Friday, September 5, 2008

Why George didn't curr for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

The only Beatle who didn't put down "Pepper" in later years was Paul.

Ringo said it wasn’t his favorite album because of the hours, hours, hours waiting for the guys to get their ideas together. He said he learned to play chess during the Pepper sessions.

John was quoted as saying "Sgt. Pepper was Paul's baby,” and that a lot of his songs on the albums were "throwaways."

George said he, too, got tired of the new studio approach where basic tracks would be recorded, followed by niggly-wiggly parts being added.

But as it turns out, even George's niggly-wigglys fell short.

Last night I came across this isolated lead guitar on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” on

I listened with natural fascination…then heard something. A little trembling vibrato at 0:07. “Hey,” I says to the self. “That sounds like Paul playing, not George.”

Paul plays lead guitar on "Taxman", "Good Morning, Good Morning", "Another Girl", "Ticket To Ride", "Drive My Car" and many other Beatles tracks the public assumes George played on. You can tell it's Paul by his nervous right middle finger.

I did my research and sure enough, yeah, that's Macca at the top of "Pepper".

No wonder George didn't tout up the album, then or afterwards. The most famous album of all time, millions and millions of records sold, universal accolades. Wherever George went, it was "Love your work, man!"

It probably bugged him no end, despite the fame, wealth and all the trappings of sparkling success. Similar to an executive being held back in a job simply because he’s always had that job and the boys above aren’t really willing to let the guy advance, Georgie had to leave the Fabs to really blossom as a songwriter and slide guitarist.

Yet George's tracks are some of my favorites, especially the early material. I'll always listen to "Don't Bother Me", "I Need You", "You Like Me Too Much" and "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", and may skip over "Til There Was You", "Dizzy Miss Lizzy", "I'm Down" and "Mr. Moonlight".

George's true talent in the Beatles was his presence, his intelligence, his similarity in height and appearance to John and Paul---and his singular, guttural, deeply accented and instantly recognizable singing voice. Next came the songs he wrote and finally, his actual guitar playing.

So thurr.

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