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Paul v.s. George on Lead Guitar
12 August 2013
10.06pm
LongHairedLady
coming in through the bathroom window
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^ Inner Light, Really?  You don't think there is anything at all unique about Paul's guitar playing?  I disagree.  I think he's very different than others I have heard.  Again, I can't be too technical, I am only a beginner...  Is it because you're such a George fan, that you refuse to admit that Paul has anything special to his style?  a-hard-days-night-george-4

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

13 August 2013
12.21am
Inner Light
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I am a BEATLES FAN! I love all the Beatles but George is my favorite for mostly things that are not music related. 

My biggest gripe with 'PAUL' fans is that he is always put on a pedestal as if it should have been Paul McCartney and The Beatles. Isn't that right!

Paul plays better Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards and best singer. I'm willing to give him his due. I do feel he is a great musician. Just remember, that they were all very talented in their own way and that is what made them the greatest band in history. 

The further one travels, the less one knows
13 August 2013
5.59am
LongHairedLady
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Inner Light said
I am a BEATLES FAN! I love all the Beatles but George is my favorite for mostly things that are not music related. 

My biggest gripe with 'PAUL' fans is that he is always put on a pedestal as if it should have been Paul McCartney and The Beatles. Isn't that right!

Paul plays better Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards and best singer. I'm willing to give him his due. I do feel he is a great musician. Just remember, that they were all very talented in their own way and that is what made them the greatest band in history. 

I wasn't trying to offend you.  The Beatles were all very talented guys, and I do strongly feel that it was the combination of them and not a single one of them that made them so great.  You don't have to remind me of that, but thanks anyways.   I'm glad you're a fan.  

I love all of them, even if Paul is my "favourite".  I even tend to like John's lyrics more, so I wouldn't say that I put Paul on any Pedestal.  He's definitely not flawless.  

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

13 August 2013
11.51am
Ben Ramon
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One thing that's always struck me as funny about Paul's lead guitar style is how choppy, spontaneous and deliberately "messy" it sounds coming from a man who's a notorious note-by-note perfectionist. The Maybe I'm Amazed solo is the only one I can think of where it's obvious he worked out the melody beforehand, whereas his other solos are kind of all over the place.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
13 August 2013
5.14pm
Inner Light
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LongHairedLady said

Inner Light said
I am a BEATLES FAN! I love all the Beatles but George is my favorite for mostly things that are not music related. 

My biggest gripe with 'PAUL' fans is that he is always put on a pedestal as if it should have been Paul McCartney and The Beatles. Isn't that right!

Paul plays better Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards and best singer. I'm willing to give him his due. I do feel he is a great musician. Just remember, that they were all very talented in their own way and that is what made them the greatest band in history. 

I wasn't trying to offend you.  The Beatles were all very talented guys, and I do strongly feel that it was the combination of them and not a single one of them that made them so great.  You don't have to remind me of that, but thanks anyways.   I'm glad you're a fan.  

I love all of them, even if Paul is my "favourite".  I even tend to like John's lyrics more, so I wouldn't say that I put Paul on any Pedestal.  He's definitely not flawless.  

Sorry I was so direct with you. I just get tired sometimes of fans saying to me that I'm this self centered 'George Fan' and can't see beyond that. Paul was actually my favorite Beatle for many years. It wasn't until I got older and started to focus more on my relationship with God, Yoga and meditation that I found I was more closely linked to George than the others but I do not take anything away from those fans that have their favorites. Some don't even have a favorite Beatle. One thing I like about this site is we as fans can always express our true feelings and it's great to have other fans out there that we can share our love with.

The further one travels, the less one knows
13 August 2013
5.21pm
acmac
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RunForYourLife said
My question is, to what extent was this the band "allowing" Paul to flex his chops as a friendly gesture v.s. impatience with George? (I'm not suggesting George was incompetent, but this was the time period where he was sort of "struggling" with breaking from his rockabilly roots and finding his own style)

Geoff Emerick seemed to imply that, at least on Taxman, Paul played because George was having trouble with the solo and the band had grown impatient. I've also heard that Paul's playing on Drive My Car was the result of similar circumstances.

