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Topic: The greatest Beatle, group & solo Post Reply | Post New Topic
Jeremy Simington
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Posted: 19 January 2017 at 4:53pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

1. When considering the Beatles as a group, which one do you consider the greatest Beatle?

2. When considering the Beatles as solo artists (post-Beatles work only), which one do you consider the greatest Beatle?

Please go ahead and give any reasons you like for your choices. This is strictly subjective fun!

My picks:
1. John Lennon.  I think he was the most creative of the four and was more of an artistic visionary than the others.  I prefer his songs to Paul's (with a bunch of exceptions, of course!).

2. George Harrison.  George is the only one that has solo albums that I enjoy listening to in their entirety.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 19 January 2017 at 8:35pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

1.Paul McCartney- writer of so much stuff. I know a ton of people that think that John Wrote most of everything. After all the credits say Lennon / McCartney. Sgt. Pepper is the best Album of all time and for me thier peak creatively. They were much better together than apart. 

2. Paul McCartney, he re-invented him self multiple times over the past years. From Wings to Solo to Flaming Pie (with Jeff Lynne) to Classical Music, Run Devil Run is the best cover album ever. He's the only one still making music. 

I always more on the pop side of things preferring Billy Joel and ELO to Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd, Journey & Queen compared to cream and Stevie Ray Vaughn. But when the only radio staiton is top 40, these things happen. When considering Beatles as a group I just think Best Ever. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I really can't choose, as I like both Paul and John as artists pretty much equally. -- But the answer would be one of those two, no disrespect to George. Ringo... well, he's Ringo.

That noted, in defense of Paul being creative: The idea for Sgt. Pepper, the Magical Mystery Tour film, and the medley side of Abbey Road were all Paul's ideas. And though John gets the credit for being the avant garde of the group, Paul was experimental and away from the Beatles did interesting work as The Fireman with Martin Glover.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

1) McCartney.  For all the reasons Matt mentions as well as my just finding his best songs to make up the majority of my favorite Beatles songs.

2) McCartney.  Every Beatle had great post-Beatle moments (Ringo had RINGO, George had ALL THINGS MUST PASS and a sprinkling of other random hits / good songs, John had PLASTIC ONO BAND and IMAGINE and other good work; DOUBLE FANTASY suggested a greatly renewed period of creativity which his assassination robbed us of.  However, Paul has had a vastly larger output than all of them and he continues to write and record nearly 50 years later.  I'm not a fan of all his stuff but I can't deny the sheer volume of his creativity and that the total of solo works by him that I like equals or exceeds the total of the other three combined. 
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 21 January 2017 at 10:44am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I'd say Paul. I have a friend who does a John Lennon act and he admits Paul was probably more talented overall. Herein might lie the difference. John did his own thing well. Paul tried everything.

I have to pick Paul solo, though I like George's solo work a lot also. It's hard to judge John. He may have eclipsed them all, but his life was cut too short.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 22 January 2017 at 3:48am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

(1) John Lennon

As a multi-instrumentalist, as a singer with incredible range, as a creator of melodies almost without peer in popular music, Paul McCartney was clearly the superior talent, not just in The Beatles but pretty much compared to anybody else in the Rock'n'Roll genre. 

But Lennon's faculty for words and wit alone was truly great -- and when you add to that his ability to craft songs not only plainly, even superficially, appealing to millions yet also stunningly combining a virtually unfathomable depth of piercing intellect with raw, robust, and often brutally honest emotion, not just in the lyrics but in the music itself -- that achieved a genuine greatness above McCartney's practically peerless excellence.

That said, Lennon's greatest work, with but few post-Beatles exceptions, were produced with McCartney at his side, if not always as direct 50/50 collaborator, then as Lennon's most significant contributor and interpreter. The same goes for McCartney. Even where either man only added marginally to the other's work, the whole product was made infinitely superior to what it might have been alone. 

