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What would the band have been without George?
17 December 2013
11.36am
trcanberra
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parlance said

trcanberra said
Answering the actual question - a trio :)

Still cracks me up.

Okay, reposting over the next few...

parlance

Inspired of course by my watching Yellow Submarine as the mayor's quartet were 'bonked'.

 

8 January 2014
2.46pm
parlance
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Hey Dullblog has a relevant post on both George and Ringo: George and Ringo, the forgotten Beatles: A preamble and provocation for 2014.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

8 January 2014
5.09pm
Joe
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trcanberra said
Inspired of course by my watching Yellow Submarine as the mayor's quartet were 'bonked'.

The pedant in me always objects that he says "A trio... duet... solo", rather than "A trio... duo... solo".

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

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8 January 2014
5.46pm
Bungalow Bob
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Joe said 

The pedant in me…

I had to look this word up, and now thanks to you I have added it to my vocabulary. I had heard the word pedantic before, in vague contexts, but I wouldn't have been able to define it. When I saw pedant here, I finally said "I should research this now, because all I can think of is the word pedophile, and I'm pretty sure that's not correct. Yes, I am glad that that is cleared up, and now this discussion about what the Beatles would be without George can continue unabated.

I'm sure this has been brought up here before, but as far as George's place in the band, I am reminded of the bass player in the movie Spinal Tap, who refers to the Lennon and McCartney-ish leaders of his band as being dueling visionaries, like "fire and ice," and he describes himself as "being in the middle, like lukewarm water." Not that I think of George as "lukewarm water," but that scene makes me smile, like this: :)

8 January 2014
6.22pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Honestly, I'm not sure. I'd love to say that George is the only person who could have made the band work. But that may not be true. Same for John, Paul, or Ringo. Can we be sure that The Beatles would not still be considered the best band in history if any of them had been a different person, or not there at all? We can't. They would have been different for sure, majorly different, but they might have still been incredible, perhaps in a different way. We have no way to tell though. 

(This signature brought to you by Winter. Coming for an abnormally long amount of time.)
9 January 2014
6.18pm
Bungalow Bob
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Joe said

trcanberra said
Inspired of course by my watching Yellow Submarine as the mayor's quartet were 'bonked'.

The pedant in me always objects that he says "A trio... duet... solo", rather than "A trio... duo... solo".

I was not familiar with the word pedant, so Iooked it up yesterday. I was thrilled with my new vocabulary word, and I was anxious to "show it off" to my wife, so I was trying to think of a sentence to use it in. Spontaneously, I started to sing "She's A Woman"… "My love don't bring me presents, I know that's she's no pedant"… :)

OK, OK, that's a cheap joke, and it's not even on topic, I apologize… Without further ado, let's get back to where the band would be without George.

9 January 2014
11.52pm
Atlas
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If someone calls me a 'pedant' I answer, "Pedant, I?"

12 January 2014
12.28am
Hey Jude
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A guitarist, a drummer, and a rhythm guitarist. The bassist wouldn't be there because Paul would have to play guitar. Either that or they wouldn't have made it past the Quarrymen.

We were talking about the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion.

27 January 2014
9.00pm
Sour Milk Sea
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It's pretty evident from early setlists that George sang lead more in the early days than he did when they first started making records. Also, according to The Unreleased Beatles by Richie Unterberger, George had a lot of influence in early setlists, singing more contemporary hits like "Take Good Care of My Baby", "Picture of You" and "Sheik of Araby", probably gaining the band popularity. And, lets not forget his entry into the Quarrymen was marked with a pivotal switch from Skiffle to Rock 'n' Roll.

If I seem to act unkind, it isn't me, its just my mind that is confusing things

 

28 January 2014
9.23pm
Zig
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What would the band have been without George? It may not have even existed, period.

In reading Tune In I am constantly amazed at the events that, had the slightest variation taken place, could have either made or broken the band.

Some examples:

If mother Mary McCartney had lived, would she have prevented Paul from pursuing a musical career?

What if Ringo really had died of peritonitis?