That's a good question. My guess would be a little of both? Not that George wasn't a great guitarist, but Klaus Voormann (who adored and respected the hell out of George) says that even as late as the Imagine sessions, George "always took a hell of a long time" to figure out his guitar parts. That was his process as an artist, and I'm glad he took that time, because now we can enjoy that wealth of gorgeous, immortal guitar work. However, studio time ain't cheap (financially or psychologically), so I can see how, especially in the earlier days, there would have been some understandable impatience. And if it happened to be a song that was suited to Paul's raw, spontaneous, "crunchy" style, then all the better. Sometimes, though, I bet it was just a matter of Paul being bored with bass or a situation where they needed to shuffle people around for limited track-space reasons. 

To add to your list: Didn't Paul also play lead on a fair bit of Pepper? The title track/reprise and "Good Morning" for sure, and maybe some other songs, too. This was the period where George had discovered Indian music and was "losing interest" in the band, and didn't always show up for sessions, so that would explain it, though Paul was presumably in full-on coked-up overeager/bossy mode, so that may have been one reason George started "losing interest" to begin with. But I've never sensed George particularly resented Paul's occasionally taking lead guitar; it was the lack of support/acknowledgement for his ideas and songwriting that was the problem. 

 

13 August 2013
5.36pm
acmac
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Ben Ramon said
One thing that's always struck me as funny about Paul's lead guitar style is how choppy, spontaneous and deliberately "messy" it sounds coming from a man who's a notorious note-by-note perfectionist. The Maybe I'm Amazed solo is the only one I can think of where it's obvious he worked out the melody beforehand, whereas his other solos are kind of all over the place.

Yes. Maybe because it's not his usual role, it's a chance for him to unleash the chaos he otherwise keeps at bay. Paul seems to need a lot of these "release valves" to deal with the pressures he feels as an artist. Like how he likes adopting pseudonyms (Sergeant Pepper, The Fireman, etc.) to hide behind, or how he invented an imaginary friend (!?!) to help him deal with little crisis moments when he's painting.

13 August 2013
11.14pm
Von Bontee
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Yeah, I've never read anything but praise from George for the "Taxman" solo - seemed pleased that Paul would make a nice contribution to his song.

Somebody posted something recently (can't remember who - possibly Mr. Ramon?) about George still being stuck in Carl Perkins mode when it came to solo-time for about a year after the music advanced beyond it; and how that, along with the sitar/tamboura derailment, led to Paul stepping up.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
14 August 2013
6.35am
LongHairedLady
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Ben Ramon said
One thing that's always struck me as funny about Paul's lead guitar style is how choppy, spontaneous and deliberately "messy" it sounds coming from a man who's a notorious note-by-note perfectionist. The Maybe I'm Amazed solo is the only one I can think of where it's obvious he worked out the melody beforehand, whereas his other solos are kind of all over the place.

That's what I love about his solo's, how random they are.  a-hard-days-night-john-1

 

Inner Light said
Sorry I was so direct with you. I just get tired sometimes of fans saying to me that I'm this self centered 'George Fan' and can't see beyond that. Paul was actually my favorite Beatle for many years. It wasn't until I got older and started to focus more on my relationship with God, Yoga and meditation that I found I was more closely linked to George than the others but I do not take anything away from those fans that have their favorites. Some don't even have a favorite Beatle. One thing I like about this site is we as fans can always express our true feelings and it's great to have other fans out there that we can share our love with.

Peace and Love.  apple01

 

 

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

14 August 2013
8.11am
Duke_of_Kirkcaldy
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Ben Ramon said
One thing that's always struck me as funny about Paul's lead guitar style is how choppy, spontaneous and deliberately "messy" it sounds coming from a man who's a notorious note-by-note perfectionist. The Maybe I'm Amazed solo is the only one I can think of where it's obvious he worked out the melody beforehand, whereas his other solos are kind of all over the place.

Indeed, Paul's guitar solos have always had this sort of 'stinging' sound to them... though I personally always thought John's solos sound a lot messier and more jagged.  George had the cleanest and most fluid sound, and that's probably why he was best suited to be the group's lead guitarist (though I feel became a little too reliant on the slide during his solo years  ahdn_george_01), while Paul's natural melodicism made him the best choice to play bass.

9 February 2014
6.18pm
tulane
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I think sometimes we can pigeonhole people too much ie. he's the guitarist, he's the drummer etc.

I like the way the Band used to work.

Levon Helm was the drummer on most songs but Richard Manual played drums on some, Robbie Robertson played drums on some.

