ByANDY GREENE RollingStone.com
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards went on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show this week to promote the new Rolling Stones single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” which also gave them an opportunity to respond to Paul McCartney’s recent claim that the Beatles were a better band than the Stones.
“[The Stones] are rooted in the blues,” McCartney recently told Howard Stern. “When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. 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.”
This is part of a friendly rivalry that goes back nearly 60 years, and Jagger laughed when it came up. “That’s so funny,” he said. “He’s a sweetheart. There’s obviously no competition.”
But he did elaborate on what he saw as the big difference between the two bands. “The Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas, when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system,” he said. “They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.”
“We started doing stadium gigs in the Seventies and [are] still doing them now,” he continued. “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.
He didn’t address McCartney’s claim that the Stones copied Sgt. Pepper when they released Their Satanic Majesties Request. “We started to notice that whatever we did, the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter,” McCartney said. “We went to America and we had huge success. Then the Stones went to America. We did Sgt. Pepper, the Stones did a psychedelic album. There’s a lot of that.”
The Stones were supposed to launch another North American leg of their No Filter Tour this summer, but they’ve had to indefinitely postpone the dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They did perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the recent One World: Together At Home broadcast. And their new single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” is their first original song since 2012.