What if George did not question what the "surplus band members" were doing in the band (Quarry Men)?

How about that incredibly coincidental 2nd meeting between Allan Williams and Bruno Koschmider at the 2i's in London?

The book is full of little moments like these that could have altered history forever. "No George / No Beatles" is a very real possibility that could easily have come true. That could be said about any of the four.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

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28 January 2014
10.48pm
Linde
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I feel the same about that as Zig does. 

I too was really surprised to see how some things happened, but could've happened very differently. Had one thing changed, their whole course of life would have.

29 January 2014
12.33am
Ahhh Girl
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Linde said
I feel the same about that as Zig does. 

I too was really surprised to see how some things happened, but could've happened very differently. Had one thing changed, their whole course of life would have.

Then I probably wouldn't have met you Linde and all these other folks. A truly paul-mccartney thought.

 

29 January 2014
5.09pm
thisgirlthatgirl
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Hi all (I'm new by the way, do be kind...)

I subscribe to the "four sides of a square" theory - it's hard to imagine them being as successful with any one of them removed, but specifically -

  • George's early commitment to the role of lead guitarist allowed John and Paul to concentrate more on their writing, while he worried about the leads & fills - obviously helping to create their distinctive sound.
  • I suspect there might have been more disagreements between John & Paul in the early days without George acting as a buffer at times
  • As others have said, maybe they wouldn't have got Ringo, with George being (probably) the one who pushed for getting him in the group most
  • Less confidence about the US trip - in an interview John said only Brian and George were sure they would be a big hit over there
  • Probably no interest in Indian music or religion - which means lots of great songs who were influenced by the Eastern musical scales / rules being lost to us - including I Am The Walrus, Across The Universe etc. etc.
  • Octopus's Garden might not have been completed :)

Peace and love

29 January 2014
5.15pm
parlance
Slaggers
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^^ Great first post, thisgirlthatgirl. Welcome to the board!

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

30 January 2014
9.30am
thisgirlthatgirl
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Thanks parlance! :) That's very kind of you, but I don't think I expressed myself too well. 

What I meant when I said "George's early commitment to the role of lead guitarist allowed John and Paul to concentrate more on their writing, while he worried about the leads & fills" - I was trying to say that, in the early days, John and Paul left it to George to (sort of) "finish" some of their songs by adding vital guitar phrasing. I know this didn't happen all the time and sometimes George Martin would give specific instructions, but in the Material World film, Paul is talking about a song and he says something like "that's George that", praising him for his contribution to this particular song, saying that the guitar is what really turned it from good to great. It's really bugging me now which song Paul was talking about!

Peace and love

30 January 2014
12.16pm
parlance
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thisgirlthatgirl said
It's really bugging me now which song Paul was talking about!

And I Love Her?

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

3 February 2014
8.21pm
4or5Magicians
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I agree with most of the points mention so far. I'll just chime in that the Beatles' public image in interviews, radio programs, etc had a major impact on their popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. George was a major part of that (even being the "quiet" one).

7 February 2014
9.59pm
PeterWeatherby
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A couple of years ago I wrote a review of Simon Leng's book, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, and I mentioned this specifically - how much George contributed to each song and even to the creative process itself (someone already mentioned that it was George's idea, for instance, to turn "And I Love Her" into more of an acoustic piece with classical guitars - the early demos have the boys all playing electric instruments):

Leng notes that George did not merely play a filler role, lobbing in the occasional riff to fill up some blank space in a song; on the contrary, his lead guitar work often played a crucial role in giving those songs their final shape (it was George who worked out the riff that bridged the gap between the first and second parts of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" when Lennon was struggling to stitch them together).

