily equal to the musicianship. As John said, none of the Beatles were technical musicians. They had drive and attitude, and their music was an extension of that. My personal theory on why Pete Best got the sack was because he wasn't one of the "gang"; he didn't socialize with them. John wanted to have a gang. They were happiest in that "all for one, one for all" push to the top that they did.

I had this debate with a friend of mine just recently. His question was, "Who was the most replaceable of the Beatles?" I said Ringo and he said George. "George!" I cried. "No way! Who would do all those leads? Who would pull those wiseackers Paul and John back in when they got too wild, and focus on the presentation of the music? Who would harmonize in that perfect blend of voices that they had?" It's not just a matter of (in George's words) how many notes you can fit into a certain amount of space.

Now, my friend really got at me. "Ringo!" he cried. "No, he's essential! He does..." this and that and the other thing-- you see, my friend in a drummer.  :) So he was aware of how valuable Ringo's contribution was. I play guitar, so I knew how valuable George's contribution was. It was a fun debate, and gave me much more of an appreciation for what Ringo did bring to the band --besides, again, the vital bit of being a compatible personality that had to be shut up in a room with the same people for 3 years. Just imagine it; even little things would start to drive you crazy after a while. These guys had to really get along well or they would have exploded from the enforced captivity.

I think if Pete had stayed in the band, the Beatles would have self-destructed in 1965. I just think that at that time, the external pressures would have combined with the internal pressures to split the group apart. Nothing to do with the music; I think the personality clash would have killed them.  

That's why I say "no" to Clapton or any other substitute. Since he wasn't part of the "gang" (or the dynamic duo in the case of John and Paul), the group dynamics would have been totally different. We wouldn't have had the pull towards Eastern philosophy or music. The Beatles still would have been good-- very good. But I don't think they would have been as great as they ultimately became. I don't think we'd be writing about them 36 years after they'd broken up if the line-up was altered. I think it was special, and all these guys were a gift. So, to quote Loco Mo, "Glory Hallelujah!!!  BEATLES FOREVER!!!"
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2007, 07:48:18 PM »

Eric as a possible substitute by 1969, that was the suggestion ... not from the very start (tho thinking of that, he was not very far from how and what George was in many many ways, after all)
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harihead

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2007, 09:35:49 PM »

Oh, I see. I believe Loco Mo was talking about subbing at the beginning, as he's talking about George being an electrician and Ringo being a hairdresser, which I don't believe they would have been in 1969.  :)

However, if you're saying very late in their career, put Eric in instead of George-- I still don't see this happening. I suppose it's possible, but you'd have to consider:

1. George and Eric were best friends, so George would really have to encourage E to do it
2. Eric doesn't sound like George, so those close harmonies would sound different-- and I love their harmonies!
3. Eric is a brilliant soloist, whereas George is a melody-writer who composes solos to support the song. I think that the structure of the Beatles songs would undergo a drastic change if they brought Eric in. Otherwise, the Beatles would stifle what Eric excelled at. With the Beatles the way they were, the focus was on the song.
4. And what about Eric's own compositions? They don't sound very "Beatly" to me. He has a unique style.

Your turn!
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2007, 09:52:04 PM »

My turn? Ready, steady ... GO!!!  ;D

You're probably right about Loco Mo talking about subbing at the beginning ... the only thing I can add is that I was only thinking about an hipothetical replacement by 1969.

My opinon about your 4 points:
1. Yep, I agree that George would have to encourage Eric to join them but I don't think that would be hard for him ... the question could be: would Eric have wanted to join them? I guess he would, knowing that he played with John in Toronto almost without any previous plan ... but a plane!  ;D

2. You're right, obviously: Eric didn't sound like George but the guys didn't sing too many three harmonies by that time ... tho John and Paul sung together in several songs during the Get Back project and album!

3. This is the strongest point, in my opinion: Eric as a soloist and George as a melody-writer. The structure of the songs could have changed because of Eric but I can only see this happening to John's songs because we all know that Paul was very strict about the arrangements of his songs (spice-alley with the solos ... that he used to compose himself).

4. Eric's songs? He was not as prolific as George so this could be an advantage if we're thinking about how long the group's life could have been ... and if the other three could make Ringo's contributions sound like the ones from the others they could try with Eric's too ... tho I agree that they would have to work harder!!!

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adamzero

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2007, 10:45:38 PM »

I doubt Clapton would have gone off to join the Beatles or if he had he would had lasted--he'd had too much "group" problems in every group he'd ever been in--Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes.  

I think George was far more essential than Ringo.  And the lack of a fourth member might have helped group cohesion.  Paul could have played drums on the albums (or used session guys like Brian Wilson did) and they could have an innocuous guy on the tours.  Like the fellow who subbed for Ringo in Australia.  (I think Paul being bossy in the studio had a lot to do with his ability to feel the architecture of a song--particularly the drums/bass foundation--if he had total control of a paid musician it might have lessened the in-fighting).  