Rick Danko was the bass player mostly but would play the fiddle sometimes.

When not drumming Levon would play the mandolin and so on.

When you have people who are very musical they can do that.  It doesn't have to be a fixed line up as it were.

We don't really think of John and Paul as pianists, but I bet they wrote most of their songs on the piano.

11 February 2014
3.19am
C.R.A.
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RunForYourLife said
Relax, this isn't a thread about who was the "better" guitarist.

In 1965/1966, Paul played the lead guitar parts on...

- The Night Before (Doubled w/ George)

- Another Girl

- Ticket To Ride

- Drive My Car (Into and Solo)

- Taxman (Solo)

- It's rumored he also plays lead on Paperback Writer.

 

My question is, to what extent was this the band "allowing" Paul to flex his chops as a friendly gesture v.s. impatience with George? (I'm not suggesting George was incompetent, but this was the time period where he was sort of "struggling" with breaking from his rockabilly roots and finding his own style)

Geoff Emerick seemed to imply that, at least on Taxman, Paul played because George was having trouble with the solo and the band had grown impatient. I've also heard that Paul's playing on Drive My Car was the result of similar circumstances.

A musician's style owes a great deal to their ego.  It pretty safe to say that, in a band comprised of such formidable egos, George was likely the least.  This may have had a substantial influence on how long he took to construct his parts, how careful he was with them or even when he would have been satisfied with his contribution.  And, in light of who he needed to satisfy (and their respective egos), he may even have been willing to relinquish the responsibility.

On the b side, those same competing egos may have been impatient, unwilling to wait until he had figured everything out.  Perhaps it allowed them to be dismissive of his skill, presuming they could do it just as well themselves.  McCartney certainly wasn't lacking for ego, and his own skill and musicianship allowed him to back that up.

Harrison was always a patient and careful guitarist.

Just a thought.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ George Harrison

Memphis, 1966

11 February 2014
4.32am
PeterWeatherby
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Just a couple of quick comments on the OP.

Paul was and is a much more "polished" musician than the others - not necessarily better, but more polished, with more of an eye towards a total commercial package. You can see in a lot of his work that he had very specific ideas about how his songs should go, beginning to end, soup to nuts, from the drum fills to the guitar solos. Compare that to John and George, who more frequently had bare-bones ideas, and left it to the others to fill in their respective areas of expertise.

You can see this at work in the infamous on-screen argument between George and Paul in the "Let it Be" film. And what's it all about? George is adding his guitar bits here and there, but it doesn't fit with Paul's overall vision for the song, so he's telling George to do it differently. Some would say Paul was being too controlling and bossy. Some would say Paul had every right to dictate how his songs should come out in the end.

Peter Carlin in his book "Paul McCartney: A Life" notes how this continued to be an issue into the "Wings" era. Henry McCullough was hired to be the lead guitarist, but he came from a blues background, where improvisation is valued, and Paul wanted nothing to do with that. He would either tell McCullough exactly how the solo should go, or McCullough would play something free-style during one take, and Paul would want it played exactly the same way on the next take.

As was noted, it was as early as the Help! sessions that Paul started overdubbing his own lead guitar work and leaving George's takes on the editing room floor. I don't think this was a "band decision," I think it was a Paul decision, made after-hours when everyone else had gone home. And given George's very non-confrontational personality, I don't think it's something he would have challenged Paul with right away, even if it irritated him. In fact, I'm reminded of an out-take of "The Anthology" videos, where George and Paul are listening to the Abbey Road medley with George Martin, and they're trying to figure out who's playing bass on the first take of "You Never Give Me Your Money." Harrison makes a rather snide remark that Paul was basically playing everything in those days, and when Martin points out that Paul was playing piano and therefore couldn't be playing bass at the same time, Harrison quips, "He was very keen."

I don't think it was a matter of George not being technically proficient enough to play something Paul wanted, I think it was a matter of Paul deciding it would be faster to just play something himself than try to communicate exactly what he was hearing in his head, or potentially insult George by dictating a note-for-note solo to him.

As for Paul being a bass player and not a lead guitarist, remember that he got his start playing guitar, not bass. He picked up the bass because The Beatles needed a bass player and no one else wanted to do it, but if you listen to how he plays bass, he plays it like a lead guitarist.

