Come Together: A Look Back on the Relationship Between The Rolling Stones and The Beatles

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of The Beatles are contributing to an upcoming album from The Rolling Stones. Learn more about how the two bands have worked together in the past.

By bonneville on February 22, 2023
25th August 1967: Paul McCartney of the Beatles and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones sit opposite each other on a train at Euston Station, waiting for departure to Bangor. (Photo by Victor Blackman/Express/Getty Images)

Members from the top two Greatest of All Time Artists are finally coming together. As reported in Variety, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of The Beatles are collaborating on an upcoming project from The Rolling Stones. This album will be their newest release since 2016 when they released “Blue & Lonesome,” a collection of blues covers.

To anticipate the album’s arrival, we look back on the ups and downs of their relationship and rivalry as the icons have worked over the years. 

The Beatles formed in 1960 and broke through with their first album, “Please Please Me,” in 1963. The Rolling Stones’ debut album, self-titled “The Rolling Stones,” was released in 1964. George Harrison is said to have been the reason the Stones secured their first record deal. 

As they rose in popularity, the media and fans often compared and contrasted the two bands against each other. People saw them as rival bands competing to be the greatest rock band in the world. Due to this, the relationship between the two bands throughout the years has been a complex blend of camaraderie and competition.  

The Beatles were the first to achieve international success, and The Rolling Stones have cited them as an influence. The Stones even covered some Beatles songs in their early years, including “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Eight Days a Week.” John Lennon and Keith Richards formed a short-lived supergroup named Dirty Mac for the Rock and Roll Circus TV Special in 1968.

In the late 1960s, the bands’ styles veered in different directions, with The Beatles experimenting more with avant-garde music and The Rolling Stones taking on more of a bluesy, rock-and-roll sound. There was also particular tension between Lennon and Mick Jagger after Lennon went on a rant, calling Jagger “a joke” and using a homophobic slur to describe him in the 70s.

Despite that, the two bands became friends as they grew more successful, and they were often spotted together at parties and events. They have even collaborated before, notably with Jagger and Richards providing backup vocals on The Beatles’ track “All You Need is Love” and Lennon and McCartney providing backup vocals on the Stones’ song “We Love You.” McCartney and Richards have maintained a close friendship over the years and have collaborated on many other musical projects.   

In the end, while there were indeed moments of tension and rivalry, the two bands ultimately share a deep appreciation for each other’s music and legacy, and their influence on rock and roll history continues to grow.

The Rolling Stones have yet to announce a date for their new album as of this writing. However, the album is in the later stages of recording, and they will likely tour sometime in 2023. 

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