Jul 16, 201310:12 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones

Social media has blown up in the past few days with some serious hot-button issues and it has all inspired me to take some time off of the interwebs, Twitters, YouTubes and comment sections before I try to track down one of those "Men in Black" devices to wipe my mind of all the hateful vomit I've seen spewed across various social networks.

 

But in lieu of frying my brain, or finding some vampire to glamour me, I've decided to spend some time tackling a much more lighthearted debate, the unrelenting debate that's been going on for 50 years now: The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones.

 

Are The Beatles the number one rock band of all time? There certainly is a lot of evidence to support that claim, I suppose, but I've always been a Rolling Stones girl. For me, The Stones are the quintessential rock ‘n' roll band. They are undisputed. They reign supreme, and they always will. And I've been mulling over why that is the past few days mostly because of how much I enjoyed going to the 11th Annual New Orleans Beatles Festival at the House of Blues over the weekend.

 

It was my husband's birthday and his favorite band of all time is The Beatles, and in some crazy twist of fate he happened to marry a Rolling Stones loyalist as if we met in the year 1969 instead of 2009.

 

There were several bands that went on stage and my dear husband had been looking forward to it for weeks and weeks, but it took me a little while to get into it. Mainly because while I'm sure that The Molly Ringwalds are a great band, it's just that they happened to be playing a set dedicated to Wings' greatest hits. Apparently The Beatles Festival isn't just for any fair-weather Beatles fan, this was also for the Beatles "hipster" fans who are looking for something a little deeper. But Wings is not my favorite. Wings-era Paul McCartney is responsible for one of the worst Christmas songs of all time. Wings is responsible for the dentist chair favorite "Silly Love Songs." If you want to go with a former Beatles-member's side project, why not the Traveling Wilburys? Hell, the Plastic Ono Band? Anything but Wings! But I digress.

 

When the Top Cats came on stage to play a great variety of Beatles hits spanning their catalogue of rock masterpieces, I found myself getting into it. It really was a lot of fun and the musicians really brought all the songs to life while artfully edited video footage of the Fab Four played in the background. Great time. I highly recommend going next year.

 

But I couldn't help but think: Am I cheating on my one true love, The Rolling Stones?

 

The answer is – of course – hell no. It's possible to enjoy both and still know the truth deep down in your heart. It's possible to enjoy "Champagne Supernova" while loving Blur. And it's okay if you like other ‘90s grunge bands besides Nirvana.

 

My reasons for siding with The Stones are many, but here are a few:

 

I am biased. I admit it. My dad was and still is a major influence in my life in regard to what I listen to. While growing up, we had family photos hanging around the house, a nice picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and also images of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Robert Plant and the like adorning our walls. When I was little, my dad would say, "Annie, where'd you learn about David Bowie?" And I'd be like, "YOU, ALRIGHT!? I learned it from watching you!"

 

My dad and his friends were a part of the first ever rock 'n' roll superfans. They went to every every concert, whether it was The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin or The Who, that they possibly could. And they still do to this day. Drives my mother crazy.

 

When I was little, our family dog was called Keifer. Not because of that actor who appears in "The Lost Boys" and "24," but because of Keith Richards' nickname.

 

And true story, many years ago my grandmother caught wind that my dad was planning on taking me to see Pink Floyd, and she was like, "Oh, hell no! I don't want my granddaughter ending up like one of those rock 'n' roll girls!" Whatever that meant. So I didn't get to go. But, nearly two decades later and several Rolling Stones, The Who, Page and Plant, David Bowie, White Stripes, Radiohead, Lollapaloozas, Bonnaroos, New Orleans Jazz Fests and countless other shows under my belt, and I'm like, "OOPS, sorry Grandma! Rock 'n' roll girl, right here!"

 

Anyways. I grew up with The Rolling Stones. They're in my blood. My brother and I always say that "the family who goes to see The Rolling Stones together, stays together." It's true.

 

I like honesty. The Beatles like to say, "I wanna hold your hand." The Stones just go ahead and say, "Let's spend the night together." That pretty much sums it up for me.

 

I like the sexier, grittier rock music, like the stuff that came with "Exile on Main Street." I'm not so keen on songs about magical mystery buses, yellow submarines, precious walruses, raccoons and black birds. I stopped thinking it was cool that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" sort of maybe meant "LSD" when I was a freshman in high school. To my knowledge, the Stones never sang about a magic bus or an egg man or a walrus, and for that, I thank them. 

 

The Rolling Stones are the better live band. Granted, this is not really The Beatles' fault because they only had a few years and The Stones have had 50, but I like listening to live recordings and watching concerts on DVD along with the tried and true studio recordings. While The Beatles' albums are brilliant and game-changing, The Rolling Stones far and away outshine them in this regard. I'll also go out on a limb and say that even if The Beatles had been blessed with the longevity that The Rolling Stones have had, the Stones would still be the better live band. I've seen Paul McCartney's live shows before; they always ends with "Hey Jude". Hey, never heard that song before! Hey, snore zzzzzzzzzzz... (In case you can't tell, I'm not the biggest Paul McCartney fan.)

 

The Rolling Stones can play country music like a boss. Have you ever heard that stupid song in which Alan Jackson sings, "Don't rock the jukebox, I wanna hear some Jones, cause my heart ain't ready for The Rolling Stones"? Well, it would seem that Alan Jackson has never bothered to listen past "Start Me Up," or "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," because this group of old brits can play Americana music better than, well, certainly Alan Jackson. And while I love George Harrison with all my heart, I prefer the Stones experiments with country music and slide guitar to all the sitar playing. Sorry, George. Your songs are still my fave Beatles songs, though.

 

And like I said, those are but a few reasons that I prefer The Rolling Stones. There are certainly many more, but I'm going to pause here, because if you let me, I could probably go off on so many tangents that this blog post would be a mess and you'd probably get really bored or really angry because of my unpopular opinion that Yoko Ono is totally awesome.

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

about

Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at www.AnniedelaDolce.com.

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