Paul McCartney Explains to Howard Stern Why the ‘Beatles Were Better’ Than the Stones

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Paul McCartney phoned into The Howard Stern Show Tuesday morning for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from his love of Billie Eilish to his life during the quarantine to the Beatles’ ancient rivalry with the Rolling Stones. Stern suggested that the Beatles were the better band, and McCartney didn’t disagree.

“You know you’re going to persuade me to agree with that one,” McCartney said. “They are rooted in the blues. When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences. … There’s a lot of differences, and I love the Stones, but I’m with you. The Beatles were better.”

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Stern then brought up the Stones’ attempt to create their own Sgt. Pepper-like album in late 1967 with Their Satanic Majesties Request. “We started to notice that whatever we did, the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter,” McCartney said. “We went to America and we had huge success. Then the Stones went to America. We did Sgt. Pepper, the Stones did a psychedelic album. There’s a lot of that. We were great friends, still are kind of. We admire each other. … The Stones are a fantastic group. I go see them every time they’re out. They’re a great, great band.”

McCartney isn’t promoting much at the moment, since the coronavirus has essentially shut down most of the music industry, but he did talk about the upcoming documentary The Beatles: Get Back. The film is directed by Peter Jackson and draws from previously unseen footage shot during the making of Let It Be in 1969. The audio from the shoot leaked many years ago, but the vast majority of the footage that didn’t make the original Let It Be film has never been seen.

“[Jackson] has gotten ahold of about 54 hours of film footage,” McCartney said. “I’ll tell you, Howard, it’s great. I’m not bullshitting. You see this kind of thing, this relationship between me and John and me and George. You’ll get it.”

The Let It Be sessions were famously tense and that is quite evident in the original Let It Be movie, but McCartney says he was shocked by what he saw in Jackson’s new version. “I kind of bought into this whole idea that me and John were rivals and didn’t like each other and stuff,” he said. “But you see the film and it’s like, ‘Thank God, it’s not true.’ We’re obviously having fun together. You can see we respect each other and we’re making music together, and it’s a joy to see it unfold.”

McCartney first got together with Jackson when Macca’s world tour came to New Zealand in late 2017. “I met him and said, ‘How’s it looking?’ thinking it was going to be a bit more of a prelude to the band breaking up,” McCartney recalled. “He said to me, ‘That’s what I thought. But the more I look at it, it’s great. You look like friends and you look like you’re having a ball.’ ”

The Beatles: Get Back is slated to hit theaters September 4th, but it’s possible the coronavirus will cause it to be pushed back to a later date. “Nobody knows when anything is coming out right now,” McCartney said. “But it will come out. Disney are going to release it.”


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