The Beatles or the Stones? It’s a debate that music lovers have been having for nearly six decades and the longtime feud was reignited by none other than Paul McCartney, as he dissed the Stones by labeling them a “blues cover band” during an interview with The New Yorker.
“I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are,” McCartney said. “I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”
It’s a delightfully blunt assessment from the former Beatle, who pulled no punches in calling out the band that was widely seen as the rival to the Fab Four. But is it a fair diss? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, there’s no question that the Rolling Stones were highly influenced by the blues, with many of their early songs being blues covers and their name even being a reference to Muddy Waters’ song “Rollin’ Stone.”
But, it’s a little reductive to call one of the most prolific rock bands of all-time a cover band. Still, when you’re a part of the biggest band ever that remains beloved more than 50 years after your breakup, you kind of get to say whatever the hell you want. Speaking of that breakup, McCartney also discussed the legendary dissolution of the Beatles with BBC Radio 4 and said that the catalyst for the split was undoubtedly the his longtime co-writer John Lennon.
“John walked into the room one day and said, ‘I’m leaving the Beatles.’ And he said, ‘It’s quite thrilling. It’s rather like a divorce.’ And then we were left to pick up the pieces,” McCartney explained.
There’s long been speculation about who actually broke up the Beatles and for a while, many believed it was McCartney because he was the first to publicly announce the band was done. But based on Lennon’s well-documented frustration with the band, it makes sense that he was the one that finally pulled the trigger.