Quincy Jones on the Beatles

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carloscarlos Frets: 1020
Can't disagree...

What were your first impressions of the Beatles?
That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it. I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.
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  • fobfob Frets: 290
    Ronnie Verrell was, effectively, my first musical hero.


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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 28362
    Some very technically competent musicians seem to have a problem understanding why technical competence is not the most important characteristic of great music.

    He’s also completely wrong.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • carloscarlos Frets: 1020
    ICBM said:
    Some very technically competent musicians seem to have a problem understanding why technical competence is not the most important characteristic of great music.

    He’s also completely wrong.

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  • DrCorneliusDrCornelius Frets: 669
    Disrespectful by QJ and wrong too. Watch Dave Grohl talk about Ringo and he's in awe of how he played and the space he left for the songs to shine rather than the musicianship. Paul is widely considered as one of the best pop bass players of all time too.  Ok neither of them would have got into James Brown's rhythm section but I doubt if  Clyde Stubblefield or Bootsy would work in the Beatles either.  I have read a few stories about QJ via Popbitch and he doesn't come across as a particularly nice guy tbh.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 8271
    Ringo was and is a frickin genius.

    He was *obviously* never a super-technical speedy drummer but that isn't what great rock&roll/pop ever needs.

    Likewise the other 3. All were the perfect members in their roles in the band
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1193
    edited February 8
    I've read all of that interview with QJ and his association with Sinatra, Ray Charles, MJ, his tough upbringing, humble beginnings, racism etc but for all his great achievements, the man has little humility and just comes across as a bit of a cock
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 313
    Ringo's playing on the solo section of Something is beautiful. It allows George's guitar to bloom by encouraging, but keeping out of his way.

    Unlike that comment from Quincy Jones, it is completely ego free. 
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  • Col_DeckerCol_Decker Frets: 2181
    Old man has rant.

    Ed Conway & The Unlawful Men - Alt Prog Folk: The FaceBook and The SoundCloud

     'Rope Or A Ladder', 'Don't Sing Love Songs', and 'Poke The Frog'  albums available now - see FaceBook page for details

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  • NamaquaNamaqua Frets: 34
    @DrCornelius too right man, well said!
    I've had that one ages darling
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5324
    ICBM said:
    Some very technically competent musicians seem to have a problem understanding why technical competence is not the most important characteristic of great music.

    He’s also completely wrong.

    What is the most important characteristic of great music? And who is to say what great is and why?
    Popularity is not an answer. There is so much great music out there, that barely even registers in terms of popularity.

    It's also possible to be a perfectly good songwriter, but a very poor musician (Dylan and Neil Young spring to mind)

    Just as possible to be a technically great musician with nothing to say.

    You could also argue that QJ has produced enough hit records, to understand the difference between good and bad musicians and given the body of work he has done and the success he has, his opinion is probably not all wrong.

    That song linked in the OP is a miserable dirge anyway!

    Fuengi said:
    Ringo's playing on the solo section of Something is beautiful. It allows George's guitar to bloom by encouraging, but keeping out of his way.

    Unlike that comment from Quincy Jones, it is completely ego free. 
    I don't really see that comment is ego driven. He was asked his impression, he gave it. In terms of musicianship the Beatles were not up there I don't think it very easy to argue against that.

    They wrote some songs, got popular, developed along the way, but as individuals they are not particularly competent musicians. They didn't need to be though.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 9242
    Teetonetal said: but as individuals they are not particularly competent musicians. 
    Utter bullsh*t statement. I assume you know what competent means? 


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  • NeillNeill Frets: 367
    I once met a guy who had been in an early incarnation of Gerry and the Pacemakers before they became nationally famous.  He was clearly an embittered soul who desperately wished he had been a pop star instead of a music teacher in a northern comprehensive.  Didn't have a good word to say about anyone.  Ringo couldn't play the drums, Cilla Black couldn't sing, blah blah, blah.   The fact that it's Quincy Jones now doesn't make it any more worthy.


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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 176

    This stiff always makes me laugh ... and this isn't aimed at anyone in this thread I don't believe ... that there's is an awful lot of musician slagging on this forum (and in general to be honest) but as soon as it's pointed at the Beatles the speaker is an idiot.

    FWIW, I can't stand the Beatles and George aside (I love nearly everything he did after) I don't think they were very competent performers ... sorry. But doesn't mean they didn't write good songs, they just aren't to my taste.  But I suspect there was a hell of a lot of studio polishing ... and they couldn't be heard live anyway so ...

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 6575
    edited February 8
    An awful lot of Beatles songs are fairly harmonically sophisticated. Even some of the earlier stuff has some very surprising and effective chord voicings, and a lot of those were recorded live in the studio too.  

