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Many classic rock fans believe The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band inspired The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request. Mick Jagger was once asked if this was the case. Subsequently, he said Their Satanic Majesties Request was born out of his band’s frustrations.

Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger in a train car
Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger | Victor Blackman / Stringer

The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ predates The Rolling Stones’ ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’

The Beatles released the psychedelic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in May 1967. Their Satanic Majesties Request came out in December of the same year. According to the 2013 book 50 Licks: Myths and Stories from Half a Century of the Rolling Stones, many fans felt The Rolling Stones regularly copied the Fab Four. Jagger was asked if Their Satanic Majesties Request was a conscious imitation of Sgt. Pepper.

“I can’t remember anything that happened in 1967 I’m afraid … I’m sure there’s lots of other people who can’t remember either … everyone was wanting to do something else at that point,” he said. “Everyone was fed up with just playing straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll, so they just … we just went in and just looked around.”

The Rolling Stones’ ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ was inspired by LSD

Jagger didn’t say Their Satanic Majesties Request was influenced by The Beatles, instead attributing the album’s psychedelic style to his band’s struggles. “It was a very weird time for us because we were in and out of jail and were on kind of drug charges and we didn’t know what we were doing and … It was very peculiar and so we played very peculiar music that year,” he added.

Jagger named another influence on the album: drugs. “I think we were just taking too much acid,” he said. “We were just getting carried away, just thinking anything you did was fun and everyone should listen to it. The whole thing [Satanic Majesties], we were on acid.” 


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Paul McCartney said The Rolling Stones copied The Beatles for an album cover

The album cover features a picture of the band dressed as wizards. In a 2013 Contact Music article, Paul McCartney said the album copied The Beatles’ work. He was likely referring to a scene from the film Magical Mystery Tour where the band dressed as wizards.

In 50 Licks, Jagger didn’t attribute the cover to The Beatles’ influence. Jagger compared the experience of shooting the album’s cover to playing with paper in school. He called the shoot “silly” but enjoyed it nonetheless. He also wanted the cover to alienate Andrew Loog Oldham, the producer of “As Tears Go By” and other early Rolling Stones hits.  

Fans saw a connection between Sgt. Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties Request but Jagger downplayed the whole thing.