( and if I was hanging out with Lennon/McCartney/Dylan I could write 2 or 3 decent songs a year. )
Kevin, do I have to sic Lady Catherine on you?
oooh - I see him as a mediochre guitarist with a limited vocal range who could write 2 or 3 decent songs a year.
"2 or 3 decent songs a year" could easily describe Paul's solo career, or John's, or just about any other artist you choose to name. It's true that good songwriters writing with other good songwriters seem to produce more winning product. John's last #1 was a collab with Elton John. Traveling Wilburys did a dynamite premiere album; were their solo albums at the time equally remarkable? More to the point, was their follow-up album considered as great? I think most people considered it "passed muster", but was a step down. Hmm, I guess all the guys in the band were played out after one phenomenal success-- they just couldn't cut it on the follow-up album. Too bad; I think some of them might have been promising.
The theory that you can get top talent together to try to produce a dynamite album is the idea behind supergroups. But unless the band members really mesh, as they did in the case of Beatles and Wilburys and Cream, you get a disaster. Yet people keep trying to do it because, gosh, could it be that songwriting is difficult? Being highly creative and catchy and original is a tall order for any artist. I'm happy that we have people out there sharing their creative output with us. If "all" I get is a nice solo album with some decent songs by an artist I like, I'm pretty happy. If I get a dynamite album, I'm ecstatic, but I think it's unrealistic to think we're going to get one all the time.
Back to the original question:
Was George in the wrong group ?
I've often considered this as well. I think George's style was developing in '67 in a very non-Beatley direction. He was happier there and more comfortable. I think he would have been happy to be "just" a member of any other band. He liked playing with other players, having a good time (which the Beatles ceased to do starting 1968 ), but he had Ringo's problem. Quoting Ringo, "How could I join a group when I would be more famous than anybody else in it"? Given the Beatles' fame, I think George had little choice but to go out under his own name.
I think he would have done as well as most other artists. Bob Dylan's of the opinion that George would have had a great career if he'd risen up separately, just as an artist with no Beatles around. (This is in the RS 50th anniv issue, if anyone cares to read Bob's opinions on the Beatles in full). The Beatles were so big they just drowned out the competition-- including the individual members who went on to solo careers. All of them. Much as many members of the forum appreciate the individual careers of this or that Beatle, I think the general public has only the vaguest notion of what the members did after the Beatles. The band still towers over everybody. What a wonderful legacy to have left behind.