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4.0 out of 5 stars Beatles vs. Stones, 7 Dec 2013
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beatles vs. Stones (Hardcover)
This book looks at how, in the Sixties, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were pitted against each other as rivals by the press, fans and, despite claims by both sides that they were not in competition, sometimes by the bands themselves. In the early Sixties, the Rolling Stones were portrayed as the Beatles polar opposites - the Beatles wanted to hold your hand, the Rolling Stones wanted to burn down your town, went the old quote. The Rolling Stones were rebels, the Beatles lovable mop tops; the Rolling Stones aggressive louts that no respectable father would want his daughter to date, the Beatles beloved by parents as well as their children. Yet, how true were these press and publicity exaggerations and what did they mean to the bands themselves?

When considering which bands were thuggish, the author concedes that, in pre-fame days, it was hard to beat Lennon. Constantly in trouble at school, known as a local juvenile delinquent, even Paul McCartney's father would warn, "he'll get you in trouble son." Interestingly, the author also notes that the Stones came from more stable and prosperous homes; their background much more middle-class than the Beatles and their prospects, had success not arrived, better than that of the Liverpool group which had virtually abandoned their education to play in a band (for example, McCartney failed to sit his Art A Level, as he was in Scotland backing Johnny Gentle at the time).

It is interesting to read that, from when they first met, the two bands became firm friends. A witness states that when the Rolling Stones took the Beatles to their filthy flat, rather than being shocked, Paul McCartney's face said that the accommodation was something he was all too familiar with (as he spent his first Hamburg trip in an unheated, unlit room next to a toilet, that was undoubtedly true). Still, rather than attempting to maintain the top spot, to their credit George Harrison told Dick Rowe of Decca (the man who infamously, "turned down the Beatles") to sign the Stones. Rowe would not make such a mistake again and duly gave them a recording contract. John and Paul also gave them a song, when they were desperate for a follow up to their first single, and encouraged Mick and Keith in their song writing. Song writing also features in the Stones shifting balance of power, as Brian Jones seemed unable to successfully come up with songs and his attempts were derided by the band.

Although the Beatles always outsold the Stones by a huge margin, the Beatles would often resent the Stones more anti-establishment persona. This book follows them through the Sixties - touring, drugs busts and music. Andrew Loog Oldham states that John and Paul saved the Stones own attempted Sixties anthem, "We Love You" when attending one of the desultory recording sessions and gave the Stones, "another major lesson from the guv'nors as to what this recording thing was all about." So, did the Stones emulate the Beatles? Did they, as Lennon ranted in his infamous Rolling Stones interview with Jann Wenner, imitate the Beatles, despite not being, "in the same class"? In some ways, it seems the Stones were overshadowed during the Sixties, and were perhaps more aware, or bothered by, the comparisons than the Beatles were.

This interesting read follows both groups through the Sixties to the Beatles break up and looks at the parallels in their careers. It also comments on the undeniable fact that the Beatles have enhanced their legacy by not reforming. If the Stones had broken up, it is possible that they would also be treated with more reverence. Undoubtedly, both bands helped each other during the Sixties in many ways and their music has stood the test of time. However, although they certainly did not dislike each other, and cannily arranged record releases not to clash, so reducing the competition between them to both bands advantage, there is certainly a perception that they were somehow pitted against each other. In the mid Sixties you had to be either a fan of the Beatles or the Stones and you were defined by your choice. Whichever is your favourite band, you can rest assured that their music will last forever and that it is now perfectly acceptable to like both.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groups, whose names change the world, 6 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Beatles vs. Stones (Hardcover)
Beatles vs. Stone – these two groups change our music in the 60’s.

The book tells the story about Beatles and Stones – about their god relationship and their competitiveness.

Did Beatles and Stones have a political issue? Off course!

Bay and read the book.
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Beatles vs. Stones
Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian (Paperback - 11 Nov 2014)
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