Paul McCartney tells Howard Stern why he thinks The Beatles were better than the Rolling Stones

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The Stones were a great rock-n-roll band (maybe even the greatest), but Lennon & McCartney (and Harrison too) were songwriters on par with Rogers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, or Billy Strayhorn. They started out as a rock-n-roll band that were ripping enough to impress a teenage Lemmy Kilmister, but they ended up somewhere very different than the Stones.


The Beatles better than the Rolling Stones? Geez, you might as well say Disneyland is better than a Ringling Bros Circus, or A5 Wagyu steak is better than a Sizzler sirloin. Crazy talk.


The Stones would not crack my top twenty rock list.

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That interview does not improve my opinion of McCartney.

I honestly do not think the Beatles would have done so well if they had started in the last 10 or 20 years. They were the beneficiaries of excellent timing, as much as anything.

Yes, I know this is a minority opinion!


Rolling Stones are great and i respect what they accomplished and where they pulled their influences from but Paul McCartney does have a point that The Beatles did have a wider range. Ultimately a band’s influence speaks for itself and we all know which of the two wins out in the end.


In matters of art, “better” is purely subjective. Of course Macca is going to say his band was tops. I’m fairly sure that the majority of this BBS is onboard with that concept.

That being said, I prefer the Beatles, but the Stones certainly did some killer tunes. “Street Fighting Man” is raw af.


I think Jagger himself has admitted that Sgt Peppers was a call to arms for the Stones.

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I’d take the Stones over the Beatles, but for me neither of them can hold a candle to Pink Floyd’s music. Shine on you crazy diamonds.


I don’t leave the room when the Stones come on.


As a follow-up, I’d like Stern to ask Keith Richards how he feels about Wings.


The name Rolling Stones is a tribute to Muddy Waters (as is the magazine and the Dylan song by the same name). The Stones started out as just blues covers and didn’t have the musical diversity of the Beatles. But this is basically just McCartney saying that he thinks bands should be judged on their diversity, which we already knew. That said, the Beatles’ diversity was not due to McCartney. Lennon dragged him to their more out there tracks

Un-popular opinion:

The Beatles were a fine band, but not heads and shoulders above the Beach Boys or the Rolling Stones. Each one of them catered to a different market. If they would have continued making music, they would be at roughly the same level of esteem as the Rolling Stones today; or where the Beach Boys would have been had Brian Wilson not had his mental issues.

The Beetle’s image has been carefully maintained and curated by Apple music (the other one) to maintain the mystique. Sadly, John Lennon was the Kirk Cobain or the Bradley Nowell of his generation; his death is what really cemented the Beetle’s fame for ever. Yoko’s careful public curation (as opposed to Courtney Love’s shameless self promotion) and Apple’s ensuring that the remaining members of the band were not able to reunite as the Beetles (With Rome?) fueled that mystique even more.


John Lennon lived and recorded for a full decade after the Beatles broke up

Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix all died at 27 like Cobain suddenly ending promising careers, but Lennon died at 40 long after the Beatles’ split


I missed the part where the Beatles made a country album.

Also, maybe a band isn’t responsible for what they spawn, but Beatles imitators were/are a lot more insufferable than Stones imitators.


Its easier to copy the Stones - that’s an argument for (rather than against) the Beatles superiority. No small part of that is due to George Martin. He helped particularly with adding diversity.

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I enjoyed the movie “Yesterday”, yet it stuck in my craw that they just assume people would recognize those as great songs, which I’m sure was instrumental in getting Apple music to allow the use of the songs. In a different script where their songs are received with a big thud 40 years later, I’m sure Apple would not have allowed it.


Even without Lennon’s death in the picture, the Beatles had the advantage of quitting much sooner. The Stones just kept going on into eras where, however good they were or weren’t (no point in debating that here), they just weren’t part of the zeitgeist anymore.


Uh, have the Stones made an album dedicated to country music, as opposed to individual songs?