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Author Topic: Wrong Group ?  (Read 2960 times)

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DaveRam

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Wrong Group ?
« on: December 13, 2007, 11:32:34 AM »

Was George in the wrong group ?
He had the ability to lead a group of his own and certainly the songs later on . Was he  "Treading Water " in The Beatles, should he have got out in 1967 and put his own band together ?
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 11:40:20 AM »

oooh - I see him as a mediochre guitarist with a limited vocal range who could write 2 or 3 decent songs a year. ( and if I was hanging out with Lennon/McCartney/Dylan I could write 2 or 3 decent songs a year. )
I think The Beatles allowed a lesser talent to shine, rather than suffocating it.
Maybe he could have formed some Steve Hillage type thing and roped in some Indians. But I doubt whether he would have achieved any real commercial success.
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JimmyMcCullochFan

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 11:42:46 AM »

if he would have put his own band together back then I think he would have been somewhat successful. I mean the guy was a Beatle and anything Beatle sells.
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DaveRam

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 12:10:40 PM »

Quote from: 185
oooh - I see him as a mediochre guitarist with a limited vocal range who could write 2 or 3 decent songs a year. ( and if I was hanging out with Lennon/McCartney/Dylan I could write 2 or 3 decent songs a year. )
I think The Beatles allowed a lesser talent to shine, rather than suffocating it.
Maybe he could have formed some Steve Hillage type thing and roped in some Indians. But I doubt whether he would have achieved any real commercial success.

The Traveling Wilburys disprove that point a bit Kevin , yes they only made one good album , but had he attempted something similar in the 60's it might have taken off bigtime ? he was amassing more than 2 or 3 decent songs by the late 60's in my opinion and proved that with All Things Must Pass .
But i do take your point about his vocal range i like his voice but i know people who also find it a bit limited.
He did'nt have to be the lead singer there were plenty of great vocalists he could have used in the 60's ?
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 12:22:39 PM »

Quote from: 971

The Traveling Wilburys disprove that point a bit Kevin , yes they only made one good album , but had he attempted something similar in the 60's it might have taken off bigtime ? he was amassing more than 2 or 3 decent songs by the late 60's in my opinion and proved that with All Things Must Pass .
But i do take your point about his vocal range i like his voice but i know people who also find it a bit limited.
He did'nt have to be the lead singer there were plenty of great vocalists he could have used in the 60's ?

If he'd joined a supergroup - then yes all would have been well.
Formed his own group then relegated himself to lead guitarist? What would be the point. He's no Carlos Santana.
And I agree, ATMP was a great album. But he had years of back catalogue to use up. Material World just passed muster, but when he had to come up with that all important third album of new material... oh dear it just wasn't there.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 12:48:31 PM »

Quote from: 682
if he would have put his own band together back then I think he would have been somewhat successful. I mean the guy was a Beatle and anything Beatle sells.

Can't see it. The world belonged to Lennon/McCartney at that time. He may have had some initial success on the strength of his name, and association (look no further than Ringo's solo career for evidence of that), but I don't think it would have lasted. I don't think George had the stage presence, or (takes deep breath) the talent required of a leader, to carry it off. His solo career bombed somewhat after 'Material World', proving the point that 'anything Beatle' does not sell. Ringo had already proved that point with 'Sentimental Journey'.

Quote from: 971
The Traveling Wilburys disprove that point a bit Kevin , yes they only made one good album , but had he attempted something similar in the 60's it might have taken off bigtime ? he was amassing more than 2 or 3 decent songs by the late 60's in my opinion and proved that with All Things Must Pass .
But i do take your point about his vocal range i like his voice but i know people who also find it a bit limited.
He did'nt have to be the lead singer there were plenty of great vocalists he could have used in the 60's ?

I don't think the Wilbury's disprove that point at all. That was a 'supergroup', George wasn't fronting it, in fact 3 of the other members were bigger stars than he was at the time. And was he really amassing a lot of songs by the late 60's? The rejects from The White Album are not of any really great quality in my opinion. They did over 100 takes of 'Not Guilty', the most of any Beatles song in their entire career, and still couldn't get it right. Which suggests to me that even George didn't know what direction to go in. Sour Milk Sea was OK, but presumably even George didn't think it was good enough for TWA as he gave it away. He may have had a lot of bits of songs, without much of an idea of what to do with them, whereas Paul and John could turn their song ideas into magic with fairly little effort. I think Phil Spector helped him enormousely with 'All Things Must Pass', in ways that he never received from George Martin.

I've never really thought that The Beatles - after the Beatlemania period - suited George's guitar style. He's always sounded so much more comfortable in a Carl Perkins style environment to me. I think he could have found popularity in the States with that kind of thing, touring around with a band of 7 or 8, and with the ocassional guest musician thrown in for good measure. I always felt he was trying to force his songs to conform to a Beatles style, instead of doing what came naturally.
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2007, 12:54:44 PM »

Quote from: 483

. I always felt he was trying to force his songs to conform to a Beatles style, instead of doing what came naturally.


