Sir Mick Jagger is the frontman of The Rolling Stones, and has been pretty outspoken in his life about his feelings about other bands. One of those bands is The Beatles, whose members have been equally outspoken, particularly Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon. There seems to be a rivalry between them – but what actually happened between them?
Back in the 1970s, Lennon did not mince his words about his feelings about The Rolling Stones.
In an interview with magazine Rolling Stone, he said: “I think it’s a lot of hype. I like Honky Tonk Woman but I think Mick’s a joke.
“I’ll probably go and see his films and all, like everybody else, but really, I think [Mick] is a joke.”
He also complained about the assertion The Rolling Stones were more revolutionary than The Beatles, saying in 1971: “I was always very respectful about Mick and the Stones, but he said a lot of sort of tarty things about The Beatles.
“I resent the implication that the Stones are like revolutionaries and that The Beatles weren’t. They are not in the same class, music-wise or power-wise, and never were.”
He continued: “I would like to just list what we did and what the Stones did two months after on every f’ album. Every f’ thing we did, Mick does exactly the same – he imitates us.
“I resent the implication that the Stones are like revolutionaries and that The Beatles weren’t.
“If the Stones were or are, The Beatles really were too. But they are not in the same class, music-wise or power-wise, never were.
“I never said anything, I always admired them, because I like their funky music and I like their style.
“I like rock and roll and the direction they took after they got over trying to imitate us, you know, but he’s even going to do Apple now. He’s going to do the same thing.
“He’s obviously so upset by how big The Beatles are compared with him; he never got over it. Now he’s in his old age, and he is beginning to knock us, you know, and he keeps knocking. I resent it.”
It seems pretty harsh, but clearly, Lennon was not a fan of Sir Mick and was happy to speak out about the singer and his band.
However, Sir Mick was much the same and did not hold back speaking about The Beatles.
In an interview with Q magazine in 1987, Sir Mick said: “It’s ridiculous. No-one should care if The Rolling Stones have broken up, should they?
“I mean, when The Beatles broke up I couldn’t give a s***. Thought it was a very good idea.”
Despite this, Sir Mick also paid tribute to Lennon after his death, telling The Scotsman in 2005: “I liked John a lot. He was the one I really got on with the most. We weren’t buddy-buddies but we were always friendly.
But after The Beatles and the Stones stopped playing clubs we didn’t see each other that much until he separated from Yoko, around 1974.
“We got really friendly again. And when he went back with Yoko, he went into hibernation. When I went to visit someone in Dakota, I’d leave him a note.
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“I’d say I live next door, I know you don’t want to see anyone, but if you do, please call. He never did.”
Years after Lennon’s scathing comments, however, Sir Mick inducted The Beatles into the Hall of Fame, showing how their friendship may have gone past the rivalry.
He said: “We went through some pretty strange times.
“We had a sort of… a lot of rivalry in those early years, and a little bit of friction but we always ended up friends.
“And I like to think we still are, ‘cause they were some of the greatest times of our lives…”
More recently Sir Paul took to the airwaves to speak about this rivalry, joking how The Beatles were better, and once again claiming there could have been some copying going on.
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He told Howard Stern: “[The Stones] are rooted in the blues. 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.
“We went to America and had huge success and then The Stones went to America. We did Sergeant Pepper and The Stones did a psychedelic album. There was a lot of that.”
He did, however, say this was “kind of cool” and speak of his admiration for the band.
Responding to this, Sir Mick told Zane Lowe the true differences between the two bands.
He said: “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.
“They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.
“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.”
While there seems to be admiration between the members, clearly there are still some rivalries after decades of competition.
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