In an chat with Howard Stern earlier this month, Paul McCartney talked about the legacies of both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones — or more specifically, why The Fab Four “were better”. Now, Mick Jagger has joined the debate and responded to Macca, proudly boasting that the Stones were a “big concert” and “arena” band in a way that The Beatles never were.
In McCartney’s initial conversation with Stern, he argued that The Beatles were more eclectic musically and versatile vocally compared to The Stones. “When they’re writing stuff, it’s to do with the blues. We had a little more influences,” said the 77-year-old Beatle.
He also suggested that The Beatles were trailblazers while The Stones simply followed them. “We started to notice that, whatever we did, The Stones did it shortly thereafter.” Still, McCartney made sure to emphasize that he thought Jagger & co. were a “fantastic group. I go see them every time they come out ’cause they’re just a great, great band.”
Jagger, too, tried to keep things light in his interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “That’s so funny, he’s a sweetheart,” the frontman said in response to McCartney’s comments (via NME). “There’s obviously no competition.” Nevertheless, Jagger clearly had his own opinions on the whole Beatles vs. Stones discourse, noting a major difference between the two acts.
Whereas The Stones have gone on to play major global tours — even to this day — The Beatles are long gone. “The big difference, though, is and sort of slightly seriously, is that 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,” explained Jagger. “They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.”
The 76-year-old frontman added,
“So that business started in 1969 and the Beatles never experienced that. They did a great gig, and I was there, at Shea stadium. They did that stadium gig. But the Stones went on, we started doing stadium gigs in the ’70s 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.”
He’s not wrong about The Stones still being around and thriving. In fact, just yesterday they released the excellent single “Living in a Ghost Town”, which they’ll undoubtedly play live once they return to the road post-pandemic. Additionally, in the same chat with Zane Lowe, the group’s Keith Richards said they already had “5 or 6 tracks” in the works for their new album.
Even though The Beatles aren’t around physically anymore, their spirit is still alive and well, carried on by surviving members Macca and Ringo Starr, who frequently stage their own arena tours. This weekend there’s even a global sing-along of Yellow Submarine happening on YouTube.
Check out Jagger’s Apple Music interview below, followed by The Stones’ latest song.