Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

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Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby flextint » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:34 am

We know now that George was a very talented songwriter and musician.Was he treated fairly in the beatles ?Could Paul and John given George more than one or two songs per album or do you think George got enough opportunities to shine.Judging by the sucess he had after the beatles i think he should have been given at least 3 songs per album .just my opinion whats yours?
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby JimmyMcCullochFan » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:26 am

This should be in the George section.
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby Berkeleyan » Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:35 am

JimmyMcCullochFan wrote:This should be in the George section.


Yep !
Anyway, the answer is NO, George was not treated fairly by John and Paul in terms of space for compositions on records in their last 2 years as The Beatles.
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby bonovox66 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:19 am

I think everyone (John, Paul, Ringo, and George Martin included) agree he was treated unfairly. They were so critical of his work. Saying "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" wouldn't work on a Beatles album. Only to have Eric Clapton come in and all of a sudden they loved it.
I can't remember where I read it, but Paul had said he apologized a long time ago to George for the lack of time they gave his songs. Even John said "All Things" was rubbish only to take it back a year later.
To put a positive spin on it though... maybe the lack of fairness led to him trying even harder. Which we are much the richer for.
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby jgkojak » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:02 pm

Yes, he was treated fairly.

I don't see much evidence that before the White Album George was capable of producing more than he did -- certainly when called upon to fill in some gaps for Magical Mystery Tour he came up with arguably three of the weakest tracks in the Beatles catalog: Only A Northern Song, All Too Much and Blue Jay Way. It wasn't until the White Album that he began producing good stuff, though really only Not Guilty was left off. Let It Roll and All Things Must Pass were under consideration during Get Back/Abbey Road, but again, I'm not sure he had much more.

Also, it seems to me like he got his feelings hurt easily when his suggestions weren't taken (i.e. guitar phrasing on Hey Jude that was rejected), the infamous "I'll play what you want me to play" during Let It Be. I know some read this as Paul (or John) bullying but I don't-- a part of being a LEADER in a band is shouldering responsibility and knowing how to navigate/negotiate with bandmates, no different than in any workplace. John had his leadership qualities when he wanted to- Paul had a different leadership style but certainly kept his nose to the grindstone. I don't see that George ever really asserted himself - which includes taking responsibility - during sessions. If Paul said to the band "I've got 6 tracks ready to go, I got 'em, no worries" the entire team would think "great- he's got it under control"-- I doubt the same could be said for George, who seems to like to place a lot of blame/whine but doesn't want to stand up and be counted. I know its harsh, but that's really it.

And based on solo work, if I put all the Beatles work from 1970-1980 in a hopper and culled 10 14 song albums from the best stuff-- (hmmmm.... that could be fun... ) George would, in the end, have about 3 songs per album, about what he was doing in the Rubber Soul/Revolver era onward.
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby maccafan » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:46 pm

Also he certainly could and should have spoken up for himself, but if he did he would of had to have the equal quality of songs to back it up!
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby linclink » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:34 pm

jgkojak wrote:Yes, he was treated fairly.

I don't see much evidence that before the White Album George was capable of producing more than he did -- certainly when called upon to fill in some gaps for Magical Mystery Tour he came up with arguably three of the weakest tracks in the Beatles catalog: Only A Northern Song, All Too Much and Blue Jay Way. It wasn't until the White Album that he began producing good stuff, though really only Not Guilty was left off. Let It Roll and All Things Must Pass were under consideration during Get Back/Abbey Road, but again, I'm not sure he had much more.

Also, it seems to me like he got his feelings hurt easily when his suggestions weren't taken (i.e. guitar phrasing on Hey Jude that was rejected), the infamous "I'll play what you want me to play" during Let It Be. I know some read this as Paul (or John) bullying but I don't-- a part of being a LEADER in a band is shouldering responsibility and knowing how to navigate/negotiate with bandmates, no different than in any workplace. John had his leadership qualities when he wanted to- Paul had a different leadership style but certainly kept his nose to the grindstone. I don't see that George ever really asserted himself - which includes taking responsibility - during sessions. If Paul said to the band "I've got 6 tracks ready to go, I got 'em, no worries" the entire team would think "great- he's got it under control"-- I doubt the same could be said for George, who seems to like to place a lot of blame/whine but doesn't want to stand up and be counted. I know its harsh, but that's really it.

