Friday, August 25, 2006

The Beatles Are the Opposite of the Rolling Stones

As you know, Friday is Opposite Today here at Very Little Known Facts. And have we got a good one! Britt Bergman was on vacation this week, but Jon took up the challenge to present both sides of this classic debate.

JON SAYS: The Beatles Were Unbeatleable

From the unlikely industrial slums of Manchester came the single greatest skiffle band of all time. I'm talking, of course, about The Beatles.

It was a chilly and fateful October night when half-brothers John Lenin and Paul McCartney met by chance in an open mic competition at their local pub, ironically named the Sergeant Pepper. Neither won, but this chance meeting of scruffy commoners inevitably led to the formation of the band universally cited as the most influential of all time, The Small Faces. John and Paul decided to start a band as well which played shows in several German bars. After the tragic death of original drummer George Best, the group hit the big time with a cover of Chubby Checker's "Twist and Shout." The rest, as they say, and it is true in this case, is history.

The Beatles went on to invent the concept album, the double album, the triple album, the tribute album, Eastern philosophy, the keytar and three-part harmonies. Their seminal recording of "Revolution Number 9" was the first song broadcast live around the world via satellite phone. George Harrison grew a moustache. Five GOLD records later the best boy band ever broke up due to contract disputes between their manager Colonel Tom Parker and famous Asian girlfriend Yoko Ono. Although that was twenty years ago, us true fans will always hope for a reunion tour!

JON SAYS: They Should Have Been Called The Rocking Stones

With their signature “in your face” brand of what can only be called rock ‘n roll, the Rolling Stones became one of the greatest stadium rock bands of the Eighties, Nineties, and even the Aughts. But the road to success was paved with potholes for this coterie of British upper-crusters.

Few alive remember the turbulent Sixties, but this long-forgotten era gave birth to the aristocratic “mod” (short for “modified”) music scene and subsequently the Stones themselves. Rebelling against the casual dress styles and large motorcars of the bourgeoisie, the foppish “mods” dressed in fluffy, period costumes to ride scooters and mopeds around London’s Hyde Park district in a brash display of fashion and exhaust fumes. Founding member Brian Jones brought this “mod” sensibility to early singles like “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” two songs inspired by a (then) Very Little Known actress named Whoopi Goldberg. Sadly, Brian Jones drowned during a mass cult suicide in South America, but the Stones soldiered on with blue-bloods Keith Richards and Brian's cousin Sir Mick Jones at the helm. For fear of tarnishing his family’s noble reputation, Mick later changed his last name to—guess what? That’s right. Jagger.

What followed was a wild ride: hit songs, groupies, fame and fortune, drugs and alcohol. But, amazingly, high living took its toll. Axman Richards became increasingly jealous of singer Mick’s boyish good looks, his knighthood, and his alleged affair with notoriously androgynous crooner David Bowie. Keith eventually decided to become a junkie. Drummer Charlie Watts could only watch in horror as his auburn locks turned white from stress and grief. Bassist Bill Wyman quit the band some twenty-odd years later, replaced by Ron Wood.

Despite these setbacks, or maybe because of them, the Rolling Stones continue to be the best band of all time, bar none. A popular music magazine was named for the band. An obscure b-side named "Start Me Up" became the theme song for Apple Computers, finally earning the bankrupt patricians some much needed cash. Plus they have that cool tongue logo inspired by The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was recently voted the Best Tattoo of All Time.


i hate the beetles said...

the beetles were the new kids on the block of the sixties-and i mean that in all seriousness. while the velvet underground was singing about herion and urban problems-the beetles wanted to hold your hand. who would you have liked to have seen? if your answer is the beetles, i suggest you check out the boy bands of this day and age-they are analagous. i can't wait until the backstreet boys get into "eastern philosophy". then we will be full circle and i will be forced to kill myself.

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear i hate the beetles,

Thanks for your comment! There is a long history of famous "rockers" committing suicide, among them Kurt Cobain, Ian Curtis, Michael Hutchence and Ronnie Van Zant. David Bowie's seminal work "Rock 'n Roll Suicide" was inspired by the death of Janis Joplin. In any case, I'm glad to hear you are inspired by The Beatles and their positive message. Keep on rockin' in the free world, and thanks again for your comment.

Anonymous said...

The Beatles are a legend, im only 13 and i listen to their songs EVERY SINGLE DAY.if u listen to the music today, they are all love songs,and the artists are all jonASS brothers or some other pop singer,yuck.but the beatles,in their time, sang about the most random things.people say they were high when they wrote them, and that might be true, but they were unique and original!at first, it was all love songs, but they soon warmed up and made completely unique songs!sure, maybe "i am the walrus"makes absolutely no sense to me, but thats why i love it!