Record Straight, Setting The

Apparently geriatric rocker Mick Jagger has had his memory go bad:

Mick Jagger has called out Paul McCartney for claiming The Beatles were bigger than The Rolling Stones.  The singer, 76, hit out at the Hey Jude hitmaker, 77, for suggesting The Rolling Stones copied whatever The Beatles did during their time as music rivals.
‘The big difference, though, is that The Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas when The Beatles never even did an arena tour. They broke up before the touring business started for real…  They [The Beatles] did that [Shea] stadium gig [in 1965].  But the Stones went on.  We started stadium gigs in the 1970s and are still doing them now.  That’s the real big difference between these two bands.’

Of course, ol’ Mick is showing signs of senility — or at best, selective memory.  As Paul pointed out:

‘I love the Stones but The Beatles were better.  Their stuff is rooted in the blues. Whereas we had a lot more influences.’

Paul’s being kind.  The Beatles created influences while the Stones just kept on playing their garage-band versions of blues.  And when the Stones didn’t do that, they copied the Beatles, as Paul noted:

Suggesting the Paint It Black hitmakers began to copy the Beatles, Paul added: ‘We started to notice that whatever we did the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter.
‘We went to America and had huge success, then the Stones went to America.  We did Sergeant Pepper and the Stones did a psychedelic album. There was a lot of that.’

As for Mick’s comment:

‘One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums and then the other band doesn’t exist.’

Jagger’s confusing longevity with talent, which is like saying that Leonard Bernstein was a better composer than Mozart because he lived longer.

The Beatles broke up because they had three unbelievably-talented creative musicians who wanted to go their own way;  the Stones only ever had Keef as their creative source, so they were never going to break up:  since Let It Bleed, their music has always been about making money, not about the music.  And Keef, as he’s always admitted, is and always has been a blues musician.  Lennon, McCartney and Harrison played pretty much every kind of music — and created their own forms as well.  The Stones have never done that, ever.

Stick to prancing around the stage in skintight yoga outfits, Mick.  Nobody does it better.


  1. The Stones were greatly impressed the first time they met the Beatles and discovered they wrote virtually all their songs.
    And yes, longevity is most impressive for trees. Rooted and immobile. Unchanging and predictable.

  2. I know you have a musical and performing background, and an interest in things related to such, but I think that these two septuagenarians should just fade away.

  3. I liked both, but in their own times. Not so much any more. I’ve been playing multiple instruments for more than 50 years so I may “see” into things a little more deeply than others. Though they only made music for a few years, the Beatles were very versatile as others have noted. After their first few songs the Stones stuff started having a sort of sameness to it and by the mid 70’s I just kinda faded them out, only listening now and then. I don’t listen to music much any more and having played a Beatles or Stones song in probably 10 years or more.

  4. My early impression of the difference between these two groups was that the Beatles were teeny-bopper crooners and the Stones were bad boys with switchblades

  5. They are both garbage and no one will play any of their music once the last boomer dies. In 2050 more people will be listening to slim Whitman than either of these CIA operations.

    1. 100% with you on this one. Always felt the Beatles were the most over-hyped musical group in history. Boomer nostalgia and the romantic death of the bands figurehead, keep it on over-inflated life support. As for the Stones, meh, 1 interesting song, followed by a lot of pseudo-rebellious 70’s dreck. Just because a song was on the radio the first time you got laid doesn’t make the band the GOAT.

      As for Mick & Paul’s slap fight, its an argument between herpes and hemorrhoids as to which is better.

      One of the few things I disagree with KDT on.

  6. Hell, Aerosmith is better than the Stones. Not sure which band did more drugs, though.

  7. As you can tell from his comments Mick has always been more of a boisterous showman than a true musician. Watch footage of the Beatles and you’ll see all they did was stand behind a mic and deliver music. I always thought of the Stones borrowing if not copying the Beatles style and then Aerosmith returning the favor to the Stones. That doesn’t diminish any of the great songs all three bands had but I do see the Beatles as being more of an influence on the others. The difference being the Beatles were influenced by so many different styles (see video below) that they couldn’t be claimed to have copied anyone but the Stones and Aerosmith obviously leaning heavily on the Beatles’ sound.

  8. I understand the musical and cultural influences of The Beatles, but for me the British Invasion started with The Who and The Rolling Stones. As a rule I just don’t enjoy the majority of their music.

    The only song of theirs that actually ever caught my attention and touched me is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Probably because the songs of George Harrison has always been my preferred tunes of the writers of the group and in their solo careers. That and who the lead guitarist was.

  9. Beatles vs Stones used to be an important question. The Beatles first came to America when I was in the fifth grade. One of my teachers (sixth grade maybe?) tried to explain that even though they were popular in the moment, they would be a flash in the pan and forgotten in a few years. She even gave a couple of examples of musicians who had been big, but had already faded from popularity (in 1964-5?). The examples she used were Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.

  10. I agree with you 100% Kim. The Beatles were more creative, but that doesn’t make a band good. The only Stones song I liked was Ruby Tuesday, and that wasn’t all that great.

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