(2) As for solo, it's hard to judge because Lennon died only a decade out of The Beatles, and he was "retired" for nearly half of that time too! Even considering only up to 1980, McCartney certainly had more hits (than anybody!) and he hardly lost his facility for creating incredible melodies or his penchant for exploring a variety of styles. Yet, his work lacked gravitas, patently, consistently. Lennon's work sometimes was astonishing but also sometimes (too often?) was -- by his own admission -- little more than album filler. I also personally dislike that he became more and more insecure about his amazingly distinctive and moving vocals and buried them more and more under effects and thick production. He desperately needed to be stripped down! So, all in all, I'd say that George Harrison had the most "successful" solo material (again, up to 1980, just to be fair to Lennon), because his songs were catchy, thoughtful, consistently well-crafted, most often very well-produced, from-the-heart, and often quite beautiful.
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 5:51am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

1. Paul McCartney.

A really tough to call, but I think Paul's skills as a musician, singer, song-writer combined with an overall musical vision that could turn even Lennon's more "out there" ideas into commercial success, nudges it in his favour.

Lennon excites me more, but over the years I've come to better appreciate the superior craftmanship of McCartney.

2. George Harrison.

There's a consistency in his solo work not found in any other Beatle (unless you count Ringo, whose consistency is negative).
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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 10 June 2017 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

1. Do I really have to choose between Lennon and McCartney? Oh boy, well, McCartney I guess.
2. Here I don't hesitate: McCartney.

Lennon was a much more interesting character, with a lot of charisma and a great image. He was the best lyricist and his music had more pathos and raw emotion. But his musical genius, specially in his solo career, was rather irregular.
McCartney is a torrent of creativity, imagination, joy and musical quality. Even in his most uninspired songs you can tell he's a very talented musician.

But I guess everyone agrees that they were much better when they worked together. When Paul plays a sweet song he was writing, titled "Michelle" and John suggests adding a bit of "pepper" with the painful line "I love you, I love you I love you, that's all a want to say", the song had a new dimesion. Or when John played an up-tempo, Chuck Berry-style song titled "Come Together" and Paul suggested slowing it down a bit, man, that was something.

As for George, his solo career was a pleasant discovery to me in recent years. He was much better than I thought.

(Spelling edited)

Edited by Sergio Saavedra on 12 July 2017 at 9:54am
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 10 June 2017 at 4:03pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

1.  McCartney - Probably the most musically talented of the four, he could sing, write, play bass, guitar and drums when he wanted to; in a lot of ways, maybe even the glue that held them together for so long until, ironically, he ultimately quit and broke up the Beatles in the process.

2.  Lennon - He could say more on one solo album than McCartney could with five.

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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 29 July 2017 at 1:42pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I think Lennon's PLASTIC ONO BAND and IMAGINE are better than any other LPs put out by any other of the ex-Beatles by a country mile.

Your, um, mileage may vary. 

As a group -- McCartney's an important electric bassist and doesn't get quite enough credit for it. But John is my favorite rock & roll singer, so he gets the edge. 
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 29 July 2017 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The Beatles as a group
Honestly I think that Lennon and McCartney are complete equals. I think that you could remove Ringo and or Harrison and you'd still have the Beatles. But remove either  Paul or John and there is no Beatles.

As far as Solo artists go. I'm giving the edge to Paul. Largely due to the fact that Lennon died at such a young age. Paul had more time to create music.
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David Schmidt
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Posted: 31 July 2017 at 9:23am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I only saw Paul McCartney on stage and I was quite impressed. He wrote a lot of great songs after the Beatles' end and is still a great performer. So I'll say Paul Mc Cartney for the solo artist question.

... and Paul McCartney for The Beatles as a group as he seemed to work really hard to keep the band alive, to make them experiment and release great albums to the end.

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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 03 August 2017 at 7:15am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I would agree with Anthony in that John and Paul were equals and integral in The Beatles. You can't have THAT band without those two musician/writers. While you could replace Ringo and/or George and still have the Beatles you would not have the occasional mirth and romance that these two men contributed. I'm a bit torn to even suggest the group is still The Beatles without any member, but if we start slicing the hair I can at least see it in my mind's eye. We have examples of each musician alone and can hear the occasional hint at a beatle-esque sound, but there is a difference.

It would be tough for me to consider anyone other than Paul for solo accomplishments. His body of work is remarkable and he has lived, written and performed much longer than John, who was stolen from us and George, who died too soon.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 10 August 2017 at 10:51am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Group - I can't separate McCartney and Lennon. The band wouldn't have been a success without either of them.

Solo - Lennon. I actually enjoy more of McCartney's work with Wings than his outright solo stuff post-Beatles.And the song `Imagine' is better than anything McCartney has done post-Beatles.

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