Paul McCartney Said The Rolling Stones Copied Everything The Beatles Did

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Rock bands inspire other rock bands, but copying what another band does — almost step-for-step — is a totally different thing. Is it an okay thing to do?

Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger
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)

In a 2016 interview with Howard Stern, The Beatles’ Paul McCartney said The Rolling Stones copied a lot of what The Beatles did back in the day. When Stern brought up this idea to McCartney, the rock star confirmed and agreed with it.

“That is the truth,” McCartney said. “And I don’t rub it in because I know the guys … But, however, you look at the history of it all: The Beatles come to America, a year later the Stones come to America. We wrote their first single, ‘I Want To Be Your Man.’ They didn’t have a single, they couldn’t get one together.”

He also talked about how the Stones’ sonic would follow a similar path to The Beatles’ evolving sound, saying, “We’d go psychedelic, they’d go psychedelic.”

And Mick Jagger — he doesn’t disagree with McCartney. He pretty much admitted that his band followed McCartney’s in an interview with Larry King.

“[The Beatles] were both rivals and they were also … showing the way because they were the first…” Mick Jagger said. “I admired them for that because they were sort of trailblazers in a lot of ways. They went to the United States first, they showed the way, they were big international stars.”

And fortunately, there don’t seem to be any hard feelings between the two singers, at least according to McCartney.

“You know, [Mick Jagger and I] were very good friends,” he said. “We still are, but we hung out quite a bit then. We all lived in London.”

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Caleb Murphy is a musician who writes about music. His writing appears in Consequence Of Sound, Pittsburgh City Paper, and some other cool places. He blogs about music at calebjmurphy.com.
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  • Pam

    Stop whining, Paul. This happened 50 years ago.

    • Fortunately, they’re still “good friends,” so says Paul.

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