No Ringo might have meant more room for George's songs and his development earlier.  Less dissatisfaction from him.  Instead of the silly Lennon-McCartney split, maybe they would have wised up and done real song credits on every song.  Taxman as Harrison/Lennon, for example.  Yesterday as McCartney, etc.  George should have gotten co-writer for "And Your Bird Can Sing" for his amazing part that makes the song.

The Beatles then would have been a trinity instead of a quaternity.  I don't know what the social-religio-pop-culture consequences would have been.

Oh no, Ringo is the cause that the Beatles broke up!?!?

Just kidding.  Without Ringo, we would have no "Hard Day's Night" or "Tomorrow Never Knows" or the drums on Rain or Get Back or the quirky original sound of a hundred other songs.

If you want to give them percentages I'd say: John-33%, Paul-33%, George-20%, Ringo-14%

They all four mattered, if not equally, then


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harihead

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2007, 12:00:30 AM »

Thanks for the info on Clapton and his band relationships, Adamzero! I didn't know that about him.

Interesting Ringo theory-- quite compelling, actually. Hmm, if they'd been the Threetles all along... We need a Ringo advocate to jump in here!  :D
But no HDN movie would be hard to take...  :'( ;D

Real credits for the songs... it would have stopped a lot of quibbling later! *sigh*

Quote from: Adamzero
If you want to give them percentages I'd say: John-33%, Paul-33%, George-20%, Ringo-14%
Only 20% for poor George? *drowns sorrows by playing Within You Without You* Actually, I think this is probably a pretty good call, based on the Beatles catalog. *steals a couple percentage points from Ringo and gives them to George*

Raxo's points:

1. Yeah, we can assume George would want to willingly leave to develop his own songs, and find his replacement. He'd naturally suggest Eric.
2. But I LOVE the three-part harmonies! *emotionally clings to #2*
3. *flexes muscles * ...which is what Paul would have to do, preparing for all those new arguments in the studio!  :D
4. You're right, who cares about Eric's songs? Shove them to the side along with Ringo's.  :o  ;)
Although I can't really speak to this point, as I'm not as familiar with Eric's catalog. I don't know how keen he was on publishing his own material.
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2007, 01:13:36 AM »

1. In case George had left the group it would have been because he felt he was limitated ... mainly because he had got tons of songs and the way they were recording was oppressive for him ... I think that, after telling this to Eric, he would encoraging him to join the other three ... if Eric was determinated, of course  ;D ...


2. We all, -almost all of us-, love the three-part harmonies but except This Boy, Yes It Is, Nowhere Man, Because and maybe two or three good vocal arrangements like Paperback Writer or I'm Down they were not thinking too much in that kind of harmonies! ... Had you noticed before that the three-part harmonies were for John's songs? ;)


3. Paul used to do it prominetly since they stopped touring, I think ... during Sgt. Pepper's sessions he used to record drums and bass, then keyboards, guitars ... but always the arrangement he had previously imagined (or he played it instead: Fixing A Hole, Good Morning, Good Morning ... ) ... during The White Album things were slightly different, I think, because, for example, he played a lot of guitars on his songs, begining with Back In The USSR (he played almost everything on that one except basses and backing vocals), Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Why Don't We Do It In The Road, I Will, Mother Nature's Son ... or the guitar part was not relevant at all, mainly because they're piano-based songs, for example: Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Martha My Dear or Honey Pie  ::) ...

... so I think that that could be the reason why George felt so bad when Paul was saying how to play the guitar part in his Two Of Us that Friday, January 10th, 1969 ... it was so long since he used to do it ... daily!!! 8)

... after all, and after the Get Back project, Paul was awared of how he was behaving in the studio because the others told him! ... and he tried to control and relax himself during the recording sessions for Abbbey Road LP (just few summer weeks) ... so it's proved that they could get on well when they wanted to  :) ...


4. Eric's composed few songs through the years ... he usually co-wrote and covered others' songs ... I believe that working with John and Paul in the studio could have been very helpful for him to improve in his writing, I think ... as it had been for George!!! ;D
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harihead

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2007, 03:16:45 AM »

Okay, Raxo:

1. We will agree to agree.  ;)

2. BUT EVERY SONG YOU LISTED IS MAGNIFICENT!! YOU CANNOT JUST DISMISS ALL THIS MAGNIFICENCE!! *whimpers * feels self becoming even more clingy regarding item #2*

3. Hah, just you wait. The punch-ups between Paul and Eric would be all over the papers within a month. Eric Bops Beatle! Lennon is quoted as saying, "I heard a noise and thought he'd just busted a string. Turns out, it was Paul."

