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The Beatles vs The Rolling Stones
23 April 2013
7.57am
Gerell
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I don't know if my aunt came to like I Will as it's one of the last tracks of the first LP. She used to listen to Tom Jones during the day.

I haven't "actually" listened to the Rolling Stones, but I heard Mick Jagger is quite a showman and that's about it, no special mention about his voice or anything. The Rolling Stones are reputed to be the longest touring band, and the band with the most concert ticket sales.

The only reputable song that I have heard of from them was "As Tears Go By" (not sure if I am making this up because I heard this a long time ago). A lot of people were fighting over the song because they say it copied Yesterday, but I am sure it came first. This was also the song that resulted from their imprisonment in a room lol.

 

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23 April 2013
4.31pm
Sky999
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Gerell said
I don't know if my aunt came to like I Will as it's one of the last tracks of the first LP. She used to listen to Tom Jones during the day.

I haven't "actually" listened to the Rolling Stones, but I heard Mick Jagger is quite a showman and that's about it, no special mention about his voice or anything. The Rolling Stones are reputed to be the longest touring band, and the band with the most concert ticket sales.

The only reputable song that I have heard of from them was "As Tears Go By" (not sure if I am making this up because I heard this a long time ago). A lot of people were fighting over the song because they say it copied Yesterday, but I am sure it came first. This was also the song that resulted from their imprisonment in a room lol.

 

Give them a listen. You might or might not like them apple01

2 May 2013
3.30pm
Linde
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I would just call them ''poprock'', since they were good at both, but can't strictly be put under either of them.

As for the Stones..some of their songs are decent, but I dislike most of their songs. I do have some of them in my iTunes though.

And I'm sure Jagger is a great showman, but he's absolutely not the greatest singer and I don't really like his voice.

2 May 2013
4.11pm
fabfouremily
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^^ I don't like the London and most of the Home Counties' accent so there's a few songs (when his accent is ore noticeable) that I don't like for that reason. That's another reason why I love The Beatles, I love the (old) Liverpudlian accent.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

2 May 2013
8.25pm
Von Bontee
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Yeah, no matter how compelling Jagger may be onstage (so what?), I don't think he's ever had a great singing voice either. At his best, he makes up for it in other ways (phrasing, "attitude", whatever.)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
11 September 2013
4.29pm
Lukey Boy
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I've enjoyed reading the posts on this topic. Now may I add my two cents? I have to go with the Beatles. The Stones had some great songs, sure. The Beatles had many. Although to be fair, this IS a Beatles page. Were this called 'The Rolling Stones Bible,' opinions would be somewhat different! I do like the Stones, their early stuff anyway. But I think The Beatles were on another level. In fact, John Lennon said it himself! I saw one post that said that were more consistently brilliant, which pretty much hits the nail on the head.

11 September 2013
5.40pm
meanmistermustard
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I got The Stones 2013 Greatest Hits cd (I hate the name so Im not typing it) and the quality varies so much between great and ghastly.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
11 September 2013
10.33pm
trcanberra
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Lukey Boy said
I've enjoyed reading the posts on this topic. Now may I add my two cents? I have to go with the Beatles. The Stones had some great songs, sure. The Beatles had many. Although to be fair, this IS a Beatles page. Were this called 'The Rolling Stones Bible,' opinions would be somewhat different! I do like the Stones, their early stuff anyway. But I think The Beatles were on another level. In fact, John Lennon said it himself! I saw one post that said that were more consistently brilliant, which pretty much hits the nail on the head.

I think this reflects my thoughts very well.  I just don't think there was ever a 'Stonesmania' which matched the impact that the Beatles had or their enduring  legacy.  Great band though, no doubt.

 

12 September 2013
10.13am
Joe
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MMM – do you mean Grrr! (actually 2012)? I bought that, the 50-song edition. I didn't find the quality that variable, apart from the third disc (and even the first half of that is brilliant). The first two discs are incredibly consistent.

I bought it just before a long car journey to a friend's wedding, and sang along so hard that I lost my voice later that day. Luckily I wasn't giving a speech.

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15 September 2013
8.59pm
CorporationT-shirt
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The Beatles are my first musical love, but the Stones are my second favorite band.  Truth be told, there are times when I prefer to listen to the Stones.

The Beatles were better songwriters, especially in terms of coming up with original, memorable melodies.  The Beatles albums were always superior, at least until Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed (which were a huge leap forward – on par with most Beatles albums).  The Fabs were also more versatile composers.  They were more willing to experiment and push their music in new directions.  They had better recordings.  The Beatles also had 3 good vocalists capable of singing lead and contributing complex harmony vocals.