And based on solo work, if I put all the Beatles work from 1970-1980 in a hopper and culled 10 14 song albums from the best stuff-- (hmmmm.... that could be fun... ) George would, in the end, have about 3 songs per album, about what he was doing in the Rubber Soul/Revolver era onward.

I can't recall if it was "jgkojak" & I who danced this Harrisongs dance before, but I'm pretty sure it was. This isn't meant to launch a person to person debate, but rather to use the last post as a launching point for a entirely different opinion.
NO, a thousand times NO, I don't think George was treated fairly. I agree that he had his persnickity pouty side, and that after a certain point he was resigned to looking at releasing a solo album (while still in The Beatles) just to get this growing backlog of songs out there. Like John, and in stark contrast to Paul, he was already evolving towards his disconnect from the collective known as The Beatles...but...and this is a HUGE but, John & Paul have both admitted (though Lennon more readily and frequently to be sure) that they were quite self centered, ego-centric, egotistical, & in a competitive (both healthy & unhealthy aspects to it) power struggle that became ever more a drain on all concerned, and a drag to participate in. It did, however, produce consistently amazing music.
The real litmus test here, and this is COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE, is 1) The relative quality of George's music to John & Paul's and 2) The quantity of available music from George relative to John & Paul.
As far as #1 goes, FOR ME, Harrison's work early on is great (special adoration to the unreleased "You Know What To Do" which would have been a real highlight of AHDN) but it's also formative, and probably does pale compared to the skyrocketing work of John & Paul. That's '62-'64.
1965. This is where it changes. "Help" is a real step up, especially "I Need You". While I prefer Lennon's material on "Help" overall, I think only a couple Macca tracks are better than "I Need You", and most aren't as good. "You Like Me Too Much" is a fine pop track as well.
"Rubber Soul". "If I Needed Someone" & "Think For Yourself" are absolute highlights and are certainly in a class with any of the John & Paul work here. You can split hairs and have faves, but were now on equal ground...all three writers. The quantity is still sparse, so there isn't a big argument yet.
1966. Harrison is now writing a whole lot more (as the Spiritual awakening, with LSD as the catalyst, explodes in area of their lives) and it shows as he gets 3 tracks on "Revolver". I want to interject that they always were a collective and actually all FOUR- Ringo included, members helped with most all aspects of the material- no matter who the author was. So "Taxman" is revolutionary, and a large part of that is Macca's solo. That is no more a big deal than the fact that Harrison's sitar work propels "Norwegian Wood". "Taxman" is a great song, period. "Love You Too" launches both raga-rock (which I an crazy about), and world music exploration. "I Want To Tell You" is a masterpiece pop song. Also he is now penning things like "Art Of Dying", so things are starting to sit in the can. To be fair things will pile up for all of them...but....not to the degree they do for George.
1967. "It's All Too Much" is in my to 5 Beatles tracks ever, and up there with the very best tracks they did in '67, and the very best tracks they ever did, period. The high water marks for me this year are more Lennon than anything, but Harrison as well. "Within You Without You" is just a staggering work as well. Those two Harrisongs I think are just jaw droppers, absolute epics!! McCartney wrote the slightly greater majority of tracks this year, and they are great, and yeah he came up with the driving concepts for that years two major productions, but I just prefer the Harrison & Lennon works from that year. I don't feel this way about '66 or '68. And, for the record, personally I dig both "It's Only A Northern Song", and to a lesser extent "Blue Jay Way" too.
