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Are You a Stones Person or a Beatles Person?

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This was a defining question for many years. By nature, I’m a Stones person. But I also love the Beatles. And I’m too grown to pick one over the other. They’re both great for very different reasons.


1 TheGreenMan   ~  Dec 2, 2013 9:52 am

Unless, like me, your answer was "The Who, of course". :)

2 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 2, 2013 10:21 am

I'd go with "neither". Both are perfectly fine but neither has ever done anything for me.

If we are sticking to British bands, well then I'm with [1] TheGreenMan and The Who. But I was and remain a Beach Boys guy, first and foremost, though I can't listen to their recent stuff (Brian Wilson's more recent solo stuff I enjoy, though).

3 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2013 11:28 am

The Kinks too. When they came out chicks didn't really dig The Who. They were more for guys. But these are all wonderful bands we're talking about.

4 tommydee2000   ~  Dec 2, 2013 11:30 am

At age 5, their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show is my first real memory. Beatles.

5 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 11:33 am

I've always rejected this question and concept, especially because both bands have so many distinct moods and modes. I mean, are the Beatles only "Good Day Sunshine" and the Stones only "Jumpin' Jack Flash?" What about "Helter Skelter" or "She's A Rainbow?"

But as much as I am a huge nut for both the Stones and Beatles...I'll always be first and foremost a Dylan guy.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2013 11:37 am

5) Agreed. But I think the point is that for kids of a certain generation the question was real, even if it was always silly.

7 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 11:52 am

[6] Oh, it was absolutely a big deal to many kids at the time, I'm sure. It seems like a marketing gimmick more than anything else.

8 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 12:08 pm

That said, though, I would say I have Beatles days and Stones days...but sometimes they overlap.

9 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 2, 2013 12:23 pm

[6] Steven Goldman told me a couple of years ago that the piece he had written that generated the most comments/replies/e-mails was one back in the late 90s/early 2000s (no longer online anywhere) about . . . the Beatles and the Beach Boys.

Given how long he's been writing and some of the topics he has tackled, both in baseball and tangential to it, that really drives your point home, Alex.

10 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Dec 2, 2013 12:24 pm

[7] I was a young teen when this was a big deal. I've gone back and forth; Beatles were my favorites until the Stones got me to listen to American blues. Beatles were certainly the artists (and chicks dug guys who liked them); that's when my father almost threw me out for wearing my hair long, and wearing John Lennon specks. But you gotta give some points to the Stones for still being around, more or less together.

And while the wife still loves Paul, she does go for Beggers' Banquet.

11 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2013 12:40 pm

I was born in the 60s and my first tastes of the Beatles and Stones were my mom's Rubber Soul record and one of the Stones live albums, Got Live If You Want It (if I recall correctly). She also had Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel But I was totally a Beatles kid. Absorbed and adored all of their albums (especially everthing from Rubber Soul onward.) I didn't appreciate the Stones until I was a teenager. Along with the Who, and Kinks. I love all of that stuff. But if I have to choose (which, thank God, I don't) I'm a Beatles guy. The following string of albums is unsurpassed by any band (though the Stones came close): Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's, Yellow Submarine, White Album, Let It Be, Abbey Road. That's a ridiculous level of quality, and innovation over a very short period of time. Take a bow, Beatles.

12 ahrmon   ~  Dec 2, 2013 1:00 pm

I love the Beatles, but can't remember the last time I've actually played an album. "Exile on Main Street", however, gets played, like, once a week around here. So I go with the Stones.

13 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 1:02 pm

[11] Yellow Submarine isn't really much of an album. A few recycled tracks, a few new ones and some non-Beatles instrumental music. The thing about the Beatles is that they also didn't hang around long enough to release any crappy albums (Although a case can be made for Let It Be as less than stellar, despite its highlights.), so pick an album and it's a gem, pretty much.

The run the Stones were on from '68 - '72 was uncanny, too, and definitely altered the shape of rock'n'roll. (Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, with the amazing live Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out thrown in for good measure.)

And of course Dylan's run from '62 - '67, or if you want to focus it, just what he did in '65 and '66, that insane trio of rock'n'roll records (Bringing it All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited & Blonde on Blonde). To put out those three records, one of them a double album, in the space of 18 months or so...crazy.

And [2] - big Beach Boys fan too, but yeah, they stopped making records worth listening to in the 70s, pretty much.

14 MSM35   ~  Dec 2, 2013 1:10 pm

I never liked the early Stones' stuff but "Gimme Shelter" got my attention. Surprisingly I saw it on an army base.

15 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2013 1:44 pm

13) Can you throw in Zeppelin in the mix with a great run? I'm just asking.

16 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2013 1:54 pm

13) yeah, Yellow Submarine was pretty much what you describe, but don't discount the quality of the tunes on there. Also, I forgot to mention Magical Mystery Tour which included:
"I Am the Walrus" "Hello, Goodbye" "Strawberry Fields Forever"
"All You Need Is Love" - a tossed off collection of classics.

15) sure you can, but when you look at the Beatles 65-70 run of 8 albums (9 records) Led Zep's run comes up short. But it was a fucking tidal wave of a run.

and, shit, if you're going to call out Dylan's mid 60s run, you can also look at Van Morrison's 68-74 run, Neil Young's 68-78 run...