That said, the Stones were better than the Beatles in some aspects.  Lennon was (usually) a better lyricist than Jagger, but Jagger is a better wordsmith than McCartney or Harrison.  The Stones were a better "down and dirty" rock band, and were edgier and more dangerous.  They were also a better live band, or at least far more entertaining to watch perform (The Beatles may have sounded a little bit better though).  The Stones are also underrated in terms of their versatility – they usually had a blues-rock foundation, but they also successfully pulled off everything from hard rock to Delta blues, pop to country, psychedelia to orchestral ballads, reggae to disco, etc.  The Stones were a great singles band in the mid 60's and evolved into a band that made great albums too.  They also had more longevity as a group, so that has to count for something.

In the end, I slightly prefer the Beatles….but why do we have to choose between these two great groups?  Can't we love them both?

15 September 2013
10.43pm
trcanberra
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^ We can indeed love them both, and both bands seemed to get on pretty well together themselves, never mind the fans who were brawling over them in the 60s.

6 March 2014
2.25am
PeterWeatherby
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I just finished reading Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian. Now, I've been a Beatles fan since before my adolescence, and part of that discovery (and obsession) meant that I listened to a lot of "oldies" radio. There were plenty of other groups/songs that I learned to love, especially Simon and Garfunkel, The Monkees, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, etc. I only mention that to point out that I wasn't 100% Beatles exclusive.

But I've never liked the Stones. Even their best stuff ("Paint it, Black", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and so on) only rises to the level of lesser Beatles songs, like "What Goes On," or "I'll Get You," as far as I'm concerned. Whenever I've listened to compilations of top 60's hits, I'll rock out on songs like "So Happy Together," "House of the Rising Sun," "Crimson and Clover," or whatever, but I just instinctively skip over Stones songs. They're boring, to me.

After reading McMillian's book, I think maybe I understand things a bit better. The Stones explicitly described themselves as "the anti-Beatles." Yet, as even John Lennon angrily pointed out in an interview, they seemed to just copy the Beatles' every move. When The Beatles released a unique track of Paul McCartney singing to a simple acoustic guitar and string quartet ("Yesterday"), the Stones quickly followed with "As Tears Go By." When The Beatles made rock history by including a sitar on one of their tracks for the first time ("Norwegian Wood"), lo and behold, suddenly the Stones followed with "Paint it, Black," featuring sitar work. When The Beatles turned a corner and started exploring new sounds and becoming "studio artists" with Rubber Soul and Revolver, guess what the Stones did?

John said that the Stones were basically riding The Beatles' coat tails, and McMillian seems to suggest that, while The Beatles actually were a down-and-dirty, gritty, nasty rock-and-roll band who had their image falsely remade for PR reasons, the Stones were a group of far more posh, well-educated lads who had their image falsely remade into a "rough and gritty" group just so they could be an alternative to The Beatles.

Ok, so I've just spilled lots of words to get to this point: is my perspective as a life-long Beatles fan unique? Or do most Beatles fans tend to shy away from the Stones? Were the Stones really any good, or were they just hopeless imitators who wouldn't have really gotten anywhere if not for patterning themselves after The Beatles, all while insisting that they were "the anti-Beatles"?

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
2.43am
Ahhh Girl
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@PeterWeatherby Have you seen this discussion yet? I'm wondering if we should move your excellent comments to that thread to keep the discussion all together. Do you think that discussion is on target with the type of discussion you have in mind?

The book in the first post on the other thread isn't the same one you mention here, but I do think your post will work well on that thread.

The following people thank Ahhh Girl for this post:

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6 March 2014
3.10am
PeterWeatherby
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Ahhh Girl said

@PeterWeatherby Have you seen this discussion yet? I'm wondering if we should move your excellent comments to that thread to keep the discussion all together. Do you think that discussion is on target with the type of discussion you have in mind?

The book in the first post on the other thread isn't the same one you mention here, but I do think your post will work well on that thread.

No, I hadn't seen that post. Thanks for the heads-up. I'm not sure if this post should be moved there or not – sometimes it's nice to keep things all together (now), and sometimes it's nice to have topics opened a-fresh just because the old thread was started shortly after Noah got off the Ark. :)

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
3.55am
ivaughan
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I would say less that the Stones described themselves as the anti-Beatles than that's the way they were marketed by their PR team. Maybe they were told to say a few trivial words to that effect to the press, but I find it hard to believe that they actually thought of themselves that way. Furthermore, while John did say that he was still a fan of the Stones. In the mid-60s he was saying that he hoped that the Beatles would be knocked off the #1 spot on the charts by a song like Satisfaction. In the early 70s he was openly positioning himself against critics by defending the latest Stones album.

He seemed to like their music but also said what was perfectly true that the Stones, like most other white pop acts of the 60s worked within the style that The Beatles largely created and therefore didn't like the fact that both journalists and sometimes some of the Stones themselves would pass themselves off as innovators or the "authentic" style. 

