Beatles vs. Stones

Which do you prefer?

I'd have to go with the Rolling Stones although I do love Revolver.

And you?


I'll take the Beatles any day. To my taste they were better writers and musicians. By the time the Stones albums were becoming great Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers the Beatles were ready to hang it up .

Enjoyed them both, and too different from each other for me to be able to rank them in my head.  Sweet vs. tart. Tune-smiths vs rockers. In any case, I enjoyed and still enjoy Bowie more than either of them. But yeah, it was an important decision to make back in the day.



Both great. Rockers v. Song-smiths. The Rolling Stones would catch up, surpass The Beatles, with "Let It Bleed". And yes, they were competitors back then.


Happy Listening!

The Beatles obviously.

The Stones, for me, without Brian Jones became rather monochromatic after their extraordinary run between 1965 -1967.

I can't think of a single great Stones album, and trust me I've given the highly regarded Exile on Main Street plenty of plays.


However the Stones did have plenty of great individual songs though.

With Brian Jones on board -

Play with Fire 

Mother's Little Helper

She Said Yeah

I'm Free 

Under MyThumb

Out of Time

19th Nervous Breakdown


Yesterday's Papers

Ruby Tuesday 

Paint it Black 

What to Do

Let's Spend the Night Together

We Love You


She's a Rainbow 

Jumping Jack Flash


After Brian Jones -



Miss You

Start Me Up


...and that's about it.



for making my brain fluid pound with this question!



Ease in @arcticdeth … baby steps ;-) 

The pendulum swings …. Stones, Beatles, Beatles, Stones 

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Stones are short of bassist and percussionist while Beatles are only bass and drums.  Just saying.

I felt John Lennon hit it on the head: 
“(The Rolling Stones) are not in the same class, music-wise…and never were.”

I went so hard on Beatles in my youth that I may be more inclined to listen to the Stones these days (and I indeed enjoy the Stones very much), but still remains true for me.  
Beatles’ earliest compositions are much better than Stones’ earliest compositions. Much more memorable, much more harmonically sophisticated (I’m talking about the harmonic structure of the compositions themselves, not the vocals - which are obviously far more harmonically sophisticated as well).  

Beatles first Parlophone B-side, “P.S. I Love You,” and other early songs like “From Me to You,” “There’s a Place,” “Please Please Me,” “All My Loving,” “It Won’t Be Long,” “This Boy,” and “All I’ve Got to Do.”  
Those are 8 tremendous compositions just within their 13 months at EMI (their 1st sessions with the final lineup - Ringo on drums -were 9/62, the last of the aforementioned lot were 10/63).  
“Tell Me,” 
“Empty Heart,” “Congratulations,” “Off the Hook,” “Heart of Stone,” “The Last Time,” “Play With Fire,” and “(I Can’t No) Satisfaction,” just doesn’t compare to me.  

Era 2 Stones:
Aftermath/Between the Buttons/Their Satanic Majesties Request
“Get Off My Cloud,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Sad Day,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Paint it Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Dandelion” 
Era 2 Beatles:
A Hard Day’s Night/Beatles For Sale/Help/Rubber Soul/Revolver/Sgt. Pepper’s
“Yes it Is,” “Day Tripper,” “Paperback Writer,” “Rain,” “Penny Lane,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “It’s All Too Much,” “All You Need is Love,” “Baby, You’re a Rich Man,” “Hello, Goodbye,” “I Am the Walrus”
I’ll go with Beatles.

Era 3 Stones:  
Beggar’s Banquet/Let it Bleed/Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main St:
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Honky Tonk Women.”
Era 3 Beatles:.  
White Album/Let it Be/Abbey Road.  
“Hey Jude,” “Lady Madonna, “Hey Bulldog,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” “Old Brown Shoe,” “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number”.  
This one’s pretty even. Outside of “I Dig a Pony” and, especially great, “Across the Universe, I think Let it Be sucks, but, IMO, The White Album is their best, those other ‘68 songs are simply tremendous, and there are a few all-timers on Abbey Road as well, particularly “Because,” and “You Never Give Me Your Money.”.  
Considering how great this Stones era is, and how sucky Let it Be is, I’m going to go with Stones here by a somewhat-slim margin.

Whatever good stuff the Stones do henceforth still can’t cause them to catch the Beatles to my mind.





Beatles because they put an end. Stones because they carried on.

Stones because they had Brian Jones. Beatles because they had George Harrison.

