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The Beatles vs The Rolling Stones
6 March 2014
12.34pm
Ron Nasty
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John's comments on the Stones in the 1971 Rolling Stone interview have to be put into context. The interview overall was quite a bitter one. It took place with the backdrop of the High Court case to break-up The Beatles, and John was very much still in the thrall of Allen Klein. Klein's business methods were heavily traduced during the High Court case, and Klein was about to embark on a 17-year court case with the Stones over their accusations that he had swindled them out of the rights to their pre-1971 catalogue.

So, just as with Paul McCartney, the Stones had turned on the latest of John's "father figures/gurus", and found themselves similarly on the receiving end of John's anger and dismissal.

While there are aspects of John's comparison I can agree with, the way that he said it was very much a symptom of the circumstances of 1971. Nor do John's statements entirely hold-up under scrutiny.

Take, for instance, the claim that We Love You was a rip-off of All You Need Is LoveA cursory glance and you might think, hmmm... Put the two songs alongside each other, both musically and lyrically, and there are no real similarities beyond the use of the word "love", and that they were both written by people living a very similar life, with similar influences, as part of the same social group in the same city.

However, the big flaw in John's argument here is that We Love You was recorded on 12 June 1967, with John and Paul in attendance and contributing backing vocals, while the first session for All You Need Is Love took place two days later on the 14th. The Stones could not rip off a recording that was yet to made.

@PeterWeatherby 

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
6 March 2014
1.06pm
ivaughan
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I agree with the above two posters and just want to make it clear that I'm not arguing that The Stones were a blues band. They absolutely weren't. They were a rock and roll band. However, my point is that The Stones were far more inspired by blues music than The Beatles. In fact, it seems that a good deal of the UK pop scene was more influenced by blues music than The Beatles - The Stones, The Animals, The Kinks, The Who, The Pretty Things, and especially The Yardbirds, all betrayed their blues influences far more transparently than The Beatles. In fact, The Beatles are fairly unique for the time for not covering any blues songs. This, though, is what set The Beatles apart from the scene.

6 March 2014
2.25pm
Billy Rhythm
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ivaughan said
I agree with the above two posters and just want to make it clear that I'm not arguing that The Stones were a blues band. They absolutely weren't. They were a rock and roll band. However, my point is that The Stones were far more inspired by blues music than The Beatles. In fact, it seems that a good deal of the UK pop scene was more influenced by blues music than The Beatles - The Stones, The Animals, The Kinks, The Who, The Pretty Things, and especially The Yardbirds, all betrayed their blues influences far more transparently than The Beatles. In fact, The Beatles are fairly unique for the time for not covering any blues songs. This, though, is what set The Beatles apart from the scene.

 

I think what clouds the issue further is that people have different definitions of what Blues music is, while I agree with your disagreement of Blues music "being made up of the three major chords", it's nonetheless probably the most common perception of what Blues music is.  Blues music, for me, is more about a feel than a chord progression and The Stones certainly paid homage to many of the Blues Masters, such as John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and others.  'Love In Vain' from 'Let It Bleed' would be one example of The Stones playing the Blues while the titles of some of their songs ('Stray Cat Blues', 'Ventilator Blues', etc.) I could see lending credence to some referencing them as a Blues Band, but yeah Rock'n'Roll was their forte and they did it well.  The big common denominator in both The Beatles/Stones' musical influences is Chuck Berry for they both covered many of Chuck's tunes, you could make an entire compilation album where each band gets a side of Chuck Berry covers and it'd be one of the greatest Rock'n'Roll records ever, it would also give you a very clear picture of the differences in each bands' musical make-up.  The Beatles were a much more polished act while The Stones had a rougher edge to their sound which is also a Blues characteristic by my definition...:-) 

6 March 2014
2.30pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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For levity, I will re-post this from the "news" section:

http://www.ralphgardner.com/al…..e-beatles/

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
6 March 2014
2.33pm
Ahhh Girl
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
For levity, I will re-post this from the "news" section:

http://www.ralphgardner.com/al…..e-beatles/

@Into the Sky with Diamonds Your link, like my brain this morning, needs a little helping hand. It went to "page not found".

 

6 March 2014
2.51pm
Billy Rhythm
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Atlas said
The Stones weren't much of a blues band………. Jagger's vocal pastiche of the blues is sometimes laughable. 

