The Rolling Stones and The Beatles are two of Britain’s greatest ever musical exports. Their influence transcends music globally and places them as pivotal pop culture figures that affected the world of music and society at large. However, in the 1960s, there was a rivalry between the two acts, which burned with some serious intensity. As such, they’re two acts that have always tried to better one another’s last release. While the back and forth between the two groups continues to hit the headlines, there is one track in particular that causes Mick Jagger problems.
Jagger, speaking when he inducted The Fab Four into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, made the admission that the song in question made him feel “almost sick” after he first heard it. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones’ feud may have largely been fought in the tabloid headlines, but this clip proves there were some genuine green-eyed monsters in their midst too.
The truth about The Beatles and the Stones is that it wasn’t a rivalry built out of hatred for one another, it was quite the opposite, and the competitive element made both artists up their game. The two groups had such a strong history, sharing the limelight for a rock and roll boom. The two bands are so intrinsically linked that the very existence of Rolling Stones fame can be planted at the door of former Beatle George Harrison, the guitarist famously helping his future rivals land their first record deal with Decca back in 1963.
The two bands also shared material when The Stones recorded ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, a song originally written by The Beatles songwriting powerhouse of Lennon-McCartney and given to Jagger and co. The track, which got The Stones to Number 12 in the charts, showed a level of respect between the contemporaries—even if John Lennon did his best to ruffle feathers in the years that followed.
Recalling the incident that led to the gifting of a song, Stones’ frontman Jagger once said: “We knew [the Beatles] by then and we were rehearsing and Andrew brought Paul and John down to the rehearsal. They said they had this tune, they were really hustlers then.
“I mean, the way they used to hustle tunes was great: ‘Hey Mick, we’ve got this great song.’ So they played it, and we thought it sounded pretty commercial, which is what we were looking for, so we did it like Elmore James or something. I haven’t heard it for ages, but it must be pretty freaky ’cause nobody really produced it. It was completely crackers, but it was a hit and sounded great onstage.”
Due to this incredible history that the two shared, it was fitting then that Mick Jagger would induct The Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and his speech was nothing short of superb: “We were doin’ Chuck Berry songs and blues and things, and we thought that we were totally unique animals. And then we heard there was a group from Liverpool, and they had long hair, scruffy clothes.”
He then added how he felt sick to his stomach out of jealousy when he first heard ‘Love Me Do’ and realised just how good this long-haired Liverpool four-piece are: “But they had a record contract. And they had a record on the charts, with a bluesy harmonica on it, called ‘Love Me Do.’ When I heard the combination of all these things, I was almost sick.”
Watch Jagger’s speech in full below as he inducted McCartney, Harrison and Starr into the exclusive club of Hall of Famers. It’s one of the few moments in music’s history that The Rolling Stones man has fully let his guard down and embraced the huge behemoth work of The Beatles.