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.