A draw not really, but close, Beatles for getting 5 greats in a row and scoring higher on originality.

If I had to choose, It would be the Beatles. The combination of songwriting by the Fab 4 is unmatched and 200 years from now they will be viewed as the Bach and Beethoven of their era. Lennon and McCartney especially were incredible and that is not to slight Harrison or Starr in anyway. This doesn't mean The Stones are not in the same league, I love them nearly as much but on pure talent all around, I'll take the Beatles to my grave.

Silly question similar to what’s better, an apple or an orange? They both fruit, both are delicious but they’re clearly different.

We all know that the Lennon - McCartney song writing duo & a little later, Harrison wrote some of the greatest songs ever that endure as long as people listen to music.  

No one has mentioned “ Can’t  You Me Knocking?” On Sticky Fingers. You got to listen to it on a powerful, high quality sound system that has a  good bottom end. Frighteningly great interplay between the two very different guitar styles  ( Mick Taylor & Keith Richards)  in conjunction with some outstanding bass guitar & drums.  Put it on, LP or a good stream, turn it up & you will understand what The Stones were all about. 

I was in 7th grade when the Beatles played the Sullivan Show, and I watched the Stones bowdlerize their hit “Let’s Spend The Night Together” for Mr. Ed.  I don’t think the Stones ever topped the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” until “Satisfaction” came out.  Then it was the Beatles ahead with their greatest period with Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road.  But Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile, all in a row?  Unequalled by anyone. Not the Beatles, not Dylan, not The Boss.  But as a Blues lover, I go with the Stones.  Even now, when I watch Mick J. And Jeff Beck play Howling Wolf for the Obamas on YT, his phrasing kills me. They had me with “King Bee” in 1965.

Wasn't is supposed to be who do you like better the Beatles or the Dave Clark Five?

I was around back in those days and that was the comparison I saw in  US media 

As if.....

Yes @alvinner2, for those of us who were there in 1964, the artificially-created rivalry (to sell teen mags, perhaps) was The Beatles vs. The Dave Clark Five. And to be completely honest and truthful, I vacillated between the two. In my Jr. High School’s 8th grade talent show in the late Spring of 1964, my little combo performed both "I’ll Get You" by The Beatles and "Glad All Over" by The DC5. But it was Brian Wilson and his Beach Boys who remained my favorite group. As for The DC5. they weren’t able to keep abreast of the rapid evolution that Pop music experienced in the mid-60’s, and were all but forgotten by 1966 (maybe even ’65).

Long-time record collectors are already aware of this, but in 1964 Vee Jay Records issued an album entitled The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons (each LP side given to one of the two). When Capitol Records was in 1963 offered the first UK Beatles album for the U.S. market by Parlophone Records (a subsidiary of E.M.I.) they declined the offer! By the time their second album (what became named Meet The Beatles in the U.S.) was ready for release Capitol Records had seen the light ;-) .

We were all confused by both Meet The Beatles on Capitol Records and Introducing The Beatles on Vee Jay Records being in the racks at the same time, but bought both. The Beatles had greatly improved between the recording of the two albums, the first having been recorded in one single 14 hour session!

To capitalize (no pun intended ;-) on Beatlemania, Vee Jay came up with the idea of the Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons (their big Pop act) album. Even we young teenagers though it was ridiculous, and few bought it.

As for The Beatles vs. The Stones, this may be hard to believe, but I don’t own a single Stones album. Never liked ’em, and after reading the interview with Ry Cooder in Rolling Stone in 1970 or ’71 (in which he recounted what transpired when that band of wankers paid him to come over to London to record. Find the interview, you will never see "Keef" and Mick the same again.), they were dead to me. Having to watch Keith in the Chuck Berry documentary (Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll) he made was brutal. Witnessing his lecherous, leering behavior towards Norah Jones when they duetted at The Gram Parson Tribute Show in The Universal Amphitheater was a truly disgusting, horrifying sight. What a pig. And a grossly over-rated guitarist and songwriter. IMO, of course.

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I read McCartney is working with the Stones on an upcoming release.  Phew….no need to choose anymore…..


I read McCartney is working with the Stones on an upcoming release.  Phew….no need to choose anymore…

I heard that his contribution is limited to playing bass on one track.

Depends on my mood.

Most often played on my system are The White Album, Abbey Road, Let It Be, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile.

