Has rock’s greatest rivalry been resurrected? Paul McCartney threw shade at The Rolling Stones, dismissing Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and the rest of the group as a mere cover band.
Before Tupac versus Biggie or Nicki Minaj’s clashes with Cardi B, there was The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones, and this long-storied rivalry got a new chapter thanks to Sir Paul McCartney. While discussing The Beatles’ range of musical language with The New Yorker, Paul, 79, took a shot at The Rolling Stones. “I’m not sure I should say it,” said McCartney, “but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are. I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”
This isn’t the first – nor will it likely be the last – time that Paul will stir up some drama between him and the Stones. “You know you’re going to persuade me to agree with that one. [The Stones] are rooted in the blues,” he told Howard Stern in April 2020, after Howard said that the Beatles were better than the “Satisfaction” singers. “When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences. There’s a lot of differences, and I love the Stones, but I’m with you. The Beatles were better.”
“We started to notice that whatever we did, the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter,” McCartney added (h/t Rolling Stone.) “We went to America and we had huge success. Then the Stones went to America. We did Sgt. Pepper, the Stones did a psychedelic album. There’s a lot of that. We were great friends, still are kind of. We admire each other. … The Stones are a fantastic group. I go see them every time they’re out. They’re a great, great band.”
Mick Jagger brushed off Paul’s comments when he and Keith Richards stopped by Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show a week after McCartney’s comments. Mick laughed when it came up. “That’s so funny,” he said. “He’s a sweetheart. There’s obviously no competition.” However, Mick, 78, did get a dig in at Paul’s former band when discussing the differences between the two groups.
“The Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas, when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system,” he said, per Rolling Stone. “They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real. We started doing stadium gigs in the Seventies and [are] still doing them now. That’s the real big difference between these two bands. One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums, and then the other band doesn’t exist.”
The rivalry between the bands was, for the most part, a playful one, as both groups shrugged off the idea that they were enemies. The “feud,” as documented in John McMillian’s biography, Beatles Vs. Stones, was mostly “part myth, part publicity stunt, part invention of the press, and mostly an extension of their managers’ personalities,” per Salon. However, judging by these comments from Paul and Mick, it seems both bands still get caught up in the “Beatles Vs. Stones” debate, even if it’s in a good-natured way.
Paul was one of the first to mourn the death of Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who passed away at age 80 on Aug. 24. “He was a lovely guy,” Paul said in a video posted to social media. “Lots of love to his family, his wife and kids, and his extended family. Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer. Love you, Charlie, I’ve always loved you. Beautiful man.”
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(With Inputs from hollywoodlife)