Beatles Or Stones?

Beatles Or Stones?

The time has come to settle (“settle”) one of the oldest debates in popular music history: The Rolling Stones vs. the Beatles.

There is context for this. Broadly, many music fans sheltering in place under COVID quarantine have been entertaining themselves by pitting the classics against each other. Perhaps you’ve seen the prompts going around Twitter listing nine albums from the same genre and instructing you to choose only three of them. Maybe, if you follow @chrisdeville, you’ve noticed me arguing about Wilco on the same godforsaken platform. We’re all stuck at home going crazy; what else are we gonna do besides banter about music we love?

Some interviewers have recently taken this parlour game (shout out to Conor Oberst) directly to the source. It started last week when Howard Stern goaded Paul McCartney with the leading question, “The Beatles are better than the Rolling Stones, am I correct?” After pointing out his group’s more diverse influences and more versatile lineup, Macca concurred, “They’re a great, great band, but I’m with you — the Beatles were better.”

When given the opportunity to speak with Mick Jagger this week, Zane Lowe did the only logical thing: He asked the Stones frontman to respond to McCartney’s declaration of supremacy. “There’s obviously no competition,” Jagger replied — a perfectly vague response that could be interpreted several ways — before explaining that it’s hard to compare his band, which has been on the road for over five decades, with a group that broke up before the arena and stadium touring industry even got off the ground. These are facts, but you can also read them as playful shade if you want!

There are compelling cases to be made for both sides, but it’s time to drop the equivocation and decide once and for all (“once and for all”) which British Invasion titan is superior. You can only keep one. So, who you got: Beatles or Stones?


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