(Left) The Beatles in 1967 after the completion of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; (right) The Rolling Stones in 1967 in London’s Green Park
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? The debate over which is the greater band has fueled arguments since both were recording Chuck Berry songs. This fall, Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis, the hosts of Chicago Public Radio’s Sound Opinions, have upped the ante with a new book, The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Rivalry (Voyageur Press; $35), that compares the two groups side by side, examining drummers, managers, and more. DeRogatis won’t admit his loyalties, but Kot definitively puts himself in the Stones’ camp. “I loved the Beatles, but the Stones had that edge to everything they did,” says the Chicago Tribune critic. “There was a certain time when [singer Mick] Jagger was fairly consistently voicing contempt for what mainstream society was turning into, what was valuable, what it held dear, what kind of people it was turning out. I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Syracuse where there was a cookie-cutter thing, thinking, There’s got to be more than this. Their attitude was very appealing.” We asked a few other prominent Chicagoans to weigh in—we hope you’ll weigh in, too, in the comments below.
“The Beatles have a deeper appreciation of all music. There’s a humor, there’s a Broadway sense, and later on, the Indian stuff came in. The Beatles were always taking in stuff and filtering stuff out to us. There’s such a classical sense of arrangement, and their harmonies—what the Beatles did vocally is amazing.” –Jimmy Vivino, music director and bandleader for Conan O’Brien’s new talk show on TBS. Vivino moonlights in the Beatles tribute band the Fab Faux. They perform on November 13th at the Vic Theatre; for info, etix.com.
Photography: (Beatles) John Pratt/Stringer/Hulton Archive; (Stones) ©Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis