Paul McCartney Settles Age Old Beatles-Rolling Stones Debate
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press
In a new interview with DJ Howard Stern, Paul McCartney has shared he believes the Beatles were a better band than the Rolling Stones.
Calling in to Stern’s show from his English country home McCartney began by assuring fans he was alive and well.
Later in the conversation, Stern, not one to back away from controversial statements, informed McCartney his view was that the Beatles were a better group than The Rolling Stones.
“You know you’re going to persuade me to agree with that one,” Paul replied.
“The Stones are a fantastic group,” he continued, “I go to see them every time they come out because they’re a great, great band and Mick can really do it, the singing and the moves, and Keith and now Ronnie and Charlie. They’re great. I love ’em.”
“They are kind of rooted in the blues though,” the Beatle explained, “so when they’re kinda writing stuff it’s to do with the blues you know? Whereas we had more influences.”
“Keith once said to me,” Paul McCartney, who often vacations with the Stones guitarist, revealed, “‘You were really lucky in your band you had four singers. We had one.’”
“There’s a lot of differences,” he concluded, “I love The Stones, but I’m with you: The Beatles are better.”
Stern then pointed out the similarities between the Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Stones’ own journey into psychedelia Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came later that year.
“We started to notice,” Paul McCartney joked, “That whatever we did the Stone sort of did it shortly thereafter. We went to America and we had huge success, then the Stones went to America… There was a lot of that but we were great friends you know, we still are. We admire each other.”
Born more from media sensation than any ill will between the members of either group, The Beatles-Stones rivalry stretches back more than half a century.
The Beatles first met the Stones in 1963 at London’s Crawdaddy Club.
With both bands living in London at the time, members of the respective groups spent a good deal of time together,
“That was a great period,” John Lennon recalled in his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, “We were like kings of the jungle then, and we were very close to the Stones. I don’t know how close the others were but I spent a lot of time with Brian and Mick. I admire them, you know. I dug them… I spent a lot of time with them, and it was great. We all used to just go around London in cars and meet each other and talk about music with the Animals and Eric and all that. It was really a good time, that was the best period, fame-wise. We didn’t get mobbed so much. It was like a men’s smoking club, just a very good scene.”
During this period McCartney and Lennon would even write the Stones’ the first chart hit ‘I Wanna Be Your Man‘.
As the Stones begun dominating British and later American charts the two bands struck up a friendly rivalry.
“We went through some pretty strange times,” Mick Jagger shared while inducting the Beatles into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. “We had a sort of — a lot of rivalry in those early years, and a little bit of friction, but we always ended up friends. And I like to think we still are, ’cause they were some of the greatest times of our lives, and I’m — I’m really proud to be the one that leads them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.