About a decade ago, Yves Delmas and Charles Gancel, authors of a book on the North American protest song, realized that the rivalry between the followers of the Beatles and the Stones was the cause of heated discussions but that despite the abundant literature generated by the two most important musical groups of the twentieth century, no one had written a book in the style of Plutarch tracing parallel lives, pointing out the coincidences, the disagreements, and wondering which of the two was the best. This is the main thesis of BeatleStones, a duel, a winner (Millennium).
It’s difficult to declare yourself a fan of both groups “
The investigation has lasted ten years and the result is a work that amazes for its musical erudition and the abundance of quotes and arguments that will surprise everyone. According to Yves Delmas, in a telephone conversation with La Vanguardia, “it is difficult to declare himself a fan of both groups.” “Historian Jonathan Gould claims that you have to choose, or you’re left with the ‘bright Apollonian sun’ of the Beatles or the ‘pale Dionysian moon’ of the Rolling Stones,” he says. And yet this image of good boys from the Liverpool four facing off against the working-class hooligans of the five Londoners is one of the first clichés that the book easily dismantles. “The Beatles come from humble families with difficult childhoods, while Jagger’s parents were wealthy, conservative and the rest came from the middle class.”
The Stones’ rebellious image was one of the first ideas their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, developed to differentiate them from the Beatles. The two groups had met on April 14, 1963 at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, when the Beatles went to a concert given by the Stones, then a rookie quintet. They hit it off, became friends, and within days John and Paul generously gave them a song, I wanna be your man, which Jagger, Richards, Jones, Wyman and Watts performed with a blues soul. It was the beginning of a friendship, in which according to Delmas and Gancel, the Beatles were the mirror in which the five Londoners looked at each other, the spring from which they drank.
The Beatles come from humble families, with difficult childhoods, while Jagger’s parents were wealthy “
Oldham knew what to do, having learned from Brian Epstein, the manager of the Fab four. “He knew how to create a rebellious, rude, dirty and overtly sexual style that is showcased in the Melody Maker headline: Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone? The provocations of the Stones made the Beatles appear like good guys, ”explains Delmas.
The two authors argue with solid arguments that the Stones “copied or were inspired by the musical and aesthetic ideas of the Beatles, while they never took anything from their antagonistic friends.” To every beatle initiative there is a stone answer. Of Sgt. Pepper surge el Their Satanic Majesties Request, o de Let It Be, the Let It bleed. Even the famous mocking tongue that the Stones introduce as a symbol of the band on the album Sticky Fingers (1970) has something to do with the Beatles. According to Yves Delmas and Charles Gancel, the sensual lips with obscene tongue created by John Pasche, “is a blatant plagiarism of the book The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics de Alan Aldridge, where a similar drawing appears referring to the song Day Tripper”. The authors doubt that Pasche was inspired by the mouths of Mick Jagger and the goddess Kali. The Beatles founded Apple Records in 1968 while Rolling Stones Records wasn’t created until 1970.
The provocations of the Stones made the Beatles appear like good guys “
“From our humble point of view, the Beatles win the game. In just six years and seven months, they had one of the most creative and innovative careers in music history. The Beatles were the new music while the Stones were the conservatives, drawing inspiration from the blues tradition. The Stones start to be the biggest rock band in the world when the Beatles break up. They are older, of course, almost 60 years of experience but their success, which should not be underestimated, is that they have known how to be a company. The Fab four were a group of friends and the separation came from logical frictions, they had been together for a long time. The Rolling Stones will never part because in fact they have never been together. “
From our humble point of view, the Beatles win the game “
The book abounds in parallels such as when the Lennon-McCartney duo, under the influence of Dylan, write more committed lyrics, against the Vietnam War, the couple Jagger and Richards are inspired by the riots of ’68 to compose that unforgettable piece, Street Figthin Man, echo of the street fight. The Beatles were fed up with the concerts, while the Stones, having overcome Altamont’s mistake, found in the great mass spectacle, a genuine way to connect with their audience.
At the time of the conclusions Delmas / Gancel give the Stones “a slight advantage in terms of image, since their rock and insolent aura has resisted the outrages of time, in addition to praising their fantastic commercial and economic success, the energy of the brand that they have been able to create and nurture ”. However, “the Beatles crossed the limits of the music of their time with extraordinary freedom and thanks to them, rock’n’roll became simply rock and this opened the way to a universal and polyphonic pop that dared everything and that made new sounds and surprising musical alchemy available to a generation ”.
Yves Delmas and Charles Gancel are entrepreneurs of French nationality and lovers of the music of the sixties and seventies. Delmas is the president of Seur Spain, whose Foundation will allocate all the funds received from the sales of BeatleStones in Spanish to the research of extremely serious rare childhood diseases.