Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney Are Still Beefing Over Rolling Stones vs. Beatles Debate

“One band is, unbelievably luckily, still playing in stadiums, and then the other band doesn’t exist.”

Mick Jagger has responded to Paul McCartney’s assertion in a recent interview with Howard Stern that the Beatles are, in fact, “better” than the Rolling Stones.

In a follow-up interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Jagger waded into the ancient debate over which legendary band reigns supreme. 

Jagger first called McCartney a “sweetheart,” and said that while “there’s there’s obviously no competition” between the bands, Jagger was definitive in his belief that the Stones’ incredible longevity has handily won the ancient Beatles vs. Stones debate.

“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, or Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system,” Jagger said. “They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.”

Jagger, sometime in the 1980s. 

McCartney reignited the dinosaur rock rivalry during a recent interview with Howard Stern, during which he predictably picked his band when asked whether the Beatles or the Stones were better, after much goading from Stern. 

“They are rooted in the blues. When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues,” McCartney said. “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.”

But Jagger insisted that the Stones’ legacy as an arena-rocking supergroup for more than fifty years made them the clear winners. 

“That business started in 1969, and the Beatles never experienced that,” he told Apple Music. “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.”

Exile on Main Street or Abbey Road? This could literally go on forever.

Meanwhile, the Stones’ new single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” hit No. 1 on iTunes last week in more than 20 countries as the mid-tempo rocker became something of an anthem for our lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jagger told Apple Music that the song was actually written last year, before lockdown measures were implemented during the pandemic, but that he adjusted some lyrics before the hit single’s release.

“Keith Richards and I both had the idea that we should release it,” Jagger said. “But I said, ‘Well, I’ve got to rewrite it.’ Some of it is not going to work, and some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark.”

For more McCartney rock beefs, revisit his feud with Phil Collins from 2016.