A much easier question to answer would be who I favor between Paul and John.

I prefer John.

Don't ask me to choose between Keef and M. Taylor, though; that's impossible







Rockpile. Their Paul was Nick Lowe, their John Dave Edmunds. I saw both The Beatles and Rockpile live ("only" 15 years apart ;-), and Rockpile were by far the better band. So are NRBQ, Los Lobos, and plenty of others (Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives. When Norman Maslov---"Mazzy" of the YouTube Vinyl Community, a serious die-hard Beatles fanatic. His Beatles collection is larger than many people’s entire record collections---starts to talk about Marty & his band, he almost hyperventilates).

This continuing idolization of 1960’s Pop/Rock groups mystifies me. They made some fine music, but that was a LONG time ago. Others have made music just as good---if not better---since then. And some music at least as good was made before their time. There was nothing magical about the 1960’s. Except the mushrooms ;-) .

The Stones only flaw was that they are not the Beatles. The Stones are great, and the Beatles are legend, never will there be a group of their ilk again.

If I had to choose I'd probably go with the Beatles, I think they had more memorable songs that can stand the test of time than the Stones (who have had their share as well, of course).

A story in this vein.  In the mid 60s, the Stones first hit with airplay in NYC was Tell Me You're Coming Back to Me.  One afternoon while I was listening to Dan Ingram, the late afternoon WABC DJ (who also had a jazz show on FM, as I recall), he made a comment on air after playing the Stones record to the effect that he felt the Stones were a poor imitation of the Beatles and he didn't like them.  Well, after another record and a few commercials, he came back on and said that the switchboard had lit up due to this comment, so he announced that he would run a contest, $10 to the best letter sent to him telling him why he should like the Stones and $10 to the best letter telling him why he shouldn't.  A few days later he announced that a couple of girls had written him a multi-page letter going on and on as to why he should love the Stones, so they won $10; the winning letter as to why he shouldn't like the Stones was simple--they were costing him $20.  

@jonwolfpell “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” has never come even remotely close to getting old for me.  
This track, as you mentioned, turned up loud on a good system, might be as convincing as anything in terms of demonstrating the greatness of the Stones.

Never did care much for the Ruttles, more of a Stones fan.

Besides, they’re different styles and of different roots. Not to mention the fab four barely made it a decade while the bad boys of rock and roll were still playing to stadiums full of arthritic fans after fifty years.

no comparison really.

Apples vs oranges.  I like both, but to me Beatles are "oldies" while Rolling Stones are still modern.  Perhaps it was aggressiveness of Stones music, that kept them alive.  Yes, The Beatles created many new trends (melodic bass, inclusion of classical etc), but when I, as a young boy, heard Satisfaction for the first time I was stunned - "is it even allowed to play like that"?

@bdp24 - I like watching Mazzy's vids too; he used to come into the record wholesaler in Oakland I was working at when we were both in the local record business in the 70's. And the shrooms are still magical now! 🤣

I remember the big popularity battles in the 60's for a short while between the Beatles and the Monkees. And in retrospect, the Monkees had a lot better songs than they were given credit for. But still. 

The Monkees didn't write their hits (Boyce and Hart wrote a lot of stuff, as did other pro songwriters at that time) or were trusted to play much of anything on the records (except singing) until later in their "post TV" career that generally sucked. Nesmith was a good writer and musician anyway.

The Beatles had more creativity crammed into a relatively short time than anybody before or since, and the Stones were and are a great R&B band with undeniable charisma and style and great rock and roll...I saw the original band with Jones in 1966 and they killed. Still do.

The Beatles.

Both bands started around 1962.  The Beatles ended in 1970.  The Stones are still going (sort of) but almost everything they have produced since the early 70s is vaccuous.  So we should compare largely their respective 60s outputs.

Seen like that, the contest is perhaps closer for many of us.  The Stones music in that period is mainly of high quality.  But certainly not in the Beatles' league.  I was there and lived it.

While I love them both, and they are the soundtrack of my youth, the Glimmer Twins get more time on my system.  There is no denying the genius of Lennon/McCartney as songwriters but the Stones have an edge to their music their Beatles could not match (exceptions for sure).  When Mick & Keith started to hit their stride with Beggars Banquet, they moved into a musical realm that set them apart.  For starters, Sympathy For The Devil is the greatest rock & roll song ever written.  Lyrically unmatched then or now.  The near violence in Keith's one note (😂) guitar solo is stunning to this day.   Then to name just a few more: Sister Morphine (thank you Ry Cooder), Moonlight Mile, Gimme Shelter, You Can't Always Get What You Want..........   It's really an Apples to Oranges comparison but if I had to choose the collected works of only one of the two bands, it's always going to be the Stones for me. 

