Wed 11 Jun, 2003 06:00 pm
If George Harrison had never joined The Beatles, do you think he would have become a successful music star in his own right?
Hard to say. Probably not nearly as big a star, but he was talented, for sure. And what he did post-Beatles was more interesting (IMHO) than what the other three accomplished, both musically and in other spheres. His film production company was behind some of the best British films of the past 30 years.
equus, I really don't think so. It was the combination of the Beatles and the subsequent success that gave each member a chance to develop his own talent. To me, John Lennon was the best song writer of the crew.
D'Art, What were some of the films of which you speak?
Id forgotten what a great film producer he was.
He was a very talented teenage guitar player when he joined the Beatles.
Without the gig, He might of ended up a local pub musician playing skiffle music ala Lonnie Donegan.
The experiences he had with the Fab Four made for great songs/lyrics. As a young twenty-something in Liverpool his experiences and creative ideas would have reflected that environment.
Most of the time, talent is not enough to become a successful musician, if initially George had to take a regular job to pay the bills it might have drained a lot of his energy; affecting his music. Add in family responibilities and he could of ended up a happy Liverpulian grandfather, who played great music at the family reunion.
Or maybe his talent would have been enough like his buddy Bob Dylan.
Probably about as big as Pete Best turned out to be.
Pete Best died, didn't he? Which is why he was replaced?
I don't think Best died; I think he just lost interest before the band had any success...
I don't believe Mr. Best has died; you're thinking of Suttliffe, who died in Paris, i believe a few months after they got kicked out of Germany (because of Harrison, but more later). On the subject of Best being kicked out -- rather, one should consider the state of the band, with the personalities and egos of Lennon and McCartney, and Pete with just as much ego, opposing their plan to take the act back to Liverpool (and i believe he accompanied Stu Sutliffe to Paris before returning to England), and trying to assert his dominance. I think he just plain was not getting along well at the time, and the timing could not have been worse--for him. The Beatles went back to Liverpool, cleaned up their "Teddy Boy" (think, 50's Greaser) image, which had worked so well for them in Hamburg, and put on their nice suits, with a small design change, not unlike the performance technique of R & B groups of the day. They used pick-up drummers, and Best might have rejoined the group, but didn't. When Epstein got them a recording contract, the record company knew they'd want a drummer out front, with the same charisma and appeal. The band in England at the time was Rory Storm and the Shadows, and Richard Starkey was their drummer--and arguably the most dreamed-off Brit performer in the hearts of Brit teenieboppers of the day. He wore so many rings, that the group called him Ringo, which he adopted as Ringo Starr for a stage name. His quality of presence and cheerful good nature made him a natural as the new drummer for the Beatles, in the mind of the recording company (I know i keep saying it that way, but i don't know if it was Capitol in the U.K.). He actually did not play on the first half-dozen or so of the groups recording--in the eyes of the A & R men, he was for the show only.
Harrison was the youngest. When the Silver Beatles--Pete Best, Stu Suttliffe, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George--toured Scotland in 1961, they were just able to do it legally, although George was what? 16, 17 years old? Because they were only playing one show a night, and lucky to have gotten the gig, there was no problem with "child labor law." In Hamburg, they flat out lied to the German authority, and when their dressing room burned up one night, and management accused them of being responsible (they claim bad wiring in the lights), it was discovered that Harrison was not of age, and possessed no work permit. Basically, they were told: "Maybe we can't make the fire stick, but yer boy here is leavin' town, and if you wouldn't like us to consider your criminal part in bringing him here to work, you might like to do the same."
Given his relative youth, and his quiet good nature (watch Let it Be again some time, George and Ringo are both very quiet, chatting quietly with one another, and obviously stressed by the Lennon/McCartney battle, and i would suspect, heartily sick of it all), i think he would have found his feet, and been a valuable addition to any group. Remember how the "British Invasion" spawned so many groups so fast--he'd have done well, i think . . . i like to hope.
By the way, i believe that Sutliffe and Best actually left before the remainder got kicked out of Germany.
The movie Backbeat does a more or less accurate telling of Setanta's story. Mostly focusses on Suttliffe...
I think that the Beatles' amazing early productivity was what turned George (et al) from being a good musician into an incredible one. What an education that must have been!