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Paul Cartney Takes Huge Swipe At The Rolling Stones

There was a time when music fans could be placed into two categories: Beatles fans or Rolling Stones fans. The two UK groups are probably the most influential in all of the music. But that doesn’t mean they’re fans of each other. Recently Paul McCartney [1] was asked about the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles frontman had this to say [2]

“I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are,” McCartney, 79, said. “I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”

McCartney goes on to state that while the Stones rooted their songwriting in the blues tradition, The Beatles took on more influences. While The Stones have mostly kept their sound for their 60+ year run, the Beatles experimented heavily with blues, soul, jazz, and pop. 

McCartney is doing interviews for his new book “The Lyrics [5]” which will detail the story behind the songs of Sir Paul’s decades-spanning career with the Beatles, Wings, and as a successful solo artist.

Are The Rolling Stones a “Blues Cover Band” 

The Stones’ blues roots are indisputable, as Paul McCartney stated. However, the Stones freely admit [6] that American blues icons such as Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker inspired them. Keith Richards said all the Stone members were “maniacs [7]” for the sound: 

Mick was as much of a maniac. Brian as well, an absolute maniac. Charlie was more broad-based – that is, more jazz – but very much in this. We turned Charlie Watts on to Jimmy Reed, which, for a drummer, on the surface of it is the most boring job in the world. 

And while many of their early demos and records included a lot of blues covers, the band formulated a sound entirely of their own.

Keith and Ron’s playing is clearly influenced by Chicago and Delta Blues, but Mick’s singing takes on a life of its own.

The backing sound was bluesy but what Jagger did on stage and with his voice transcended genres. A prime example of this is “Miss You” which certainly drips with blues but with a disco underlining:

So yes, the Stones certainly began as a Blues and Roots-centered band and they evolved while maintaining their signature sound.

Of course, they didn’t evolve their sound as much as the Beatles. Few if any major bands have.

I can think of a handful that evolved as much over their careers as The Beatles. Perhaps Radiohead’s move from guitar-heavy rock to sad electronica? 

Regardless, I don’t feel the need to make such a choice between the two bands. I don’t disagree with Paul McCartney but I like both bands at different times.

Early Beatles are great for a mood boost and the Stones are a great band to have a beer or two with. 

Are you a Beatles fan or a Stones fan? Does the distinction even matter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.