    Most of their contemporary moptop imitators missed that bit and just strummed Buddy Holly-type songs in Scouse or Manc accents. It took a fair while for bands like The Move to pull it all apart and see how it worked. 

    Quincy Jones, like Lightning Hopkins, Chuck Berry and Miles Davis had battles to overcome which made him a bitter old git. Mainly justified bitterness, but not always. You'd never hear BB King  talk about fellow musicians like that, even really crap ones. 
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1484
    ICBM said:
    Some very technically competent musicians seem to have a problem understanding why technical competence is not the most important characteristic of great music.

    He’s also completely wrong.

    What is the most important characteristic of great music? 
    It doesn't matter, but it's *not* technical competence.

    It's also possible to be a perfectly good songwriter, but a very poor musician (Dylan and Neil Young spring to mind)
    Make that "technically poor" and I agree.
    Just as possible to be a technically great musician with nothing to say.
    Agree with this.

    In terms of musicianship the Beatles were not up there I don't think it very easy to argue against that.

    They wrote some songs, got popular, developed along the way, but as individuals they are not particularly competent musicians. 

    Utter bollocks.

    You are confusing technical competence with musicianship.

    R.

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  • Not related to The Beatles article, but there are some fantastic other Quincy Jones and stories and anecdotes from this GQ article the other day...

    https://www.gq.com/story/quincy-jones-has-a-story/amp?_

    Cracking article! 
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  • Col_DeckerCol_Decker Frets: 2181
    Bezzer said:

    ... suspect there was a hell of a lot of studio polishing ... and they couldn't be heard live anyway so ...

    weren't most recordings of that time recorded 'live'?

    Ed Conway & The Unlawful Men - Alt Prog Folk: The FaceBook and The SoundCloud

     'Rope Or A Ladder', 'Don't Sing Love Songs', and 'Poke The Frog'  albums available now - see FaceBook page for details

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  • NeillNeill Frets: 367
    Bezzer said:

    This stiff always makes me laugh ... and this isn't aimed at anyone in this thread I don't believe ... that there's is an awful lot of musician slagging on this forum (and in general to be honest) but as soon as it's pointed at the Beatles the speaker is an idiot.

    FWIW, I can't stand the Beatles and George aside (I love nearly everything he did after) I don't think they were very competent performers ... sorry. But doesn't mean they didn't write good songs, they just aren't to my taste.  But I suspect there was a hell of a lot of studio polishing ... and they couldn't be heard live anyway so ...

    No, sorry you have that completely wrong.  When the Beatles came back from Hamburg spending days and nights gigging they were a very competent tight unit. There's loads of youtube footage of them playing live and when you consider how crude the recording techniques were back then it still stands up very well.  

    Some years ago there was a documentary where they produced some footage of a live performance of "Ticket to Ride" and switched between the disc recording and the live version.  As they say on "I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue" there wasn't a gnat's crotchet between the two.  All those Ringo bashers out there - how many drummers do you know who can exactly reproduce a recording without a click track? 
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2112
    Bezzer said:

    But I suspect there was a hell of a lot of studio polishing 


    What sort of "studio polishing" were you thinking of, specifically? Have you heard all the mistakes that were left in?

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 13105
    I'm not a Beatles fan but I suspect they have sold more records than Quincy .. not bad for 'incompetent musicians' .. they were good at what they did which was writing and recording their own songs. They could always turn to a mate like Clapton if they wanted a flashy guitar solo or some brass.

    Quincy also slagged off Michael Jackson which wasn't the brightest thing to do - accused him of pinching other people's songs. The Beatles and Jackson have millions of followers on social media who are currently giving Quincy hell.


    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 1899
    He got one thing right -

    Trump.... He’s a fucking idiot.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6333
    The question was about first impressions, there's no follow up question to which he might have been more positive. Despite his general grumpiness in the interview he is capable of being positive about some things ( like Ed Sheeran) but it's generally done to get some controversial views out of a grumpy old man. 

    And although it's not explored at length in the interview he is of a generation that saw the ideas of a lot of black musicians sold to the public by white faces and credit and money given in the wrong places. The Beatles, to some extent anyway, were a part of that. 

    Neill said:
    Bezzer said:

    This stiff always makes me laugh ... and this isn't aimed at anyone in this thread I don't believe ... that there's is an awful lot of musician slagging on this forum (and in general to be honest) but as soon as it's pointed at the Beatles the speaker is an idiot.

    FWIW, I can't stand the Beatles and George aside (I love nearly everything he did after) I don't think they were very competent performers ... sorry. But doesn't mean they didn't write good songs, they just aren't to my taste.  But I suspect there was a hell of a lot of studio polishing ... and they couldn't be heard live anyway so ...

