Tuesday, 21 September 2010

John/George more than most harmed Paul's reputation post Beatles

I think their comments post Beatles contributed in creating the 'Paul is lightweight and rubbish myth, whereas, John and George seem to come out of it very well and are lauded for their post Beatle work. That is not to say that they did not deserve praise - just that theirs is too great and Paul's is not enough.

In interviews, they were both often very critical of Paul musically. We know all about John's many comments and digs, but George could be just as cutting. I paraphrase 'I'd join a band with John any day, but not with Paul, that's from a musical point of view' Even in the late 80's when a rumour went round that Paul was going to record some of John's songs, he said something along the lines of 'Perhaps it's because he has no good one's of his own'. George could be very funny and dry, but some of it was unnecessary.

There are many more digs - even in the 'Anthology' project where George often seemed to ignore or be indifferent to Paul in many of the interviews they did together. I think that was just what George was like sometimes. I think Paul had to walk on egg shells trying not to upset him and this would have made things feel a little forced. That is not to say that there were not lovely tender moments in this project - the 'Real Love' video has evidence of this.

In the film 'Let it Be', Paul has a go at George in a petty argument - although Paul does come across as a little condescending, I have always thought that Paul also came across as being diplomatic and considerate to George, whilst admitting his previous errors. Perhaps, more importantly, he was also right in what he was saying. George comes across as being a bit of a bore, although I can understand his frustration at having collected his backlog of songs and The Beatles not being the vehicle to get them all out. Of course, it would cause some resentment, as would Paul's sometimes second hand treatment of him. Ultimately, I guess being in a band with Lennon and McCartney was pretty hard.

Even with the Allen Klein arguments; Paul was right in his thoughts and the other three were wrong. OK, you could see the others 'concern' if they had gone with Paul's father in law, but that was not the main point, securing a financially clear Beatles' future was.

Anyway, back to 'Let it Be', George is mistreated and the band almost split and Paul is painted as the villain, but John and George came to blows (many sources including George Martin state this) at the same sessions and have a massive argument - and it is not mentioned in most of the history books when discussing their problems and reasons behind the split.

I know John and George often they had their tongues firmly in their cheeks and it was often was just childish p**s-taking, but why did they feel they had to constantly demean Paul? I know they said some pro-Paul things too, but the negative grossly outweighed those, certainly the comments made in public. That is the nature of the media and they knew this. It was like it was revenge or sabotage. Justified? I doubt it.

It is not as though both of them were churning out album after album of high quality stuff from 1972 onwards, in fact, much of it was very poor. No moral high ground there then. I know Paul sometimes did not/doesn't help himself with his decisions and releases, but come on, did he really deserve all this criticism? - on occasion I guess (Mary Had a Little Lamb an obvious example) Was it jealously? Was Paul really such a git to them in the break up? Were they just being vindictive? Why did they feel the need to do this? Money?

Sometimes you criticise the family, but if an outsider does the same then you back them to the hilt, but surely they knew what they were doing.

It is to Paul's credit that he never really reacted and kept his dignity, in public anyway. He could have said a lot about them if he wanted, I'm sure. I think Paul was actually very forgiving to them and knew deep down that they were his soul brothers.

What is clear from other comments is that G&P and J&P did love and respect each other and always had that bond. I think in 1982 Paul was asked who his best friend was, and he paused for a moment and said 'George and Ringo'. That speaks volumes.

A load of rubbish went on between all of them, but I just think some of John's comments were uncalled for, regardless if Yoko egged him on or not, and George was not that much better.

In many ways Paul could not win. His perfectionist nature, work ethic and ability to see, hear and do things so quickly probably did not help to make him the best to work with. However, I think J & G should be a little bit ashamed of themselves, but hey they all lived through it, not us.

John and George fell out with each other too, but that is glossed over. It is like it was always three against one. John did not see George as a threat, so John did not make as big a thing about it. In many ways, I think GH treated Yoko worse than Paul did at the end of the Beatles' period, but this is also rarely mentioned. Paul let them both live in his house FFS!

George and John had the argument over the Bangledesh gig, GH's 74 tour, the Beatles' signing for the break-up agreement, when he could not come from his house across the road as the stars weren't roght, and also on the content of the 'I Me Mine' book. However, it is just not as interesting or as public as John's and Paul's feud. Again, George seems to always come out of things well, and Paul does not.

My main gripe is that although Paul has/had many faults and I am sure he is not the easiest to work with, John and George's behaviour and actions with and out of the Beatles was often worse worse than Paul's, but they are forgiven as they are 'artists', 'torchered souls' etc. Whereas Paul is either a git or a self-publicist.

Paul once said 'I'll never fall out with anyone ever again without making up' (paraphrased). Although, I don't think Paul has lived quite true to this, in the end, he was the one who made sure that he continued to have a relationship with the others.

Regardless of everything, the dynamics and bonds in that group will only ever be understood by those four and they know their true feelings of each other. I am sure that they are/were mainly very positive but it does not excuse some of the behaviour. I will say here, that I love John and George too, and will stick up for them, and, I also think Paul is not wholly innocent, but it still does not forgive the character and artistic deformation that they helped form. Paul deserves some support because some of the rubbish sticks to this day.

I like to think of them all happy together and do believe that they had got over most of their issues. I don't think Ringo really fell out with any of them though, although I am sure if Paul had slept with Ringo's wife (as George did), then Ringo would not have been so forgiving and neither would the press. I love all the pictures and stuff of them together post-split and hearing of their meetings and get togethers: the sentimental side of me likes that and really does see them as brothers who loved and fought in equal measures, but that is not the reason for this post, it is the effect on Paul's musical legacy and ultimately the music is what was and still is important.


  1. Hmm, some good points there.

  2. The way Paul announced he was quitting the Beatles to publicize his solo record -- eight months after John said he wanted to leave the group -- the way Paul refused to move the release of solo album so it would not conflict with Let It Be release -- the way Paul sued John, George & Ringo -- the way Paul acted like a petulant child after not getting his way vis a vis Allen Klein -- these are some of the non-musical reasons John & George could not stand Paul and said things in public. As for Paul in 1982 saying George was his best friend -- that's a laugh. George could not stand Paul and only reconciled with him on his death bed. John never forgave Paul, either, and Paul knew it. Paul's problem, Paul's karma.