The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones
In the 1960s, America’s two biggest bands were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. However, neither of the bands actually originated in the U.S. Surprisingly enough, both groundbreaking groups came over from Britain, forever changing the face of rock ‘n roll. But, despite these two bands similar origins, they had many marked differences between their styles. When they arrived, the Beatles brought a jazzed up, more traditional pop sound to rock ‘n roll. Their early songs were filled with harmonizing choruses and soothing lyrics. And, though many parents were concerned with the fanaticism with which their children adored the group, the concerns were not nearly as deep as the Elvis era from a few years earlier. The reasons for this were quite simple. The Beatles, Ringo, John, Paul, and George were all clean-cut, buttoned-down young men. Yes, their hair may have been a bit long—coming in contact with their eyebrows—but these were men who performed in ties and sung about wanting to hold a girls hand.
On the other hand, the Rolling Stones had a much harder edge, both in their appearance and in their music. Their songs were not built on harmonizing choruses and their appearance was far less refined. Their music contained more a blues and R&B sound which stayed more consistent with rock ‘n roll’s roots. This sound was not found in the Beatles music. Additionally, their songs’ lyrics were far more overtly sexual. Songs like “I Can’t Get No” had obvious sexual overtones, and they helped place the Rolling Stones outside the pop genre and into the full fledged rock ‘n roll genre.
Additionally, the Rolling Stones used a keyboard in their instrumental lineup, unlike their Beatle counterparts. But, perhaps, the biggest difference between the two bands was how they evolved. As the Beatles aged, they began to experiment more and more with artificial sound in songs like “A Day in the Life” and “Yellow Submarine”. The Rolling Stone did not experiment in this manner. They simply progressed further and further into what is now known as classic rock. They merely built on top of what they had already created. Unlike the Beatles they did not try to use artificial sound to enhance their music. Their musical speciation is what truly marks the two bands greatest point of divergence.