A lot of people felt that Mick was trying too hard to sound Black, which of course he wasn't, but while he may have struggled somewhat to pass the authenticity test with his vocals, his harmonica playing on the other hand was very Bluesy.  John Lennon may have been a step ahead of Mick Jagger on many fronts but when it came to the harmonica, it's not even a contest, Mick's playing is far superior and very underrated.  There's not too many who can blow some harp like Mick can...:-)

6 March 2014
2.54pm
fabfouremily
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I agree that he was (well, and still is) a fantastic harmonica player. If anyone's going to show us that the instrument emits more than just an annoying monotonous sound, then it is probably Mick more than anyone else.

''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.''

6 March 2014
3.28pm
OneCoolCat
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I haven't read the whole thread, but I think the Stones found their own voice from Beggars Banquet through Exile. Those four albums there are incredible. After that, Some Girls was great as well, and maybe Tattoo You. The others before, in between and after had their moments but not all.

One thing I have to admit though, is that the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request is so bad, it's good. I mean that in a most complimentary way. A very bad attempt at making their own Pepper's, it falls woefully short, but as much as they dismiss it, I have grown to like it alot. Citadel, The Lantern, She's A Rainbow, 2000 Light Years From Home (my favourite off of that) are some pretty cool tunes.

I like The Stones, and always consider Mick the preeminent frontman in all of rock. He set the template for all singers afterwards. I always found his moves from 1968 on to be awesome --like on the Jumpin' Jack Flash vid for one (before that he was doing his James Brown moves until Tina Turner taught him some moves).

6 March 2014
4.09pm
Bungalow Bob
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OneCoolCat said

One thing I have to admit though, is that the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request is so bad, it's good. I mean that in a most complimentary way. A very bad attempt at making their own Pepper's, it falls woefully short, but as much as they dismiss it, I have grown to like it alot. Citadel, The Lantern, She's A Rainbow, 2000 Light Years From Home (my favourite off of that) are some pretty cool tunes.

I've always had a soft spot for this messed-up album, and I've made a new-and-improved version that I like to listen to. I added "Dandelion" and "Child Of The Moon," which sound like they belong with that set. I eliminated the superfluous "Sing This All Together (See What Happens.") Then I used Apple's GarageBand to re-record "Gomper," and fade out that ridiculously long, tuneless ending. After a few more tweaks, like editing out some of the distracting crowd noises and snores, I've got a much better "Satanic Majesties" playlist, one that the Stones should have released. :)

I don't really think along the lines of "which band is better." I like most of what the Beatles did, and a lot of the Rolling Stones' songs.

6 March 2014
4.49pm
Billy Rhythm
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Here's a funny little clip of The Stones playing around with 'I've Just Seen A Face' & 'Eight Days A Week' and appear to be poking a little fun at the "competition":

 

 

Keith Richards did respond to some of John Lennon's comments from the 1970 Rolling Stone Interview about The Stones a couple years later:

 

 

And that would be about the height of any "animosity" between them which was nothing more than John & Keith speaking candidly about how they felt at that particular moment in time when being pressed on the matter by the press...:-)

7 March 2014
4.39am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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@Ahhh Girl 

Thanks for letting me know. Perhaps the link only stays active for a short period of time. I'll try again:

http://www.ralphgardner.com/al.....e-beatles/

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
7 March 2014
4.42am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Billy Rhythm,

That's a great clip! I don't see it as poking fun as much as complimenting the competition. It seems pretty spontaneous, and Jagger does a bit of hamming for the camera.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
7 March 2014
4.05pm
Linde
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Yeah and if you click on one of the related videos, Keith is praising them for their music and personalities. In more than one video btw. I think the ones that were posted were just in the heat of the moment, and the one of them singing wasn't them trying to be mean I think.

Btw, am I the only one who gets super annoyed when trying to understand what Keith Richards is saying? At some points I really can't hear what he's saying.

7 March 2014
4.31pm
Bungalow Bob
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Linde said

Btw, am I the only one who gets super annoyed when trying to understand what Keith Richards is saying? At some points I really can't hear what he's saying.

Linde, Keith Richards, through drugs and sheer neglect, had very bad teeth in those days. That probably accounts for some of his mumbling. I vaguely recall an article in Rolling Stone magazine that talked about Keith finally going to visit the dentist. It was titled "An old dog gets new teeth." :) 

Keith Richards still mumbles these days, but now people tend to say "Well, I didn't understand him, but he sure has pearly white teeth."