The Stones are not necessarily my favourite artists either and I put many in front of them – The Beach Boys, Neil Young, Dylan, The Band, The Kinks, The Who, Stevie Wonder, etc. But I nevertheless think their output is pretty fantastic. But to each his own.

6 March 2014
4.30am
PeterWeatherby
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These were the relevant quotes I picked up from watching a documentary on the Stones about a month ago (Crossfire Hurricane):

Keith Richards: "The Beatles have got the white hat. What's left? The black hat."

Mick Jagger: "So you've got heroes; you've got an anti-hero. It's good to have an attitude to play the part."

Maybe that was their PR team telling them to say that, maybe it's what they really thought. I don't know. However it played out, they were in existence to be a counter-argument to The Beatles. They were supposed to be "the bad boys" to the "good boys" that the Beatles were.

I think that's a load of crap. The Stones never gutted it out playing sweaty rock-n-roll for countless hours in an old German strip club wearing leather outfits and popping upper/downer pills by the handful. No matter what Brian Epstein created by way of an acceptable facade, I think The Beatles had the true grit and rough-and-tumble of a rock-n-roll band, so it irritates me when people say that the Stones were more gritty and rough.

I think the emergence of Rubber Soul and Revolver forever settled the matter – The Beatles were the true musicians and gritty rock-n-roll artists, and the Stones were just pretenders who had very little original content to contribute if they couldn't borrow ideas from the Fab Four. "Oh, but the Stones were more bluesy," some people say, but I think that argument evaporates as soon as you hear original songs like "Drive My Car," "The Word," "Run For Your Life," "Taxman," "She Said She Said," "I Want To Tell You," and so on.

BTW, here are John's comments about the Stones after The Beatles broke up, circa 1971 in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine:

RS: Do you see [Jagger] much now?

LENNON: No, I never do see him. We saw a bit of each other around when Allen [Klein] was first coming in – I think Mick got jealous. I was always very respectful about Mick and the Stones, but he said a lot of sort of tarty things about the Beatles, which I am hurt by, because you know, I can knock the Beatles, but don’t let Mick Jagger knock them. I would like to just list what we did and what the Stones did two months after on every fuckin’ album. Every fuckin’ thing we did, Mick does exactly the same – he imitates us. And I would like one of you fuckin’ underground people to point it out, you know “Satanic Majesties” is Pepper, “We Love You,” it’s the most fuckin’ bullshit, that’s “All You Need Is Love.”

I resent the implication that the Stones are like revolutionaries and that the Beatles weren’t. If the Stones were or are, the Beatles really were too. But they are not in the same class, music-wise or power-wise, never were. I never said anything, I always admired them, because I like their funky music and I like their style. I like rock and roll and the direction they took after they got over trying to imitate us, you know, but he’s even going to do Apple now. He’s going to do the same thing.

He’s obviously so upset by how big the Beatles are compared with him; he never got over it. Now he’s in his old age, and he is beginning to knock us, you know, and he keeps knocking. I resent it, because even his second fuckin’ record ["I Wanna Be Your Man"] we wrote it for him.

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
4.49am
ivaughan
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To be fair, The Stones borrowed from more sources than just The Beatles. And really, The Beatles did their fair share of stealing themselves so it's unfair to put the Stones down for unoriginality when The Beatles were just as capable of cribbing from others.

I think the fact that The Stones are said to be more bluesy is fair enough. Let's face it – they were far more enthusiastic about blues music than The Beatles ever were. The Beatles liked rock and roll, country & western, and soul music primarily, not blues, and their music reflected those tastes. To be perfectly honest, if one puts up "She Said She Said," "I Want To Tell You," and "Run For Your Life" as examples of the Beatles blues style then I think one could conclude from those examples that they had no blues style. I'm not entirely sure which blues would be being emulated on those songs. Meanwhile, you can hear in The Stones precisely the bits that were inspired by John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, and the others. You don't hear that as much in The Beatles quite simply because they just weren't as interested in that sort of music, didn't have much interest in carrying on that particular tradition, and that's fair enough. 

As for the quotes, I'd be curious to ask Mick and Keith if they were the anti-Beatles when they were using a Lennon-McCartney song as their single. To be perfectly honest, these quotations are cherry-picked. Like I said above, there are plenty of quotations from the members of each band praising each other both during the 60s and beyond. As for the Lennon interview, try looking at that interview and finding anything Lennon has to say about anyone that's positive.

6 March 2014
5.21am
PeterWeatherby
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I think when it comes to the whole "the Stones were better at blues music" argument, that's when I get the most irritated. To me, that betrays a poor understanding of blues music as a whole. Musically speaking, the blues – as a genre – is fairly boring. Again, that's strictly speaking musically – blues music is made up of the three major chords in any given key. It's very basic, and it's not very interesting.