    No, sorry you have that completely wrong.  When the Beatles came back from Hamburg spending days and nights gigging they were a very competent tight unit. There's loads of youtube footage of them playing live and when you consider how crude the recording techniques were back then it still stands up very well.  

    Some years ago there was a documentary where they produced some footage of a live performance of "Ticket to Ride" and switched between the disc recording and the live version.  As they say on "I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue" there wasn't a gnat's crotchet between the two.  All those Ringo bashers out there - how many drummers do you know who can exactly reproduce a recording without a click track? 
    I can do a reasonable Ticket to Ride, Quincy was used to working with top jazz musicians so from his perspective  that's not really in the same ballpark. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5324
    axisus said:
    Teetonetal said: but as individuals they are not particularly competent musicians. 
    Utter bullsh*t statement. I assume you know what competent means? 


    Yes, I know exactly what competent means and I'm also not questioning that over time they improved immensely, But let's get real the Beatles wrote very, very simple music (less so as they went on, granted), there is nothing remotely challenging about what they are playing (nothing wrong with that either) but in terms of being musicians, I don't hold them in high regard.

    Do you know the difference between a musician and a song writer?

    ICBM said:
    Some very technically competent musicians seem to have a problem understanding why technical competence is not the most important characteristic of great music.

    He’s also completely wrong.

    What is the most important characteristic of great music? 
    It doesn't matter, but it's *not* technical competence.

    It's also possible to be a perfectly good songwriter, but a very poor musician (Dylan and Neil Young spring to mind)
    Make that "technically poor" and I agree.
    Just as possible to be a technically great musician with nothing to say.
    Agree with this.

    In terms of musicianship the Beatles were not up there I don't think it very easy to argue against that.

    They wrote some songs, got popular, developed along the way, but as individuals they are not particularly competent musicians. 

    Utter bollocks.

    You are confusing technical competence with musicianship.

    R.


    I don't think you know what musicianship means.

    I would have thought technical competence a reasonable chunk of musicianship, with the other parts made up of knowledge, feel and sensitivity. The Beatles were songwriters who got very lucky, they are nothing special, they wrote some catchy pop tunes, but honestly, like a lot of the pop/rock world are journeyman musicians whose popularity elevates their status.
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  • Good publicity for the article... say something controversial and get attention that wouldn't have been there otherwise - just like Jeremy Vine's career on Radio 2. "Fat people... should we burn them? Call me on 0101 humpty-dumpty 2"
    I used to be funny.
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  • Col_DeckerCol_Decker Frets: 2181
    Its true the Beatles were shit. Also Bruce Lee punched like a girl, and Monet used to paint by numbers. So there I'm right, its just the rest of the world who are wrong.

    Ed Conway & The Unlawful Men - Alt Prog Folk: The FaceBook and The SoundCloud

     'Rope Or A Ladder', 'Don't Sing Love Songs', and 'Poke The Frog'  albums available now - see FaceBook page for details

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  • proggyproggy Frets: 1191

    Why do Americans precede the word fucker with mother?

    Are they insinuating that the person has sex with their mum? I've never understood that. To be honest though, I don't really understand Americans anyway.

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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 176
    edited February 8
    Neill said:
    Bezzer said:

    This stiff always makes me laugh ... and this isn't aimed at anyone in this thread I don't believe ... that there's is an awful lot of musician slagging on this forum (and in general to be honest) but as soon as it's pointed at the Beatles the speaker is an idiot.

    FWIW, I can't stand the Beatles and George aside (I love nearly everything he did after) I don't think they were very competent performers ... sorry. But doesn't mean they didn't write good songs, they just aren't to my taste.  But I suspect there was a hell of a lot of studio polishing ... and they couldn't be heard live anyway so ...

    No, sorry you have that completely wrong.  When the Beatles came back from Hamburg spending days and nights gigging they were a very competent tight unit. There's loads of youtube footage of them playing live and when you consider how crude the recording techniques were back then it still stands up very well.  

    Some years ago there was a documentary where they produced some footage of a live performance of "Ticket to Ride" and switched between the disc recording and the live version.  As they say on "I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue" there wasn't a gnat's crotchet between the two.  All those Ringo bashers out there - how many drummers do you know who can exactly reproduce a recording without a click track? 
    How can I be “wrong” for expressing an opinion? I did prefix with “I don’t think” but hey ho ... it’s proved the point I WAS trying to make. It’s seems very free and easy on here to slag off absolutely everyone but heaven forbid it’s the Beatles ...

    If you like ‘em, great. I don’t. I don’t get it at all. But that’s just me.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2112
    edited February 8
    Come on @Bezzer, tell me about this "studio polishing". What did they do?

    Is this it?

    Image result for beatles polishing

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 837
    Old man attempts to be controversial by slagging off music act from 60 years ago shocker! 
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