Posted on October 23, 2018
by Steve Janowick
You know when you’ve drunk too much and then the room starts spinning in the middle of the night? You want to puke out all the poison, so you can sleep, but you just can’t? Most people rely on the old ‘finger down the gullet’ technique. Yea, that’s tried and true. But I’ve got a way better alternative. Just Google… ‘Beatles vs Stones’. The amount of righteous, pompous, narcissistic, over-sensitive, whiner, experts that will populate your screen will literally turn your stomach, make you chum your guts and off to visit the sandman you go.
Don’t know what it is about this debate, but it seems to awaken and motivate every single termite-like douche to come out of the woodwork. I get it. You’re passionate as hell about, what most would consider, the two greatest, most influential bands ever! But it seriously ranks up there with Coke/Pepsi circa 1985 and Jordan/Lebron circa today in its fervent snarky-ness. It’s nutty! So, you can take a deep breath because I’m not going to compromise my valuable finger-tip pads to opine on the specifics of why one band is better than the other.
But I am fascinated with how a man’s general persona can be extrapolated, pretty accurately, from which of these two bands he champions in this debate.
First up, The Beatles. The Originators. The inventors of a brand of pop music that took the whole world by storm, and an image that would influence and shape pop culture for decades. The incredible body of work they produced in such a short span of time reflected not only each band member’s unique contributions (and limitations) but also the ever-evolving sounds that reflected the ever-changing times. From pure pop to guitar driven rock, from psychedelia to orchestral arrangements, The Beatles were the ultimate purveyors of experimentation.
Dudes that are Beatle heads are usually intellectual types (or like to fancy themselves as such). Introverts and thinkers. Very progressive in their ideological worldview, because as John Lennon goes so go his sycophants. A bit prudish and snob-like (at least regarding their band). Clean cut limo-liberals or aging hippy types. This is a very overstated generalization of the male Beatle fan, and I know I’m leaving a ton of other dude types out, but I’m sure you get the point. Ironically, Beatles fans actually dismiss this whole debate because most feel that there simply isn’t a warrant for one. And they may be right. They were certainly an incredible band. But why do their fans have to be such dicks about it sometimes?
The Rolling Stones. Dubbed ‘the greatest rock and roll band of all time’ by who? Uhhh…The Stones themselves. This group of some of the ugliest young Brits (and now very old Brits) you’d ever want to see stole our blues, turned it on its head, then gave it back to us, creating a raw sound that American kids lopped up in droves. Often hailed (and criticized as well) for inventing the sub-genre ‘cock rock’, the Stones, primarily Mick and Keith, were edgy and sexy. But they also possessed the chops to deliver a bunch of critical masterpieces along the way.
Most of the cats I knew growing up who were rabid Stones fans were blue-collar, burnout types. But also, a lot of “jocks” as well (man that word is so 80’s). But anyway, I think the reason the Stones tapped into such a cross-section of the youth at the time was that of four simple words: sex, drugs & rock and roll. The Stones were happy to don the black hats and be the provocateurs. And if you were horny or liked drugs or living on the fringes of the law and/or decency, then the Stones probably spoke to you. And they probably still speak to you today, I’m betting.
In a nutshell, my novice conclusion is that If you are in the Beatles camp, you are probably a beta male type personality working in a tech company and playing a lot of Mass Effect 3 in your spare time. If you think the Stones are better than you are a ‘life of the party’ type who picks up a six of Bud and a pack of Marlboro Reds on his way home from working at the plant all day.
Both camps…peace, and rock on!
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