With the 50th Anniversary of the Rolling Stones, Cameron takes a look at five reasons, whether valid or not, why the Rolling Stones are just better than the Beatles, at well, just about everything.
50-years of anything is a long time, whether it be marriage or working somewhere, it is a milestone that is to be celebrated with the highest of praise. In the world of music, 50-years of being a band, who has survived the ups-and-downs of drug abuse and the ever-constantly evolving music scene is damn near impossible.
The Rolling Stones burst onto the American music scene with their first international hit, “I Can’t Get no Satisfaction in 1965, one year after all the Beatlemaina that was sweeping the States. In June of 1964, the Stones went on an American tour that fell flat on it’s face – mainly due to poor management and an embarrassing spot on “The Dean Martin Show” – The Stones looked to be more of a novelty then a musical powerhouse like the Beatles. Since the beginning, the Stones have always played second fiddle to their counterparts, and even today the public has adorned the Beatles as the quintessential rock band; the Alpha and Omega of Rock n’ Roll if you will. So, On this, the day of the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary let us take a look at five reasons, some musically related, and some not, why the Stones are just, better, than the Beatles.
5. Blues Vs. Rock n’ Roll: Blues always wins
In all reality this is totally a personal preference. I love the Blues way more than Rock, I also love Hip-Hop way more than Rock or Pop either, Now the Stones may not be Hip-Hop, but they surely are Blues, or at least more Blues influenced. When they started in small clubs in England, they mainly played covers of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, but as time passed they came into their own sound in the late ’60s with “Between the Buttons”(1967), “Beggars Banquet”(1968) and “Let it Bleed”(1969, a year prior too The Beatles Let It Be). With Beggars Banquet came the song “Sympathy for the Devil” which to date, I personally feel, beats out any Beatles song ever. And for that matter, really any song ever. ‘Symapthy” is a song through the eyes of the Devil, detailing all the tragedies he has had supposed involvement with, such as the Holocaust and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The song “Street Fighting Man” also comes of ‘Banquet’, this track is much about the race riots that engulfed the United States in the late ’60s. As much as The Beatles were apart of trying to change the world, songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Yellow Submarine”( A Ringo Starr song, appearing on the album Revolver, prior to being packaged with the album “Yellow Submarine”) in no way capture the essence of the times like ‘Sympathy’ and ‘SFM’ do.
4. The Stones are crazy ugly now, and kind of then
Look at those guys up there, ya, they’re rock gods. Old, saggy, and possibly stoned (just look at Keith Richards in that picture, dude has no idea where he is) rock gods. The Rolling Stones have not aged well, and no plastic surgery seems to be able to help the droopy messes these men are nowadays. There faces are ugly, but their music is flawless. Now, as we all know the Beatles sparked Beatlemania, A near riot of women who were, daily, swooning over the idea of ever meeting or being able to even touch one of the Beatles. Ringo Starr is literally the odd man out hear, because he is so unbearable ugly that he just beats out every member of each band for who is the down right ugliest.
Here’s a picture of the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania.
Look at them, they’re goddamn adorable. Except Ringo(far right) he looks like a human size turd.
Now let”s look at the Stones circa 1963.
It honestly doesn’t matter how you dress them, they still frigging ugly. I have no idea how Mick Jagger became a heart-throb in the ’60s and ’70s but it happened. Thank god that the whole Keith Richards look didn’t catch on. He’s in the middle, the one with his mouth open, yet again, looking like he’s crazy high.
Now it’s time for the front man face off, as you can see in the two pictures above, we know what they looked like then. Now let’s compare Jagger and McCartney now.
Look at that asshole. Gripping a guitar like he’s still 21 and some struggling poet. Fuck this guy
Drugs and Alcohol have ruined my face.
