68: Beatle George, Guitarist – Our Favorite Moments

August 24, 2016

Podcast, Podcasting


In this episode, Richard and Robert reveal their picks of George’s finest moments in his traditional Beatle role. Songs include “Till There Was You” and “Here Comes The Sun.” 

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    14 Responses to “68: Beatle George, Guitarist – Our Favorite Moments”

    1. Paulista Says:

      You guys should do a show on which specific riffs/lines/chords etc. that George wrote/came up with to what songs but didn’t get writers credit. Also, maybe comment on the fact that the most popular streamed Beatle’s song on Spotify is a George song and how it’s ironic.


      • Colin Ricketts Says:

        These isolated-track recordings really showcase how Beatles productions are so often so much more than the sum of their parts.


    2. BeatleDave Says:

      Another great show and Georges guitar work is always a great topic. With regards to the ‘and your bird’ riff; not just great playing but also what a great tone ! One of my fave tracks.
      Does ‘Birthday’ not have the two guitars in sync riff ?? Can’t think of any others from the Beatles but Brian May certainly made a career out of it.


      • tommy Says:

        I thought John Lennon wrote and played the And your bird can sing riff? Am I mistaken?


        • Us Says:

          The authorship of the riff has never been claimed by anyone, but we can infer that 1) composing riffs was definitely not John’s skillset but it WAS George’s and 2) it originates in the early take as the solo, it was most likely George. A twin-harmony lead isn’t too far removed logically from the decision to drop the original 12-string arrangement.

          BTW: here’s John’s (roughly) isolated rhythm guitar part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tHGawufKis


          • Wayne Says:

            On the contrary, John came up with riffs for I Feel Fine, Day Tripper (although it was a “modified” riff he had heard elsehwhere) among many other songs. The assumption that riffs wasn’t Lennon’s strong suit is an assumption. All three of them could come up with terrific riffs including George of course who created the opening for And I Love Her.


            • Us Says:

              There’s a BIG difference between the riffing John is known to have come up with (the ones you mentioned, for instance) and the intricacies of AYBCS. Nothing else associated with him comes close, although one can come up with any number of George riffs that have more in common with AYBCS: Ticket To Ride – If I Needed Someone – Here Comes The Sun – What Is Life – It Don’t Come Easy etc.

    3. jim Says:

      I want you (she’s so heavy) also has the double riff, yes?


      • Us Says:

        I’m pretty sure that’s a single (John’s) guitar, doubled notes, playing the main riff (doubling the vocal and instrumental passage).


    4. Matt Demakos Says:

      The show has often put forth this notion that John and Paul should have included George in on the songwriting, implying there was something scandalous in omitting him. The difference between songwriting (where you should get credit) and arrangement (where you should not get credit) is certainly a tricky one. I, a songwriter, am sometimes confused. I can argue the case that George should not get songwriting credit for his contribution to “And I Love Her.” 1) The song can work without the motif he contributed. 2) McCartney wrote everything else, even the lyric. Crediting the song as McCartney/Harrison implies something close to a 50/50 contribution. It is more like a 95/5. 3) All the other material Harrison contributed to the song is “arrangement,” most would agree. 4) George’s contribution is mostly a scale work riff. 5) George is not a writing partner of Paul’s and should, like any session musician, understand that his contribution will not be credited.

      I could argue that he should get credit too. The difference between arrangement and actual songwriting material can sometimes be the difference between what you would reasonably expect to hear on an original (not faithfully reproduced) cover version of the song. Clearly, most cover versions, even ones that are quite different than the original track would use the riff.

      I know John and Paul did think about including George in the team. But they probably realized, and rightfully, that he would likely not contribute enough to the process, especially lyrically. If they had included him, I believe there would have been frustration in the fact that he was getting 33% of the royalties when his contributions were not nearly that significant. Though they would have appreciated his contributions, they would have considered most of it arrangement and not actual songwriting. And his actually songwriting contributions, as much as it was, would not have been considered enough for a written credit and especially a monetary reward. Can’t you just feel Paul’s frustration?

      Songwriters who deal with those songwriters who contribute little often get frustrated. I’ve heard stories. Resentment. In the early years of the Beatles, given how Paul and John proved themselves, I don’t think they would have been happy with a decision to have included George.

      Even before George became a more prolific and indeed a more mature songwriter, the “Lennon/McCartney” designation was becoming more and more a lie. They were working less together than before. To make it a further lie and credit George would have been out of the question. Odd. I just don’t get how you can suggest that they should have included him. The only thing they should have considered was allowing for sole credit to McCartney or Lennon.

      There was nothing scandalous at all about their decision not to include George in the songwriting. It was scandalous, however, to only give him a song a side or less. (There refusal to do most of his songs during the “Get Back” sessions, I feel, had more to do with the type of songs rather than the quality of the songs.)

      Let me add one more point and yes I can talk forever about this topic. I have many ideas on it. I believe the decision to credit all songs Lennon/McCartney was one of the things that made the Beatles great. When McCartney had 80% of a song, for example, he did not feel the need to finish it all himself. He could ask Lennon to help out as he would get credit anyway. Without the agreement, he would feel the urge to finish it himself, earning more money and feeling pride in being the lone author. Though I hate the idea (the lie) of including all band members as the songwriters on every song, REM does this, I can see how it works best artistically.

      (By the way, bands do not have to credit all the members with songwriting for all the members to share the royalties. That can be done in the band agreement. This was not a usually practice, I believe, in the 60s but one that would have served the Beatles well.)

      Matt Demakos


    5. Paul T Says:

      Lovely to have so much much of George’s great work highlighted in a show of its own – re the Nat Lampoon 1977 issue my fave bits were the Help! parody and amongst a list of John’s likes was ‘shaved mons’ – a word unknown to us Brits then & now but I got the idea!


    6. Grete Ringgaard Says:

      I saw an old interview with Paul recently. He talked about While My Guitar. “George gave this solo to his friend. It was a fine gesture. If he had played it himself, it would have been him, who had been famous for playing this wonderful guitar” And I think, that he kind og caught the essence of Georges mindset and the reason George had so many good friends.



      I’ll always wonder what Pepper might have sounded like had George been more interested in playing guitar at the time. Judging by his contributions to Revolver, I’ll bet it would have been fantastic had John and Paul been open to whatever ideas George might have come up with.


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