Not a bit like Cagney.
11 February 2014
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DrBeatle
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Not to nitpick but the outtake they were listening to was Golden Slumbers, I believe, not YNGMYM.

 

Otherwise, good points!

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

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11 February 2014
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Inner Light
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I agree with the commercial aspect of McCartney's songs. He definitely wrote songs that would fit that genre. Harrison and Lennon wrote songs they wanted to write and weren't focused on whether or not they would become hits or not. An artist needs to express their thoughts and feelings when writing compositions. I know in the beginning, they had a formula they used which turned out a lot of hits but as time progressed, the songs became more sophisticated and everything changed on how they wrote. They wrote for themselves and not just trying to pump out a hit song. McCartney has always been the showman of the Beatles and of course Ringo has become more of a showman over the years also. A talent is in the eyes of the beholder. Personally, I will take an artist that writes and speaks from their heart over anyone who just writes songs to sell it and play the game of commercialism. Regarding P versus G on guitar, again it's all an individual taste. I would say they each have their talents and one must accept that in making their decision.

The further one travels, the less one knows
11 February 2014
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DrBeatle
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Inner Light said
I agree with the commercial aspect of McCartney's songs. He definitely wrote songs that would fit that genre. Harrison and Lennon wrote songs they wanted to write and weren't focused on whether or not they would become hits or not. An artist needs to express their thoughts and feelings when writing compositions. I know in the beginning, they had a formula they used which turned out a lot of hits but as time progressed, the songs became more sophisticated and everything changed on how they wrote. They wrote for themselves and not just trying to pump out a hit song. McCartney has always been the showman of the Beatles and of course Ringo has become more of a showman over the years also. A talent is in the eyes of the beholder. Personally, I will take an artist that writes and speaks from their heart over anyone who just writes songs to sell it and play the game of commercialism. Regarding P versus G on guitar, again it's all an individual taste. I would say they each have their talents and one must accept that in making their decision.

I disagree. John is on record many times in stating that he and Paul always had a rivalry as to who was going to get the A-side, and he fought tooth and nail for his side, win or lose, throughout their career (see: I Am The Walrus vs. Hello Goodbye, Revolution vs. Hey Jude, Day Tripper vs. We Can Work It Out, etc)

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

11 February 2014
7.34pm
PeterWeatherby
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DrBeatle said

Not to nitpick but the outtake they were listening to was Golden Slumbers, I believe, not YNGMYM.

 

Otherwise, good points!

I knew it was one of the two (goodness knows the opening chords are nearly identical!), but couldn't remember which. I flipped a coin. :) And please, feel free to nit-pick - I don't mind being corrected!

I went back and watched the video in question (it's from the "Extras" on the Anthology), and this was the dialogue to which I was referring:

McCartney (to Harrison): I don't think you are on it [the "Golden Slumbers" track] ... it doesn't sound like it ...
Martin: Who was playing bass?
Harrison: It doesn't sound like anybody's on it! (laughs)
Martin (to McCartney): It wasn't you, was it?
McCartney (to Martin): Well, this was overdubbed
Martin: Why would you overdub on take 1?
Harrison: Because he was playing the piano
McCartney: I think I'm playing piano
Martin: So who's playing bass?
Harrison (pointing to McCartney): He was
McCartney: I think I overdubbed it
Martin: You can't play them both at the same time ... there were many takes, take 17, this is take 1.
Harrison: (laughs) He was keen! (laughs)

But I think that's the real rub there, that quip from Harrison, "I don't think anybody's on it!", as in, "Hey, you didn't invite any of us to play on your song."

As far as Paul being the consummate entertainer, I know people have different reactions to that, but really it's just a function of personality. It's not that Paul is worse than John, or more of a phony or whatever, it's just a difference of what drives them as individuals. John (and those who share his personality type) found fulfillment in baring his soul through his work and being "true" that way, whereas Paul (and those who are cut from the same cloth) find great fulfillment in working hard to churn out something of high quality. I know many "Pauls" in my own life, and they're very much wired that way, always with an eye towards "is the quality level as high as it can be, is it polished enough, will it please the target audience?"

It's not that Paul was phony at all, but he saw (and still sees) it as his job to entertain people, so for him it would be false and fake to put out a half-baked product. He's being most genuine when he's honing his product and spit-shining it to a level of professionalism that he feels is worth the price of admission.

