Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Supergroup That Should Have Been

I've always thought a truly spectacular supergroup could have been formed by Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. All three are obviously amazing, multi-faceted artists, have been close admirers of each other since the mid-60s, and have worked together in various configurations at least occasionally. And while all three have almost always been very much the dominant musical forces in whatever settings they've been in for most of that time—with one very obvious exception—all three have also proven they can step back and simply be the very finest of supportive musicians, at least in the short term.

Clapton, of course, has often taken on the sideman role, whether it was as touring guitarist for Delaney & Bonnie or for Roger Waters, or as very much the minor partner, to everyone's surprise (including, I suspect, Steve Winwood's) in Blind Faith.

Meanwhile, Pete Townshend, never one to suffer fools gladly, still seems to be in awe of Clapton, as this clip shows—his entire demeanor is remarkably deferential, considering what an outstanding guitarist and singer he is himself (and how much better a songwriter he is, even conceding Clapton's own songwriting is sometimes under-appreciated).

And then there's Paul McCartney, whose musical and personal/professional dominance is one of the things that broke up the Beatles. (Although if he hadn't been so aggressive in wanting the band to keep working, they probably would have broken up out of sheer ennui anyway.) And yet even George Harrison, at a time when he and Paul weren't getting along and while dismissing some of McCartney's more whimsical songs, praised the brilliance Paul's playing on other people's songs. The contributions he made to "Tomorrow Never Knows," "And Your Bird Will Sing," "If I Needed Someone" or "Come Together," to name only a very few of John's and George's songs, are massive.

And then there's this.

When Paul and Eric sing the bridge together, watching each other, just after the 7:00 mark is spine-tingling, and makes me sorry they never did more more extensively, and wonder what might have been.

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