In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Paul McCartney divulged his opinion on the ongoing comparisons between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, apprehensively stating, “I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are.” He continued, “I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”
The seemingly shady comment is another match to the fiery, longtime debate of which band is better, though McCartney didn’t seem to mean it as such. While speaking with Howard Stern last year on Sirius XM, McCartney clarified these claims a bit, noting that The Stones “are rooted in the blues. When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. Whereas we had a little more influence.” He then praised the band, calling them a “fantastic group,” but agreed with Stern that The Beatles were the better band.
But McCartney and Mick Jagger, frontman of The Stones, have both expressed admiration for each other’s groups. Jagger responded to McCartney’s Sirius XM comments on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show, saying diplomatically, “He’s a sweetheart. There’s obviously no competition.”
Not only do The Stones and The Beatles have differing ranges of musical influences, but Jagger also argued that The Stones were a “big concert band,” while The Beatles never did an arena tour.
The Beatles’ lack of performing, both before the touring business boomed and due to the group’s lack of desire to perform in their later years, is no more clear than in the forthcoming The Beatles: Get Back, Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary set to air on Disney+ beginning Nov. 25. The series will show footage of The Beatles’ January 1969 recording sessions for Let It Be, as well as their final live performance in London, which took place on the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters. The trailer finds the band members debating whether to perform or not.
McCartney was also interviewed recently for BBC Radio 4, set for broadcast later this month, where he spoke on why The Beatles broke up. “I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny.”
Listen to a 1990 McCartney performance from the Paste archives below, and watch the new trailer for The Beatles: Get Back further down.