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Why Mick Jagger Said Competing With The Beatles Was ‘Impossible’



The Rolling Stones and The Beatles had a competitive rivalry during the 1960s. While many rock fans debate which band has better music, The Beatles are the more successful group. The Beatles were the biggest musical act in the world during the 1960s, and Mick Jagger admitted that competing with the Liverpool band was “impossible.”

The Rolling Stones and The Beatles had a friendly rivalry

Many speculated that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones had a fierce rivalry where they were bitter enemies. While it’s true that the two bands were competitive with each other, the members of each band had friendly relationships. In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger described his band’s relationship with The Beatles. 

“Super, highly competitive – but friendly,” he said. “Because when you’re very young, it’s very hard. Looking back, thinking of all that competition, I hate it. But I suppose it’s all right, because I won out.”

The Beatles actually helped The Rolling Stones achieve more success as Paul McCartney and John Lennon gave them “I Wanna Be Your Man”. This song became the band’s first top-20 hit in the U.K. 

Mick Jagger said it was “impossible” to compete with The Beatles

While The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were part of the British Invasion that swept the U.S., The Beatles had their own movement called Beatlemania. Their music enveloped the world, and millions of fans became obsessed with their hit songs and iconic style. While The Rolling Stones had plenty of hits then, Jagger knew there was no chance of competing with them. 


“The Beatles were so big that it’s hard for people not alive at the time to realize just how big they were. There isn’t a real comparison with anyone now. I suppose Michael Jackson at one point, but it still doesn’t seem quite the same. They were so big that to be competitive with them was impossible. I’m talking about in record sales and tours and all this. They were huge.”

Stadiums were filled with cheering and screaming fans who drowned out the band. It got so bad that even The Beatles got sick of the loud yelling and eventually stopped performing live. They still released music, and their music broke records, but even they couldn’t handle the mania they had created. 

It’s almost impossible for any artist to compete with The Beatles

The Rolling Stones are still one of the most successful rock bands in history, with 8 No. 1 hit songs and 9 No. 1 albums on the Billboard charts. However, Mick Jagger is correct in saying that it’s hard to comprehend just how successful The Beatles were. Few artists create the mania that they did. A few that compare could be Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, or modern artists like Taylor Swift and Rihanna. 

The Beatles still hold the record for the most No. 1 hit songs with 20. Mariah Carey has come the closest to matching them with 19. The Beatles were a revolutionary band, and it’s hard to imagine any rock or pop artist matching or surpassing their success. 

Source: Cheat Sheet


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