As to who (Paul or George) is the better guitarist, I think it's a hopeless question, and probably not the question that the OP was trying to ask. The only answer I have to that question anyway is to say, listen to the final guitar solos on "The End" and realize that all three of them (John, Paul, and George) were swapping riffs every two bars - they were all incredibly talented guitarists.

Not a bit like Cagney.
11 February 2014
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Inner Light
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DrBeatle said

Inner Light said
I agree with the commercial aspect of McCartney's songs. He definitely wrote songs that would fit that genre. Harrison and Lennon wrote songs they wanted to write and weren't focused on whether or not they would become hits or not. An artist needs to express their thoughts and feelings when writing compositions. I know in the beginning, they had a formula they used which turned out a lot of hits but as time progressed, the songs became more sophisticated and everything changed on how they wrote. They wrote for themselves and not just trying to pump out a hit song. McCartney has always been the showman of the Beatles and of course Ringo has become more of a showman over the years also. A talent is in the eyes of the beholder. Personally, I will take an artist that writes and speaks from their heart over anyone who just writes songs to sell it and play the game of commercialism. Regarding P versus G on guitar, again it's all an individual taste. I would say they each have their talents and one must accept that in making their decision.

I disagree. John is on record many times in stating that he and Paul always had a rivalry as to who was going to get the A-side, and he fought tooth and nail for his side, win or lose, throughout their career (see: I Am The Walrus vs. Hello Goodbye, Revolution vs. Hey Jude, Day Tripper vs. We Can Work It Out, etc)

I agree that Lennon & McCartney would compete with each other for the A sides of records but Lennon was not focused on just writing a hit record. McCartney loves the limelight and attention where as Lennon was more 'this is what I have to offer like it or not' but he didn't like to lose either. I think his competitiveness started to wear off towards the end of the 60's. He became more focused on his personal life and Yoko.

The further one travels, the less one knows
12 February 2014
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RunForYourLife
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PeterWeatherby said
Just a couple of quick comments on the OP.

Paul was and is a much more "polished" musician than the others - not necessarily better, but more polished, with more of an eye towards a total commercial package. You can see in a lot of his work that he had very specific ideas about how his songs should go, beginning to end, soup to nuts, from the drum fills to the guitar solos. Compare that to John and George, who more frequently had bare-bones ideas, and left it to the others to fill in their respective areas of expertise.

You can see this at work in the infamous on-screen argument between George and Paul in the "Let it Be" film. And what's it all about? George is adding his guitar bits here and there, but it doesn't fit with Paul's overall vision for the song, so he's telling George to do it differently. Some would say Paul was being too controlling and bossy. Some would say Paul had every right to dictate how his songs should come out in the end.

Peter Carlin in his book "Paul McCartney: A Life" notes how this continued to be an issue into the "Wings" era. Henry McCullough was hired to be the lead guitarist, but he came from a blues background, where improvisation is valued, and Paul wanted nothing to do with that. He would either tell McCullough exactly how the solo should go, or McCullough would play something free-style during one take, and Paul would want it played exactly the same way on the next take.

As was noted, it was as early as the Help! sessions that Paul started overdubbing his own lead guitar work and leaving George's takes on the editing room floor. I don't think this was a "band decision," I think it was a Paul decision, made after-hours when everyone else had gone home. And given George's very non-confrontational personality, I don't think it's something he would have challenged Paul with right away, even if it irritated him. In fact, I'm reminded of an out-take of "The Anthology" videos, where George and Paul are listening to the Abbey Road medley with George Martin, and they're trying to figure out who's playing bass on the first take of "You Never Give Me Your Money." Harrison makes a rather snide remark that Paul was basically playing everything in those days, and when Martin points out that Paul was playing piano and therefore couldn't be playing bass at the same time, Harrison quips, "He was very keen."

I don't think it was a matter of George not being technically proficient enough to play something Paul wanted, I think it was a matter of Paul deciding it would be faster to just play something himself than try to communicate exactly what he was hearing in his head, or potentially insult George by dictating a note-for-note solo to him.

As for Paul being a bass player and not a lead guitarist, remember that he got his start playing guitar, not bass. He picked up the bass because The Beatles needed a bass player and no one else wanted to do it, but if you listen to how he plays bass, he plays it like a lead guitarist.

