Paul McCartney brands The Rolling Stones “a blues covers band”

Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones
(Image credit: Jim Dyson / Kevin Mazur / Getty)

Paul McCartney has dismissed The Rolling Stones as a blues covers band in a new interview with The New Yorker.

Speaking to the publication around the launch of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back documentary, the songwriter said, “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.”

The Beatles vs Stones debate has rumbled since the '60s and often been mutually beneficial for the rock legends. Even last year, McCartney was making similar comments to Howard Stern, telling the DJ, “When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences.” Though he still admitted they’re a “great, great band.”

Mick Jagger took it well at the time, telling Zane Lowe in response: “That’s so funny. He’s a sweetheart. [But] there’s obviously no competition… The big difference, though, is and sort of slightly seriously, is that The Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas when The Beatles never even did an arena tour… They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.”

In the same piece with The New Yorker, McCartney also discusses an unfinished John Lennon song, Now and Then, which he says he still intends to complete. 

The track was one of three passed on by Yoko Ono to the surviving Beatles after Lennon’s death. The band finished off the other two: Free As A Bird and Real Love, releasing them in the '90s. 

The final track was reportedly once described by George Harrison as “fucking rubbish”, but The New Yorker reports “McCartney wants to fill out the last of them”, so perhaps there’s one more Lennon-McCartney song in the works…

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.