Sir Paul McCartney has described the Rolling Stones as “a blues cover band” and claimed The Beatles tapped into a wider array of musical influences.
The singer said “our net was cast a bit wider than theirs” when it came to making music, in an apparent dig at the band popularly considered to be The Beatles’ rivals, but added: “I’m not sure I should say it.”
His comments, in an interview with The New Yorker, could provoke another response from Sir Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones’ frontman, after the pair traded words over their legacies in jest last year.
Sir Paul said in an interview with Howard Stern last April that the Stones were “rooted in the blues” and “The Beatles were better”, prompting Sir Mick to respond in a separate interview: “One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums and then the other band doesn’t exist.”
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – two of the most successful bands of all time – were often framed as feuding with each other during the 1960s but were actually on friendly terms.
In his latest interview, Sir Paul was questioned about the sophisticated compositions of many Beatles’ songs, which have drawn praise from experts on classical music.
Asked whether the band worked from a “broader range of musical language” than others such as the Stones, he replied: “I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are. I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”
It comes after Sir Paul this week blamed John Lennon for the demise of The Beatles in a separate interview with the BBC.
Sir Paul has often been viewed as the driving force behind the band’s split in 1970 after he revealed in a press release for his solo album that he was on a “break” from them.
But he told a forthcoming episode of BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life: “I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny. John walked into a room one day and said ‘I am leaving the Beatles’. And he said: ‘It’s quite thrilling, it’s rather like a divorce.’ And then we were left to pick up the pieces.
“The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko and he wanted … to lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace. You couldn’t argue with that.
“It was the most difficult period of my life. This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, I wanted it to continue. I thought we were doing some pretty good stuff – Abbey Road, Let It Be, not bad – and I thought we could continue.”