4. It's possible Eric would enjoy working with the Beatles, for these and other reasons. I'm still not sold on it, though.  :)
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2007, 01:40:42 PM »

Let's go, harihead  ;):

1. We agree.  ;)


2. Those songs were (still are) "magnific"!!! But it was not the kind of stuff they seemed to be thinking of (apart from Because, that was from 1969) so the lack of that wonderful third vocalist would have been a pity but not a big problem: multitracks!!! ;D

3. Origanalley this was about "Eric soloist/George melody-writer" and "structure of songs changing" ... arguments between them? Sure, there were between George and the others ... and George was much more peaceful than Eric!! ... but Paul was treating George as a session guitarrist for his songs (tho Paul played a lot of guitar parts by his own at that time: during Abbey Road sessions George played bass in some songs because Paul was on guitar -Side Two, spice-alley-) ... anyway, nobody knows  for how long Eric would have been in the band ... Let's move to the last point to talk about this! ;)

4. Eric would have enjoyed working with the others, I'm sure: he played with them in 1968, and with John in December 1968 and September 1969, so it seems that the experience was not bad for him, I think! ... and not bad for John (the one who suggested -joking- during The Get Back project that Eric could be the substitute) because it seems that John was thinking about asking Eric to join The Plastic Ono Band! ... At least John would have been getting on well with Eric (Ringo too, surely) ... and Paul? Well, he would have done whatever to have the group together!!! ;D

[size=9]P.S. I enjoy debating with you, harihead![/size]
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Kevin

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2007, 02:22:50 PM »

I believe that the Beatles could have withstood the absence of Ringo or George (not sure about both). Lennon and McCartney were The Beatles, especially at the critical Beatlemania stage. It was their songs and their voices that grabbed the world and made the band huge. While George's absence would have meant some difference to the details of  The Beatles story, The Beatles would have still happened.
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harihead

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2007, 04:56:42 PM »

Perhaps not.  ;) I've got a theory, posted on another thread. What's the protocol here? I'll repost it here, but let me know if in future I should just redirect to the other post. Thanks!

Quote
One might even argue that there wouldn't have been a Beatles band at all. At the formative time, John was in art school, studying painting with Stu. He still occasionally wrote songs with Paul, but the Quarry Men had been dormant for some time. It was George who was always in a band, whether the Quarry Men or another one. It was only because the Les Stewart Quartet fell apart due to bickering on what was to be their opening night at the Casbah that George hopped on his bike and pulled the Quarry Men back together. If George's band had stayed together, John might have just continued with the arty stuff that he was so drawn to throughout his life, and Paul might have ended as a teacher (he was never in any band other than John's Quarry Men).
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2007, 05:04:37 PM »

Quote from: 551
Perhaps not.  ;) I've got a theory, posted on another thread. What's the protocol here? I'll repost it here, but let me know if in future I should just redirect to the other post. Thanks!


Giving the link to the page of the topic that contains the post and the number of the reply is usually more than enough, harihead! :)

For example, in this case:
http://dmbeatles.com/forums/b-harrison/m-1121828832/   (reply 13)
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adamzero

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2007, 10:31:15 PM »

A Paul and Eric Clapton fight sounds interesting.  Don't know who to pick on that one.  Interesting that both have been subject to wife-beating rumors in the last year.
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raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2007, 10:37:41 PM »

Quote from: 9
A Paul and Eric Clapton fight sounds interesting.  Don't know who to pick on that one.  Interesting that both have been subject to wife-beating rumors in the last year.

You're not playing with the idea of them marrying each other, are you? ;D
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harihead

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2007, 10:56:56 PM »

Naw! See, what would actually happen is... Paul and Eric would beat up Yoko!  :o *runs and hides*
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2007, 11:17:55 PM »

Quote from: 551
Naw! See, what would actually happen is... Paul and Eric would beat up Yoko!  :o *runs and hides*

And what are they waiting for? Ringo to join them?! ;D
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raxo

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Re: The Beatles minus George
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2007, 02:35:46 AM »

Quote from: 185
I believe that the Beatles could have withstood the absence of Ringo or George (not sure about both). Lennon and McCartney were The Beatles, especially at the critical Beatlemania stage. [...]

Sure? Did Paul ever need anybody else? 8)
Quote from: 297
[...]
3. Paul used to do it prominetly since they stopped touring, I think ... during Sgt. Pepper's sessions he used to record drums and bass, then keyboards, guitars ... but always the arrangement he had previously imagined (or he played it instead: Fixing A Hole, Good Morning, Good Morning ... ) ... during The White Album things were slightly different, I think, because, for example, he played a lot of guitars on his songs, begining with Back In The USSR (he played almost everything on that one except basses and backing vocals), Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Why Don't We Do It In The Road, I Will, Mother Nature's Son ... or the guitar part was not relevant at all, mainly because they're piano-based songs, for example: Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Martha My Dear or Honey Pie  ::) ...
[...]

Paul McCartney - Young Boy on TFI Friday

Paul McCartney - Flaming Pie
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