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While The Beatles and The Rolling Stones both led the charge during the British Invasion, they had wildly different public images. Mick Jagger’s girlfriend explained why The Beatles were seen as good boys and The Rolling Stones were seen as bad boys. Notably, John Lennon revealed that he was a huge fan of one Rolling Stones song.

Marianne Faithfull said The Rolling Stones were sexier than The Beatles

Marianne Faithfull was Jagger’s girlfriend in the 1960s. She’s most famous for a pair of ballads: “As Tears Go By,” which was co-written by Jagger and Keith Richards, and a cover of The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” If anyone has the right to pontificate on the differences between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it’s her.

In her 2007 book Memories, Dreams & Reflections, the “As Tears Go by” singer discussed the two defining British bands of the 1960s. “The Beatles completely evolved from the pop business,” she said. “The Stones began as a Brit Chicago R&B group and then lurched into a more raunchy rig than The Beatles ever managed. When The Beatles stopped touring in 1966 they were still the lovable Fab Four — they were rock ‘n’ roll muppets. The Stones were menacing and sexy.”

Marianne Faithfull said The Beatles were led by ‘a daddy figure’

Faithfull felt that the distinctions between the two bands could be chalked up to their management. “A lot of that [The Rolling Stones’ menace] had to do with the kind of music they played, with Andrew Oldham, their manager, pushing their bad-boy image and Mick and Keith’s natural bolshiness,” she wrote. “But much of it, too, had to do with Mick’s savvy on the business side. 

“They never had a manager in the sense of a daddy figure like Brian Epstein telling them what to do — Andrew was younger than they were and more reckless,” she added. “They weren’t dependent on Allen Klein or Andrew — they were their own gang. Also, you have to take into account that The Beatles were the pioneers and nobody had invented proper speakers yet.”

Another thing that separates Oldham from The Beatles’ managers, Epstein and Klein, is that Oldham was a musician. Oldham worked on classic Rolling Stones tunes such as “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Get Off of My Cloud,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” and “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?” Meanwhile, Epstein and Klein were just business people.


Keith Richards Explains Why His Songwriting Partnership With Mick Jagger Was Different Than Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s

John Lennon loved when The Rolling Stones went disco

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In it, the “Power to the People” star had plenty to say about other musicians, including that he saw The Beatles and The Rolling Stones as relics of the 1960s.

He was also a big fan of The Rolling Stones’ final No. 1 hit, “Miss You.” To this day, that track is controversial because some fans feel that the band sold out by making disco songs or that Jagger and company didn’t really understand the genre when they dipped their toes into it. Meanwhile, the “Imagine” singer referred to “Miss You” as “a great Stones record.”

Faithfull had some interesting insights into The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and one of The Beatles was, at least a little bit of a Rolling Stones fan.