They are two different type bands, and I’ll paraphrase Paul McCartney as told by Keith Richards in his biography; the Beatles are a vocal band and the Stones more instrumental. In any case, I enjoy them both, more so the Beatles because that’s what I heard the most when I was very young. Both great bodies of work. 

The Beatles were undeniably a great band. That said, Sway.. Monkey Man.. the entirety of Exile on Main Street... Just absolutely filthy music from the gut. The way rock and roll should be.

Apparently Kijanki’s on to something. Ringo and Paul have supposedly been spotted in an LA studio, laying down the bass and drum tracks for a new Stones tune. Supposedly I’m hoping for a retro sounding sequel to “I Wanna Be Your Man”, instead of “Let’s Get Together yeah yeah yeah” along the lines of Hayley Mills. 

Jim Keltner says The Stones were Charlie's band. ;-)

Charlie was well known for creating the "feel" of The Stones; he played the snare drum back beat real "late" (far back in the pocket, in drumming lingo). A lot of Rockers who discovered Country music in the late-60's/early-70's (Gram Parsons made Country hip to some), as well as The Stones feeble attempts to play it (Keith came under the influence of Gram), want their drummer to play their Country-Rock ala Charlie, with that late back beat.

I invested a lot of time and devoted a lot of work to be able to play "deep pocket" style---like Roger Hawkins of The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section aka The Swampers (Aretha, Boz Scaggs, Joe Cocker, Paul Simon, The Staple Singers, Duane Allman, Albert King, Bob Seger, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, hundreds of others. One of my two favorite drummers), Jim Gordon (Derek & The Dominos, All Things Must Pass, Traffic, L.A. studios), Al Jackson (Booker T & The MG's), Ringo, and the late, great Levon Helm (my other favorite).

In the first decade of this century I did some gigs with Rick Shea and Jonny Kaplan, a couple of such guys, well-known in the L.A. musical community. After working so hard at being able to play in the center of the pocket (think of the pocket as a V-shaped hole. The closer you move to the center of the hole, the deeper the pocket), intentionally playing late was not fun. It was in fact painful to my musical sensibilities. But, as the saying goes, give them what they want. ;-)

The Beatles all the way for me, Amazing how there music changed from early 60's to mid to late 60's.  (John and Paul wrote 2 hits for the Stones to get them  going don't forget)

The Stones explored the darker regions of my being. The Beatles had tons of song-writing ability but often seemed to be wagging their fingers at me.

Unlike the Rolling Stones who barely stopped touring we hardly got to hear the Beatles play anything after 1965’s Rubber Soul.

Thankfully, some very enterprising folks decided to do something about that.

Here are The Analogues re-creations of some the later albums using carefully selected ’period’ instruments.




There is no basis for the conjecture. You might as well ask who you prefer - Burt Bacharach or the Black Crowes.


Frank Sinatra.

lol... I guess if I had to pick B or RS, it'd have to be Beatles... but I love both, so... 

This is a bit like comparing the Bee Gee's and Barbara Streisand.  

The Beatles and the Stones were very different bands.

@waytoomuchstuff - I was thinking the same thing, but there were some parallels in career trajectory, especially in their earlier days. Like the Beatles put out 'Sgt Pepper' and the Stones replied with 'Their Satanic Majesty's Request'. And while I did really like about half the songs on 'Satanic Majesty's, the other half, uh, not so much, so Sarge beats out the Majesty for me. 

Actually, "Out of Our Heads" is the first Rolling Stones album to actually feature the Rolling Stones.  Prior to that all music attributed to the band was created as a side project by Paul McCartney who played all the instruments, including drums and sang all the vocals.  When Paul got tired of the side gig and wanted to devote all his energy toward the Beatles the record label hired a bunch of non-musicians who looked like rock stars to basically be the Rolling Stones.  Charlie Watts unique drum style is the result of him trying to sound like McCartney, a non-drummer, playing the drums.  The funny thing is that over time the Rolling Stones actually became a pretty good band.

Some people also think it was really McCartney on the early Led Zeppelin.  That sound far fetched to me, but it's possible.