The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are the faces of Rock n’ Roll. With their original rivalry, this 60s pioneer had things of their own. Both are listed as the most influential British Rock band. Often compared with each other, both have had a constant assessment of each other.
There is documentation of so many such moments between the two bands. And a very intriguing one is between Mick Jagger and John Lennon. With larger effects on the charts, both bands were in the prime of their rivalry. While the bands were not really enemies, the heat between Mick and John was real.
While talking about the Rolling Stones, Lennon elaborated his comment on how he thinks Mick is a joke. This was back in 1970 in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. He said, “I think it’s a lot of hype. I like ‘Honky Tonk Woman,’ but I think Mick’s a joke, with all that fag dancing. I always did. I enjoy it, I’ll probably go and see his films and all, like everybody else, but really, I think it’s a joke.”
This may have been harsh, but back in the day, Lennon was in a short-lived supergroup. There was also Keith Richards and they were called Dirty Mac. Still then, Lennon was not really good with Jagger. Richards on the other hand speaks admiringly about Lennon. He has agreed with Lennon’s criticism too, about The Stones copying Sgt Pepper’s Satanic Majesties which will come down below.
Back to Lennon’s ‘Joke’ statement. The hostility in that comment was very much seen. It was not really necessary. He even added, “We saw a bit of each other around when Allen was first coming in – I think Mick got jealous, I was always very respectful about Mick and the Stones, but he said a lot of sort of tarty things about The Beatles, which I am hurt by, because you know, I can knock the Beatles, but don’t let Mick Jagger knock them.”
Things went out with it. Mick and Lennon were involved in a war of words. Lennon kept on ranting, “I would like to just list what we did and what the Stones did two months after on every fuckin’ album. Every fuckin’ thing we did, Mick does exactly the same – he imitates us.”
“And I would like one of you fuckin’ underground people to point it out, you know Satanic Majesties is Pepper, ‘We Love You’, it’s the most fuckin’ bullshit, that’s ‘All You Need Is Love’. I resent the implication that the Stones are like revolutionaries and that the Beatles weren’t. If the Stones were or are, the Beatles really were too.”
In the end he said, “He’s obviously so upset by how big the Beatles are compared with him; he never got over it. Now he’s in his old age, and he is beginning to knock us, you know, and he keeps knocking. I resent it, because even his second fuckin’ record we wrote it for him. Mick said ‘Peace made money’. We didn’t make any money from Peace. You know.”
The answer to all this was given when The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. There the leader of The Stones said, “We had a lot of rivalry in those early years, and a little bit of friction, but we always ended up friends. I like to think we still are, ’cause they were some of the greatest times of our lives, and I’m really proud to be the one that leads them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”