3. Only the worst members of the Beatles are still alive
In 1969, Brian Jones, a founding member of the Rolling Stones drowned to death at his home in East Sussex. This was their only founding member that has died for the Rolling Stones, and prior to his death, the Stones had kicked him out of the band for being more extreme than Keith Richards (basically due to his debilitating drug habit his role with the band fell apart and he was subsequently kicked out). With the Beatles, the two members, I personally accredit most of their talent too, are gone, John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman in 1980. In 2001 the last bit of awesomeness the Beatles had to offer, George Harrison, passed away from Lung Cancer. Obviously, at this point, you’ve figured out that this entire column is based on opinion and some fact. But in all seriousness, Lennon wrote “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Help”, literally two and three on my two favorite Beatles songs of all-time list, number one is the Harrison, and Eric Clapton, penned, “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”. Lennon and Harrison were the whole reason that the Beatles ever got out of the whole bullshit love songs that they adhered to in their early career. And they’re dead now. Now we can just hope this happens someday.
2. Mick Jagger could totally take Paul McCartney in a fight
Not much has to be said here. You can just look at the picture above and just see how much more bad ass Jagger is than McCartney. Yes McCartney has more of a commercial appeal when it comes to songwriting, so I guess you could say he’s a better writer. But that’s only based on commercial success. Which is one of the better measures in music of who was greater. That’s beside the point. Look at that picture. Jagger’s eyes just say, “I could uppercut that stupid little tea cup into your nose and out the back of your head,” and all McCartney is thinking is probably “Please don’t uppercut this tea cup in my nose and out the back of my head, please.” Although they are both very scrawny men, I personally believe that Jagger could take McCartney, and if not he’d just have Hell’s Angels put a stop to him breathing real quick. Just like they did at Altamont.
1. Keith Richards
The man, the myth, the legend. Before there was “Captain Jack Sparrow”, before there was the Cock-rock excess of the ’80s Hair Metal scene, before it was cool to do drugs and play instruments, before pretty much anything cool, there was Keith Richards. He’s the man that told Jagger to make ‘Sympathy’ sound more like a Samba/Blues combination, creating the greatest song of all-time. He’s been arrested on drug charges five times(1967, twice in 1973, 1977, and 1978; he saw jail time in ’67). He fell out of a tree at the age of 63 and had to have cranial surgery and is still rocking. He smokes like a chimney, supposedly is off drugs and has been for the better part of 20-years, but drinks like prohibition never ended. He was the influence for Johnny Depp’s performance as a drunken Pirate Captain named Jack Sparrow, not even the influence for a movie about his life but for a drunken Pirate Captain. He plays all his songs with five-strings; why? Because fuck the high-E string, that string is for punk-bitches. To compare it to something like sports, in the ’90s the Bulls had Jordan, yeah there were other great teams, like the Seattle Supersonics, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks back then, but since the Bulls had Jordan, no one could beat them. That’s what Keith Richards is for the Rolling Stones, their Most Valuable Player. If there was no Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones, there essentially would be no Rolling Stones. Much like how if there was no Lennon or Harrison, the Beatles would’ve never stopped with Bullshit like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy me Love”. Long live Keith Richards.
So there you have it, albeit, not the most legitimate reasons that the Stones are better, but they at the very least they make sense. I understand the cultural impact that the Beatles had on the United States, and how important they are to music as a whole, I truly enjoy the Beatles post ’66. On the Other hand it should be recognized , that the Stones kept their shit together for fifty years and never really changed doing it, they never needed a Sabbatical to re-find their sound or energy, they never broke up because of someone having an over-obsessive and controlling lover, and when it came time to kick a member out for screwing up to much, they handled their shit. The Stones have had the lasting power much like Jay-Z and to some sense Nas have had in Hip-Hop. I personally believe Jay and Nas can claim to be the greatest Emcees ever because of their staying power and the factor that out of the ones you hear of “who is the greatest Emcee?” Like Notorious B.I.G, Tupac, and so on and so forth, those two are still alive and still pumping out quality records. They haven’t been relegated to unearthed material and “Best ofs” like the aforementioned dead and retired Emcees. The Stones have that same right, they outlasted Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, Nirvana, every Hair Metal Band, and Disco. That to me is staying power, the factor that they’re still pumping out new songs, while people look back at others’ songs in order to remember their legacy. With the Stones their legacy is still going, the others have been written.