had been

Though never a paid critic as Debussy had been, Ravel had strong opinions on historical and contemporary music and musicians, which influenced his younger contemporaries.

Why is ‘had been’ used here, instead of ‘was’?


To me it implies that the time that Debussy was a paid critic occurred earlier than the time that Ravel was not a paid critic. There is quite an overlap in their dates, however, so I’m not sure if that actually was the intention.