That is an excellent point., which I've never considered. I've never rated George as a guitarist, but his work on songs like What Goes On (a favourite of mine) is excellent.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2007, 12:59:53 PM »

Quote from: 185


That is an excellent point., which I've never considered. I've never rated George as a guitarist, but his work on songs like What Goes On (a favourite of mine) is excellent.

It is. His early work is very much the sound of The Beatles, but he got left behind, trying to be a Beatle, trying to be John and Paul, instead of being George Harrison.
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2007, 02:22:08 PM »

Quote from: 483

It is. His early work is very much the sound of The Beatles, but he got left behind, trying to be a Beatle, trying to be John and Paul, instead of being George Harrison.

So Lennon wanted to be Dylan, McCartney wanted to be Wilson, Harrison  wanted to be Lennon and McCartney and Ringo wanted to  be Tammy Winnette. Confused? You will be....
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2007, 02:59:43 PM »

Quote from: 185

So Lennon wanted to be Dylan, McCartney wanted to be Wilson, Harrison  wanted to be Lennon and McCartney and Ringo wanted to  be Tammy Winnette. Confused? You will be....

Rather Tammy than Dolly Parton!
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harihead

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2007, 05:33:41 PM »

Quote from: 185
( 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?

Quote from: 185
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:

Quote from: 971
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.
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2007, 05:48:57 PM »

^Yeah? Well your mum dresses you funny.
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harihead

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2007, 07:48:45 PM »

 ;D

You know I enjoy our debates. I just think you didn't think the matter through. Where are Ringo's 2 or 3 decent songs a year, if Lennon and McCartney had this magical power to bestow songwriting ability?

I honestly don't know if you write songs or not. I've been playing guitar for 40 years or so, and in all that time I've written 20 tunes that I felt worthy enough to make my play list. Too often I find myself covering the same ground. It's just not that easy to come up with new, interesting stuff.
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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 />

Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2007, 09:28:45 AM »

Quote from: 551
I honestly don't know if you write songs or not. I've been playing guitar for 40 years or so,  

Yep. I've been an on-and-off bedroom guitarist since 1976. In that time I've written maybe three songs I'd happily play in front of people. I don't try anymore.
When I was in a band (78-83) writing was much easier. You could go along with a germ of an idea and everyone would help out. The one song of mine from that era of which I'm immensley  proud was in fact a shameless Tom Petty knock off.

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DaveRam

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2007, 11:57:15 AM »

I was looking at George's solo career on Billboard last night and he was as sussessful as John in terms of chart positions ?
So if he had formed a group be it a suppergroup or just a normal band he would have matched lazy Lennon ? :P ;D
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2007, 12:09:36 PM »

Quote from: 971
I was looking at George's solo career on Billboard last night and he was as sussessful as John in terms of chart positions ?
So if he had formed a group be it a suppergroup or just a normal band he would have matched lazy Lennon ? :P ;D

It's a shame about George's solo career. I think after Dark Horse flopped he treated his music career as a bit of a hobby. Obviously very sensitive to critisism.
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2007, 12:30:35 PM »

Quote from: 483

It's a shame about George's solo career. I think after Dark Horse flopped he treated his music career as a bit of a hobby. Obviously very sensitive to critisism.

With the plagarism case against his biggest hit still raging, albums flopping (in the UK), singles rarely making the top 30 and a disastrous tour, I think it would have been hard for anyone to have walked away from George's 74-75 period without feeling a little glum.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2007, 12:48:18 PM »

Quote from: 185

With the plagarism case against his biggest hit still raging, albums flopping (in the UK), singles rarely making the top 30 and a disastrous tour, I think it would have been hard for anyone to have walked away from George's 74-75 period without feeling a little glum.

Very true. I'll never understand why he didn't delay finishing his album, and re-schedule the tour until his voice had recovered.
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Kevin

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2007, 12:56:56 PM »

Quote from: 483

Very true. I'll never understand why he didn't delay finishing his album, and re-schedule the tour until his voice had recovered.

I know a lot of people blame his illness, but at the  end of the day the album/singles just aren't very good. And his decision to include Indian muscians, screw with the lyrics of his songs and the general sanctimonious holier-than-thou preachiness of the tour infuriated the fans just as much as his croaky voice.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Wrong Group ?
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2007, 01:09:17 PM »

Quote from: 185

I know a lot of people blame his illness, but at the  end of the day the album/singles just aren't very good. And his decision to include Indian muscians, screw with the lyrics of his songs and the general sanctimonious holier-than-thou preachiness of the tour infuriated the fans just as much as his croaky voice.

True again. I don't think the album was that bad, it had it's moments, but the preaching probably did it. People don't like other peoples religious beliefs rammed down their throats, they want rock 'n' roll. And Indian music wasn't, and still isn't big in the west. Modern western music relies (in the main) on a repetitive beat, and strict, tight timing, in order that the western brain can follow it. Indian music has a structure that is far more difficult to follow, leading to boredom. World music wasn't big then, and in the grand scheme of things, isn't even today. We can follow much African music very easily because of the roots that western pop music has. But Asian music is a different kettle of fish altogether.
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