Beatles Vs. Stones

Beatles Vs. Stones

Book - 2013
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Boasting the intellectual rigor of a historian and the passion of a diehard fan--a groundbreaking narrative account of the biggest and most misconstrued rivalry in the annals of rock and roll.

With the sophistication of a historian, the storytelling skills of a journalist, and the passion of a fan, John McMillian explores the multifaceted relationship between the two greatest bands of our time.

In the 1960s the two biggest bands in the world--the lovable Beatles and the bad-boy Rolling Stones--waged an epic battle. "The Beatles want to hold your hand," wrote Tom Wolfe, "but the Stones want to burn down your town." Both groups liked to maintain that they weren't really "rivals"--that was just a media myth, they politely said--but on both sides of the Atlantic, they plainly competed for commercial success and aesthetic credibility. In Beatles vs. Stones , John McMillian gets to the truth behind the ultimate rock 'n' roll debate.

McMillian reveals how music managers helped to construct the Beatles-Stones rivalry as they set out to engineer moneymaking empires. He explores how the Beatles were marketed as cute and amiable, when in fact they came from hardscrabble backgrounds in Liverpool. By contrast, the Stones were cast as an edgy, dangerous group, even though they mostly hailed from the London suburbs. Although the Beatles always sold more records than the Stones, the Stones seemed to win greater credibility with the "right" types of fans: discerning bohemians, as opposed to hysterical teenyboppers. Later, the Beatles embraced Flower Power, while the Stones briefly aligned themselves with New Left militance. Ever since, writers and historians have associated the Beatles with the gauzy idealism of the "good" sixties and portrayed the Stones as representatives of the dangerous and nihilistic "bad" sixties. Beatles vs. Stones explodes that split.

In a lively narrative that whisks readers from Liverpool to London to New York City--and to various recording studios, nightclubs, concerts, courtrooms, and protest rallies in between--McMillian also delves into the personal relationships between the two groups. In one chapter we see Lennon and McCartney huddle up in a rehearsal space and show the Stones how to write their own material; in another we eavesdrop on Jagger and Richards as they watch the Beatles play Shea Stadium from the visitors' dugout. McMillian also shows us how the two groups feuded about which act would headline a legendary Poll Winners' concert and the pernicious effect that the American businessman Allen Klein had on both bands.

Based on exhaustive research in primary sources, including overlooked teen magazines and underground newspapers, Beatles vs. Stones tells a vital story of the 1960s through the lens of music's greatest rivalry. Spirited, insightful, and gracefully written, this is the definitive account of the friendship and rivalry between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781439159699
Branch Call Number: 782.421660922 McMil
Characteristics: 304 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm.


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Jul 08, 2017

thoroughly researched, cannily written, I learned a lot from this book. highly recommended. I miss brian jones, and I miss john lennon. R.I.P, R.I.P. "A little more than two years earlier, the Beatles had put a moody black-and-white photo of themselves on the cover of their second album--a photo that veered sharply from the cartoonish conventions of pop photography. A short while later, the Stones used a similar looking photo of themselves on the sleeve of their debut LP (long play). Then a few months after the Beatles released YESTERDAY, along came the Stones with AS TEARS GO BY. Later that year, the Beatles released RUBBER SOUL. The Stones did much the same thing with AFTERMATH. To Lennon, it amounted to 'a clear case of artistic larceny. Everything we do, the Stones do four months later, ' he supposedly said....there is no gainsaying that as the Beatles began opening up some thrilling new musical possibilities in the mid-60s, the Stones were drawn to what they were doing." Brian Jones: 'America is a great scene for us at present. We overtook the Beatles' NOWHERE MAN in the charts with 19TH NERVOUS BREAKDOWN and although i've no delusions about being bigger than the's something of an achievement.' "

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