Uli Jon Roth claims The Beatles “wouldn’t have sounded anywhere near as good” without George Harrison

“He was the missing link in the Paul-and-John scenario,” the former Scorpions guitarist says.

German virtuoso and former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth has argued that the Beatles “wouldn’t have sounded anywhere near as good” without George Harrison.

Roth makes the statement in a new interview with Simon Pink of My Guitar Lessons, where he speaks about his creative influences, citing in particular the Beatles, whose music he knew “by heart” before he even started on the guitar.

According to Roth, despite Harrison’s reputation as the ‘quiet one’, his presence was vital to the band: “He played the right note at the right time; only a handful of people can do that,” he says [via Killer Guitar Rigs].

“He was the missing link in the Paul-and-John scenario – The Beatles wouldn’t have sounded anywhere near as good as they did without him.”

Elaborating on Harrison’s role in the group, Roth says, “He was really the icing on the cake – and extremely important icing, particularly. Also, once he started to get into all the Eastern stuff with the sitar, then the Beatles kind of went up to the next level sonically, and a large part of that was because of George Harrison. So yeah, I’m a big fan.”

As the guitarist explains, getting into the Fab Four’s music as a child was a “really good introduction” for him, “because melodically and harmonically, it doesn’t get much better than Eleanor Rigby and stuff like that.”

“So I really grew up on that before I even started playing. A little bit unusual, but yeah – I guess it was good for me.”

Also in the interview, Roth looks back on his first steps on the guitar, saying “I discovered the instrument because back then there was no tuition – there were no teachers for electric guitar. It was all fair game. All we had were records.”

“We listened with our ears and tried to copy Eric Clapton and co, so to speak. So yeah, that’s how I really learned to explore the instrument.”

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