18 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:06 pm

[16] All would be time well spent, but for sheer impact, I don't think any of 'em rival the Beatles/Stones/Dylan. (Maybe the Beach Boys)

19 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:10 pm

18) agreed

20 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:10 pm

[15] I wouldn't rate them THAT highly, but of course its still one of the greatest catalogs in rock'n'roll. Same for Neil Young and Van the Man (both of whom I might argue are even greater than Zep...well, for my money, your mileage may vary).

And the point is really how rare what the Beatles/Stones/Dylan did is, and that they were the right guys in the right place at the right time.

21 illchemist   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:31 pm

Beatles, if only for the sheer totality of the palate.
For straight up rock n roll though, Brit style, it's the Stones (68-72) hands down.
For Brit blues, funkier and heavier, I go Zep.

22 thelarmis   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:33 pm

i'm late to this party.

if it's strictly Beatles/Stones - i'm Beatles, hands down. Stones are cool, but just not really for me. i do like a goodly amount of it, but it doesn't do much for me. i own every Beatles album and zero Stones.

i teach some Stones tunes and enjoy it, for the most part. i remember a big Charlie Watts thing here the other year. I stayed away from it, 'coz my thoughts & feelings were so completely opposite (kinda like the recent Lou Reed thing)...

i've always dug The Who. especially, as a drummer! : )

i, too, was gonna bring up Led Zep! for me, personally, they're bigger/better/whatever term you wanna use, than Beatles/Stones/Who. Bonham!!!

i met Robert Plant 2 summers ago. We were playing on the same festival and he was very cool to me.

Bob Dylan trumps them all and his impact on me has been beyond strong and everlasting.

23 RIYank   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:35 pm


The Stones were a little scary. Too sexual for me at that age, I think. "Norwegian Wood" was about as racy as I could stand.

24 knuckles   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:35 pm

Led Zep > The Who > The Beatles > The Stones

I spent 13 hours in the car with my iPod on Saturday and spent a good portion of it listening to these (and others) and racking and stacking in my head.

As far as albums go, though, that's a whole 'nother story.

25 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Dec 2, 2013 2:50 pm

Glad somebody beside me remembered to inclue Youbng. Among all thjose mentioned, he's the only one turning out new music that is worth listening to.

OTOH, Blew out my first stereo speakers with Led Zep; Who's Next is in my top 5 all time LPs

26 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2013 3:13 pm

I admire the Beach Boys more than I enjoy them especially their masterpiece PET SOUNDS which is so melancholy that I can't bear to listen to it. That record is just too painful. And I don't have any personal memories with it, necessarily. It just feels beautiful and painful.

27 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 2, 2013 3:58 pm

[26] Wholeheartedly agree. I also love the down-tempo jazz version of God Only Knows by Karsten Vogel and Niels Thybo... I'd post it, but I can't find it anywhere, you'd have to download it to hear it :(

For the record, I lean towards Beatles, though I certainly appreciate the strong contributions from the Stones and others mentioned. Speaking of Dylan, I watched Pat Garritt and Billy The Kid not long ago; rather underrated in my opinion.

28 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2013 4:08 pm

I'm a Stones guy first, then the Beatles, followed by Zep, The Kinks and lastly the Who. David Bowie was my guy as a teenager, the one I knew the most about. First concert I ever saw was the Kinks at Roseland on the Come Dancing Tour.

29 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 4:15 pm

...and its worth mentioning that while the original band was only together for about 3-4 years, The Byrds have had just about as much impact on the popular music that followed them as any of their 60s peers.

[26] That's why I love it! That said, let's not discount the Beach Boys as singles artists, either - they kept pushing the boundaries of what could be done, sonically and musically. I mean, "I Get Around" is just a perfect 45, and "Don't Worry, Baby" is one of my favorite songs ever. And...of course, the (then) most expensive single ever made - "Good Vibrations," a tune that helped show that pop can be art and still be fun.

30 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 2, 2013 4:18 pm

[25] I think Dylan and McCartney have both made a bunch of good records over the last decade, actually and let's be honest, Neil has made some forgettable ones (Fork in the Road and Are You Passionate are not burning up the stereo, for instance), but Neil remains a force to be reckoned with. That last Crazy Horse tour was incredible, and the highlight for me was a new song - Ramada Inn.

31 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2013 4:46 pm

29) Send me a bunch of essential records by the Byrds--famous or lesser known and I'll hook them up on The Beat of the Day!

32 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2013 7:07 pm

31) some of my favorite Byrds tunes were written by the mercurial Gene Clark. "Eight Miles High" (an essential), "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" (another must), "The World Turns All Around Her" "Here Without You."

A few years back I came across Gene Clark's post-Byrds album "No Other" on a list of "best albums from the 70s you never heard of," (or somesuch list) and it is an amazing record top to bottom. Absolutely essential for fans of classic 70s American (specifically Californian) rock. Beyond groovy, man. Yes, I said groovy, man. This shit will blow your mind.

33 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2013 7:12 pm

of course the Byrds with those harmonies are bigger than any single member, but Gene Clark could hold his own with the bigger name stars on the roster.

34 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2013 7:18 pm

in the photo, who's the third wheel sitting with Paul and Mick?

35 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 3, 2013 3:00 am

[32] Huge Gene Clark fan! If you dig "No Other," definitely check out "White Light," "Roadmaster" and the two Dillard & Clark albums, too.

36 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 3, 2013 9:31 am

35) I have the first two which are excellent, but not the Dillard & Clark albums. I also have a live album of his from '75. It's an accoustic trio set at a tiny club in Colorado. Interesting to hear the very stripped down versions of No Other tunes, plus a few Byrds numbers.

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