Paul McCartney calls The Rolling Stones a “blues cover band”

He’s made similar remarks before about the Fab Four's contemporaries.

Paul McCartney has repeated his assertion that The Beatles’ musical influences were more diverse than their contemporaries The Rolling Stones, calling the latter a “blues cover band.”

McCartney made the comment in a new interview with The New Yorker, ahead of the release of the new Peter Jackson-directed documentary Get Back.

It’s important to note, especially in a guitar publication, that being just a “blues cover band” isn’t inherently negative. However, McCartney clarified his point of comparison, suggesting that The Beatles were working with a much larger set of influences.


“I think [The Beatles’] net was cast a bit wider than theirs,” he explained.

The comment came after a discussion of The Beatles’ musical complexity, with the New Yorker story noting that “even classical mavens were impressed” with the band’s grasp of harmony, melody and songcraft, citing a time when composer Ned Rorem analysed the Fab Four’s songs in The New York Review Of Books. Here, There And Everywhere was compared to Monteverdi’s A Un Giro Sol, and Michelle to the works of Francis Poulenc.

McCartney has made similar statements before, most recently in 2020, when he told Howard Stern: “[The Rolling Stones] are rooted in the blues. When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences … There’s a lot of differences, and I love The Stones, but I’m with you.”

“The Beatles were better,” he concluded.