Ever since the British Invasion rocked America in the early 1960s, rock fans have debated which band is better: the mop-topped Beatles with their poppy tunes about peace and love. Or the rugged Rolling Stones, whose songs celebrated just about every kind of excess invented. And the debate will continue raging on since there's no way to actually prove which group is better.
Or is there? One way to settle the argument would be to compare a song recorded by both bands. And that happened early in their careers, when the Stones were struggling to find a decent song for their second single and The Beatles were in the business of penning tracks for other bands.
In 1963, Andrew Loog Oldham, who managed the Stones from 1963 to 1967, invited John Lennon and Paul McCartney to stop by the studio where Mick Jagger, Keith Richards et al. were trying to figure out their follow up to their first single - a cover of Chuck Berry's Come On. While there, the two Beatles finished the lyrics for I Wanna Be Your Man and gave it to the Stones.
The Beatles also took a stab at the track, recording it for their sophomore album - With The Beatles (1963). In the Stones' corner, Mick Jagger snarls the lyrics "I wanna be your lover baby, I want to be your man." While in the Fab Four's corner, Ringo Starr - who turns 76 today - sings the same words in a gentler fashion.
There's also a striking difference in the use of instruments. Former Stones guitarist Bill Wyman later said that the group added a few touches so that the tune would fit the band's edgy style.
"We kind of learned it pretty quickly 'cause there wasn't that much to learn. Then Brian [Jones] got his slide out, his steel [guitar] out...and we said, 'Yeah, that's better, dirty it up a bit and bash it out,' and we kind of completely turned the song around and made it much more tough."
So can the song settle which group's the best? Lennon would likely disagree since he thought little of the track. "It was a throwaway," he told Playboy in 1980. "The only two versions of the songs were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it: We weren't going to give them anything great, right?"
But have a listen to see if the track changes your opinion of which band is better.
Banner image: The Rolling Stones at Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee, USA, performing at Summerfest festival on June 23, 2015, (wikipedia.org)
Banner image: Paul McCartney, Saturday 19 April 2014, Centenario Stadium, Montevideo, Uruguay. (jikatu / Flickr.com)