George's solos are hardly ever throwaway noodlings, as Leng points out multiple times; as a rule, his riffs are miniature compositions in their own right, little songs-within-the-song, and as such they carry a high degree of quality of complexity. Rarely flashy, but always memorable, George's guitar work is subservient to the song and not his own ego. More often than not, his contributions to the Lennon-McCartney compositions are what make those songs shimmer and shine: just try to imagine "A Hard Day's Night" without the jarring opening chord or the closing arpeggio fade-out; imagine "Eight Days A Week" without the sweetly ringing introduction; imagine "I Want To Hold Your Hand" without the chromatic, bluesy hook that breaks up the verses, "Nowhere Man" without its chord-based solo, or "She Said She Said" without the clever, weaving riff that echoes and serves as a counterpoint to the vocal.

Quite simply, without George, they wouldn't have been as good as they were.

Not a bit like Cagney.
7 February 2014
10.16pm
Inner Light
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PeterWeatherby said
A couple of years ago I wrote a review of Simon Leng's book, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, and I mentioned this specifically - how much George contributed to each song and even to the creative process itself (someone already mentioned that it was George's idea, for instance, to turn "And I Love Her" into more of an acoustic piece with classical guitars - the early demos have the boys all playing electric instruments):

Leng notes that George did not merely play a filler role, lobbing in the occasional riff to fill up some blank space in a song; on the contrary, his lead guitar work often played a crucial role in giving those songs their final shape (it was George who worked out the riff that bridged the gap between the first and second parts of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" when Lennon was struggling to stitch them together).

George's solos are hardly ever throwaway noodlings, as Leng points out multiple times; as a rule, his riffs are miniature compositions in their own right, little songs-within-the-song, and as such they carry a high degree of quality of complexity. Rarely flashy, but always memorable, George's guitar work is subservient to the song and not his own ego. More often than not, his contributions to the Lennon-McCartney compositions are what make those songs shimmer and shine: just try to imagine "A Hard Day's Night" without the jarring opening chord or the closing arpeggio fade-out; imagine "Eight Days A Week" without the sweetly ringing introduction; imagine "I Want To Hold Your Hand" without the chromatic, bluesy hook that breaks up the verses, "Nowhere Man" without its chord-based solo, or "She Said She Said" without the clever, weaving riff that echoes and serves as a counterpoint to the vocal.

Quite simply, without George, they wouldn't have been as good as they were.

Very well put. This should put to rest all those out there that feel George could have been replaced. Thanks for posting this.

The further one travels, the less one knows
8 February 2014
8.52am
bewareofchairs
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PeterWeatherby said
A couple of years ago I wrote a review of Simon Leng's book, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, and I mentioned this specifically - how much George contributed to each song and even to the creative process itself (someone already mentioned that it was George's idea, for instance, to turn "And I Love Her" into more of an acoustic piece with classical guitars - the early demos have the boys all playing electric instruments):

Leng notes that George did not merely play a filler role, lobbing in the occasional riff to fill up some blank space in a song; on the contrary, his lead guitar work often played a crucial role in giving those songs their final shape (it was George who worked out the riff that bridged the gap between the first and second parts of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" when Lennon was struggling to stitch them together).

George's solos are hardly ever throwaway noodlings, as Leng points out multiple times; as a rule, his riffs are miniature compositions in their own right, little songs-within-the-song, and as such they carry a high degree of quality of complexity. Rarely flashy, but always memorable, George's guitar work is subservient to the song and not his own ego. More often than not, his contributions to the Lennon-McCartney compositions are what make those songs shimmer and shine: just try to imagine "A Hard Day's Night" without the jarring opening chord or the closing arpeggio fade-out; imagine "Eight Days A Week" without the sweetly ringing introduction; imagine "I Want To Hold Your Hand" without the chromatic, bluesy hook that breaks up the verses, "Nowhere Man" without its chord-based solo, or "She Said She Said" without the clever, weaving riff that echoes and serves as a counterpoint to the vocal.

Quite simply, without George, they wouldn't have been as good as they were.

Very well put. On another forum someone mentioned that in Mark Lewisohn's "Sessions" he states that George came up with the And Your Bird Can Sing riff as welll. He threw it in at the end, and the band immediately made it the main riff of the song. The Anthology version seems to confirm this as Paul is playing bass, and it doesn't come up until later in the take.

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