7 March 2014
7.29pm
Linde
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I did notice he had horrible teeth.

7 March 2014
10.13pm
Billy Rhythm
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Bungalow Bob said
Keith Richards, through drugs and sheer neglect, had very bad teeth in those days. That probably accounts for some of his mumbling. I vaguely recall an article in Rolling Stone magazine that talked about Keith finally going to visit the dentist. It was titled "An old dog gets new teeth." :) 

John & George knew of a good dentist in London...:-)

Linde said
the one of them singing wasn't them trying to be mean I think.
 

Being "mean" is something different than, as I said, "poking a little fun".  There are better examples of The Stones being "mean", such as the song 'No Expectations' (chalk that as another example of The Stones doing some Blues), where the lyrics are directed towards Brian Jones who at the time was struggling immensely with extreme addiction problems and his days as a member of the group were clearly numbered:

 

Once I was a rich man

But now I am so poor

 

Ouch!  Talk about kicking someone when they're down, not that Brian didn't need a good kick, but yikes!  Both John and Keith's trading of barbs insinuate jealousy of each other's group's legacy, and I could understand John being a little envious of the Stones' Bad Boy image.  John was a "Bad Boy" before Brian Epstein gave him a new image, one that John's disdain for would grow increasingly over the years.  The Beatles couldn't get away with some of The Rolling Stones' shenanigans without heavy repercussions.  Lennon innocently comments on the decline of Christianity in Europe while donating his time to a reporter and it may very well have gotten him killed in the end, while Mick Jagger & Bill Wyman supposedly urinated on a gas pump because the attendant didn't let them use the washroom (restroom for you Americans) and everybody laughs.

 

Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and can be channeled to do much good.  John and Paul are one of the best examples of "healthy competition", instead of allowing each other's triumphs to weigh them down they used them for inspiration to reach new heights, and I think that this is certainly the case for this age old 'The Beatles vs The Rolling Stones' "rivalry", for the most part.  They were family really, and as we all know, family are some of the first to be the recipient of our frustrations in life when things aren't going so well, and life was a little crazy for John during that legendary 'Rolling Stone' Interview in 1970, while things weren't exactly going rosie for Keith in 1973 when he responded to John's rant.  Keith came ever so closely to going down the same dead end street that Brian Jones did before him, and he's probably the best example of music saving someone's life that I can think of...:-)

7 March 2014
10.54pm
Bungalow Bob
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Billy Rhythm said 

Being "mean" is something different than, as I said, "poking a little fun".  There are better examples of The Stones being "mean", such as the song 'No Expectations' (chalk that as another example of The Stones doing some Blues), where the lyrics are directed towards Brian Jones who at the time was struggling immensely with extreme addiction problems and his days as a member of the group were clearly numbered:

Once I was a rich man

But now I am so poor

Ouch!  Talk about kicking someone when they're down, not that Brian didn't need a good kick, but yikes!  

Billy Rhythm, thanks for the insight into the lyrics of "No Expectations." I don't quite know the story of Rolling Stones like I do the Beatles. I always figured that Brian Jones went off the rails around the time of the album "Let it Bleed," where he barely played on any of the songs. I was not aware that he was wasn't fully functioning on "Beggar's Banquet," to the extent that Jagger and Richards were already writing thinly veiled messages to him in the songs. Then I don't suppose they had Brian in mind as the "Salt of The Earth."

That's a good one about John and George recommending their dentist to Keith Richards. :) If Keith had hooked up with him, the lyrics to "Dear Doctor" would have been different.

7 March 2014
11.06pm
Billy Rhythm
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I'm not as familiar with their story either, but this here about sums up Brian Jones' downfall:

 

 

An all too familiar story with so many who overindulge...:-)

29 May 2014
11.55pm
unclegilly
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I will set anyone straight who is suffering under the delusion the rolling stones were in the same league as the BEATLES. I once read that the stones were "always a bridesmaid never a bride " I ioffer, the rolling stones couldn't even  find the church. any ideas ?

Note by Ahhh Girl 31 May 2014: this post was the beginning of a new thread titled "The folly of the BEATLES VS Stones thing." Posts 160-165 were also a part of that thread.

29 May 2014
11.56pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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unclegilly said
I will set anyone straight who is suffering under the delusion the rolling stones were in the same league as the BEATLES. I once read that the stones were "always a bridesmaid never a bride " I ioffer, the rolling stones couldn't even  find the church. any ideas ?

Hey, agreed. Not sure what the rest means, but the Stones definitely weren't even close.

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