You've all got a lot of good comments here, but I am specifically responding to this one as it more specifically addresses the question in my OP, in regards to which solos were "given" to Paul v.s. which he played on for other reasons ("Taxman" probably being the most well known, or even infamous example of the latter).

The only reason I called George's technical proficiency into question was a result of reading Geoff Emerick's "Here, There and Everywhere" in which he portrays George as "fumbling" solos multiple times, including the "Taxman" solo (though it was an intriguing read, I couldn't help but feel, not only the obvious bias towards Macca, but against the other three, George in particular). A lot of that surprised me (perhaps to the point of suspicion), particularly that George had troubles with something like "I'll Follow The Sun", when on the rest of that album his rockabilly picking is on fire (if it is true, I'd chalk it up to George struggling to find his own unique style, rather than any supposed incompetence on his part)

14 February 2014
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Inner Light
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RunForYourLife said

PeterWeatherby said
Just a couple of quick comments on the OP.

Paul was and is a much more "polished" musician than the others - not necessarily better, but more polished, with more of an eye towards a total commercial package. You can see in a lot of his work that he had very specific ideas about how his songs should go, beginning to end, soup to nuts, from the drum fills to the guitar solos. Compare that to John and George, who more frequently had bare-bones ideas, and left it to the others to fill in their respective areas of expertise.

You can see this at work in the infamous on-screen argument between George and Paul in the "Let it Be" film. And what's it all about? George is adding his guitar bits here and there, but it doesn't fit with Paul's overall vision for the song, so he's telling George to do it differently. Some would say Paul was being too controlling and bossy. Some would say Paul had every right to dictate how his songs should come out in the end.

Peter Carlin in his book "Paul McCartney: A Life" notes how this continued to be an issue into the "Wings" era. Henry McCullough was hired to be the lead guitarist, but he came from a blues background, where improvisation is valued, and Paul wanted nothing to do with that. He would either tell McCullough exactly how the solo should go, or McCullough would play something free-style during one take, and Paul would want it played exactly the same way on the next take.

As was noted, it was as early as the Help! sessions that Paul started overdubbing his own lead guitar work and leaving George's takes on the editing room floor. I don't think this was a "band decision," I think it was a Paul decision, made after-hours when everyone else had gone home. And given George's very non-confrontational personality, I don't think it's something he would have challenged Paul with right away, even if it irritated him. In fact, I'm reminded of an out-take of "The Anthology" videos, where George and Paul are listening to the Abbey Road medley with George Martin, and they're trying to figure out who's playing bass on the first take of "You Never Give Me Your Money." Harrison makes a rather snide remark that Paul was basically playing everything in those days, and when Martin points out that Paul was playing piano and therefore couldn't be playing bass at the same time, Harrison quips, "He was very keen."

I don't think it was a matter of George not being technically proficient enough to play something Paul wanted, I think it was a matter of Paul deciding it would be faster to just play something himself than try to communicate exactly what he was hearing in his head, or potentially insult George by dictating a note-for-note solo to him.

As for Paul being a bass player and not a lead guitarist, remember that he got his start playing guitar, not bass. He picked up the bass because The Beatles needed a bass player and no one else wanted to do it, but if you listen to how he plays bass, he plays it like a lead guitarist.

You've all got a lot of good comments here, but I am specifically responding to this one as it more specifically addresses the question in my OP, in regards to which solos were "given" to Paul v.s. which he played on for other reasons ("Taxman" probably being the most well known, or even infamous example of the latter).

The only reason I called George's technical proficiency into question was a result of reading Geoff Emerick's "Here, There and Everywhere" in which he portrays George as "fumbling" solos multiple times, including the "Taxman" solo (though it was an intriguing read, I couldn't help but feel, not only the obvious bias towards Macca, but against the other three, George in particular). A lot of that surprised me (perhaps to the point of suspicion), particularly that George had troubles with something like "I'll Follow The Sun", when on the rest of that album his rockabilly picking is on fire (if it is true, I'd chalk it up to George struggling to find his own unique style, rather than any supposed incompetence on his part)

I agree. Emerick had a problem with George. I get so tired of hearing about George not being technically proficient on the guitar. Emerick was definitely pro Paul so I would take what he say's with a grain of salt. There is an interview with Ken Scott where he talks about this. I just could'nt find the interview again on youtube. 

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