What makes the blues interesting or enjoyable is when someone like Hendrix pins it to the wall and beats the living crap out of it with excess energy, mind-blowing lead guitar work, or some other original spin that makes otherwise boring three-chord-music fun to listen to.

Now, it's true, most of what The Beatles did by way of true blues music (three chord basic stuff) was cover music. When they wrote their own stuff, they got more creative and threw in relative minor chords, or borrowed fifths, etc. But when they did tackle the basic three-chord music, they absolutely took it to another level with that extra energy that made them so enjoyable in Hamburg.

Nothing the Stones did by way of so-called "blues" even comes close to McCartney's balls-to-the-wall rendition of "Long Tall Sally," and that was just a cover song.

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
5.38am
ivaughan
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PeterWeatherby said
I think when it comes to the whole "the Stones were better at blues music" argument, that's when I get the most irritated. To me, that betrays a poor understanding of blues music as a whole. Musically speaking, the blues – as a genre – is fairly boring. Again, that's strictly speaking musically – blues music is made up of the three major chords in any given key. It's very basic, and it's not very interesting.

What makes the blues interesting or enjoyable is when someone like Hendrix pins it to the wall and beats the living crap out of it with excess energy, mind-blowing lead guitar work, or some other original spin that makes otherwise boring three-chord-music fun to listen to.

Now, it's true, most of what The Beatles did by way of true blues music (three chord basic stuff) was cover music. When they wrote their own stuff, they got more creative and threw in relative minor chords, or borrowed fifths, etc. But when they did tackle the basic three-chord music, they absolutely took it to another level with that extra energy that made them so enjoyable in Hamburg.

Nothing the Stones did by way of so-called "blues" even comes close to McCartney's balls-to-the-wall rendition of "Long Tall Sally," and that was just a cover song.

To be honest, I think that your points about blues music as being "made up of the three major chords" is quite simply false. That may be true of some blues music, but not a great deal of it. I urge you to examine blues music made in the 20s, 30s, and 40s and you'll find that the songs are not only made up of several chords, including minors, 7ths, diminished, with guitars in unique tuning, etc. but also contain a great deal of complex changes, picking, etc. Just look at this girl's cover of the great Geeshie Wiley's blues classic Last Kind Words and tell me that that can be reduced to description of "three-chord-music"

Certainly what Hendrix did was interesting but, personally, I think the old scratchy blues records are among some of the most interesting recordings ever put to vinyl. As R. Crumb put it so brilliantly, "You hear the best part of the soul of the common people – their way of expression their connection to eternity. Modern music doesn't have that…" I do not entirely agree with Crumb – I think there is something to be said for Hendrix's interpretation of blues music but I can also see the argument that Hendrix ripped away the natural sound.

Also, Long Tall Sally is not a blues song and never was. It may be heavily indebted to the blues because of its 12-bar structure but it can't be classified as blues. It's a rock and roll song originally performed and written by Little Richard, which is probably why it may sound more revved up than your average Stones song because it has a rock and roll beat, not a blues beat. If this comes down simply to you preferring rock and roll to blues, then that's fine. But to say that the Beatles did the blues better than the Stones when they were never even attempting to do the blues is pushing it.

6 March 2014
8.22am
Atlas
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The Stones weren't much of a blues band………. Jagger's vocal pastiche of the blues is sometimes laughable. Keith isn't that kind of a player. Mick Taylor when he joined wasn't allowed much leeway. Blues is not what there were and they knew they couldn't compete in that field with say, Fleetwood Mac, who incidentally outsold both the Beatles and The Stones combined in 1968.

 

They wrote some classic songs. 'Jumping Jack flash', 'Sympathy for the Devil', 'Street Fighting man', 'Honky Tonk Woman' and about 20 others, (not many more though), that stand amongst the best of the 60's and early 70's. They are, simply put…. 'The Stones', a rough round the edges pop act. They may have copied The Beatles in trends and styles but they did have their own sound and the world is a better place for having them.

For me they continue to owe their pre-eminence today to the fact that they came along at the same time as the Beatles, and were seen as their closest rivals and are remembered today affectionally as such…… When in truth, even just in the UK, The Who, Kinks, Cream,Pink Floyd. Jethro Tull, Free, Yes, Led Zeppelin and half a dozen others were at least on a par with the Stones.

The Stones are great ……….A deal of what made the 60's so exciting was down to them. For those that love the Stones to bits and won't hear a word against them you're welcome.

But if the Stones were great……..The Beatles were staggeringly great. It's the unspoken truth locked away at the centre of every Stones fan's heart.

……….Mick knows it too………And he'll never 'get no satisfaction'

 

 

 

 

 

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