The fact that "It's All Too Much", & "It's Only A Northern Song" get laid aside has to do somewhat with the real product of '67- one album, one EP, & some singles. Meaning there wasn't a format that worked to get these out as easy. But...he, undoubtedly should've had two tracks on Sgt. Pepper, and with "It's All Too Much" as the b-side of "All You Need Is Love" you'd have an even better single...and I LOVE "Baby You're A Rich Man". I also recognize that, by virtue of it's length and the era it was too long to be an a-side, and really deserved to be an album track (there just wasn't a full album ready really.). How it got left to collect dust though, is really beyond me, unless, oh I don't know, Harrison just wasn't a priority to put it mildly. To me Sgt. Pepper should've been expanded to be a double album, or... they should have been actively involved in clearing the vaults of '67 and including the singles AND the two great Harrison tracks that ended up on "Yellow Submarine" & released "Magical Mystery Tour" in a manner like "Help"; film songs one side, other songs other side. There was still this "no previously released singles on our regular new albums" idea floating around the official/U.K. releases...the U.S. was a different tale and so we have the MMT album here. The other option is using the early '68 tracks (Lady Madonna, The Inner Light, Hey Bulldog, Across The Universe) with the leftover '67 works you could easily cull a full length album that clears the vaults then.
1968-1970. For starters FYI- he had loads of songs around during this period. They even attempted a number of songs that ended up on ATMP as a band that...Hear Me Lord, Let It Down, All Things Must Pass, Isn't It A Pity, and I believe there were even a few more- this is just off the top of my head...also during the White Album you have two tracks that I prefer even to "Not Guilty", which itself is great, "Dehra Dhun" & "Sour Milk Sea". There is NO question that he should have had 3 songs per album, or more on "The Beatles", but...then again I feel this should have been Rock's first great triple album. Or...they should have released another full album at year's end. Still, for me, "Long, Long, Long" is a ballad as aching & moving as any by John or Paul on that album, and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as great an epic as they produced that whole year.
On "Let It Be/Get Back" we have an aborted project, but the fact that Harrison's work took a backseat is criminal as this point. If "Let It Be" had gotten left off a Beatles album there would be outrage, but I'll tell you I think "All Things Must Pass" is as good as "Let It Be" or "Across The Universe". And it did end up on the sidelines. "Old Brown Shoe" is a standout b-side, but while I love "I Me Mine", "For You Blue" is a fun blues-roots rock shuffle, and I think the two Harrison contributions here are a bit lesser works for him. That is the climate of this ego clashing mess of a band that he is now a full fledged victim of. He doesn't sing a single note on the rooftop concert. He is starting to hang out with Dylan & The Band, and with Clapton & Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, and such. He's getting ready to make his move. Last year Ringo got fed up and quite during The White Album battles. This year it's George and rightly so. The quality of the work he was contributing is now undeniable in both it's quality and quantity, and what he ended up having released on the final album here speaks volumes of the injustices going down in spades.
"Abbey Road". There are only two Harrison songs on this. They are quite possibly the best two songs on the album. He could have given them so much more. There was more than enough material around. How about three songs on the album, or two songs a side- which is easily the absolute minimum that should have been going on in '68 & '69. The absolute minimum. He is already making his move, and moving towards the glory of ATMP.
As far as the solo years go...he may have had the best batting average of any of them; though maybe it was Lennon. As Lennon noted years later, if they had continued they would have had to have been an equal 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 working trio of writers. Actually I think the quality of the three of their works is pretty equal. I may prefer Lennon & Harrison, but I grant that McCartney's is somewhere on their same plane, and if he's a bit behind, it ain't by much. I think the solo material may have been less consistent than The Beatles, but it produced material, both full length albums and songs, that are in a class with The Beatles stuff...though I prefer The Beatles material.
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby bonovox66 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:46 pm

All Too Much is one of my favorite Beatle tracks from that album. And I don't see George as being the confrontational type. We all know why most of the band was mad with Paul around that period. He had the best intentions with the band, they just saw it as beeing bossy. Its all in the way it was presented. besides, we don't know what happened off camera.

Agree, prior to the White album, he didn't have much of a leg to stand on, but in the end he could have gotten a more fair shake. When Paul, John and George Martin have all admitted to not giving him a fair share, then I think the matter is closed.

I think things turned out well for George in the long run.
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby jgkojak » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:55 pm

"Taxman" is a great song, period. "Love You Too" launches both raga-rock (which I an crazy about), and world music exploration. "I Want To Tell You" is a masterpiece pop song


Agreed- but Paul had to play the guitar solo on Taxman.

Likewise, George DOES have to step it up and put up or shut up. If he wanted an equal footing, then he should have brought in an equal number of songs. If he was too shy or too unsure of himself to do this- that's his problem-- John and Paul, at George's age (2 years younger) certainly did not lack confidence. If you can't stand up and be counted in a band and back it up with your material, then youre not going to be treated "fairly".
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Re: Was george treated fairly in the beatles?

Postby linclink » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:20 pm

jgkojak wrote:
"Taxman" is a great song, period. "Love You Too" launches both raga-rock (which I an crazy about), and world music exploration. "I Want To Tell You" is a masterpiece pop song


Agreed- but Paul had to play the guitar solo on Taxman.

Likewise, George DOES have to step it up and put up or shut up. If he wanted an equal footing, then he should have brought in an equal number of songs. If he was too shy or too unsure of himself to do this- that's his problem-- John and Paul, at George's age (2 years younger) certainly did not lack confidence. If you can't stand up and be counted in a band and back it up with your material, then youre not going to be treated "fairly".

I noted that Paul played the solo. Also Harrison DID bring songs in. He DID put up, and it was Lennon & McCartney who worked to actively shut him up, and put him more in the background. It's not that he was some passive wimp, it's that John & Paul were in a pathetic, childish ego-driven power struggle- BOTH of them were guilty of terrible behavior. After a certain point Harrison just got feed up with the terrible behavior...they all did. They all recognized and coped to this crap, and crap it was. George Marin admits he was lousy to Ringo in their earliest sessions, and he admits that he was unfair to Harrison, because Lennon & McCartney were such dynamos, both in talent and group dynamics, that he tended to be UNFAIRLY dismissive of Harrison for far longer than was legitimate, and that he didn't recognize the change that occurred quickly enough. I'll also say that both George Martin & Paul McCartney (the conservative wing of The Beatles collective with John & George on the radical wing) tend to speak of Harrison's full flowering as taking place later than I think it did. For me we are there by "Rubber Soul", and certainly by "Revolver".
The fact is what The Beatles were as a band wasn't some static fixed thing with leaders and such...it was an ever evolving entity that encompassed both creative and personal aspects...not to mention emotional, Spiritual aspects, etc...whatever your laundry lists includes. The thing is how they evolved, or became more stilted, is the story of the band and it produced wonderful music regardless. I just think that part of the tale is the crap that unjustly limited a talent that had grown to an equal level, but was never given a really equal voice. He was given more of voice, but not enough of one, compared to both the quality & quantity of material that could have been Harrison based Beatles material.
Early on Harrison got pushed to the back in a legitimate manner. In the earlier days, '62-'64 when he's developing this might be understandable. But...starting in '66 he is producing more songs, AND they are being put aside because the dynamic of the band is shifting to try and accommodate this. The most positive example of this trend is that he got three songs on "Revolver", and well he should. I just contend that if he got three on an album in '66, then he should have been getting at LEAST, bare minimum two songs a side, 4 songs an album from '67-'70. To be honest in '68-'69 I think they should have been operating on a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 basis quality and quantity wise.
Pretty much everyone involved in the band recognizes and admits in hindsight that, at some point, things were not good, right, just, equal, or whatever you want to call it.
He's a little "what if"...what if Lennon & McCartney had got their egos in check as they evolved into a true three equal writer run band...this shift takes weight off the ever more grating Lennon-McCartney battling, and they end up producing more material, quicker, more efficiently and better, period. They also might do solo work but are able to survive as a working unit for at least longer if not for Rolling Stones like longevity. When say a bit longer I mean a couple of years at best, because I think many things were drawing them towards different paths & solo works. Blessings!!
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Last edited by linclink on Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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