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Many people see the Rolling Stones as the greatest of all rock ‘n’ roll bands — but does Mick Jagger feel that way? The Beatles are often called the greatest rock band as well. What did Jagger have to say about the Fab Four’s claim to the title of the world’s greatest rock band?

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wearing suit jackets
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards | Keystone/Getty Images

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on the Rolling Stones’ relative greatness

The Rolling Stones were often introduced at their concerts as the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band. Was that Jagger’s idea? Did he like the Rolling Stones being lauded so highly?

“It’s just a stupid epithet,” Jagger told Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone in 1995. “It just seems too Barnum and Bailey to me – like it’s some sort of circus act. The first time we heard it said was to introduce us every night. So I used to say, ‘Will you please not use that as your announcement? It’s so embarrassing. And what does that mean? Does it mean the best, the biggest, the most long-lasting.’”

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

Within the same interview, Jagger admitted he didn’t like evaluating his past work much. Sometimes doing so left him satisfied, while other times he looked at his work as a waste of time.

Keith Richards didn’t seem to think too much of the idea either. He felt the identity of the world’s best rock band changed constantly “[O]n any given night, it’s a different band that’s the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world,” Richards told Rolling Stone in 1978.


Did Mick Jagger think the Beatles were the best rock band ever?

Well, which band was the world’s greatest rock band? The Beatles are a popular answer. It’s easy to argue they were great in terms of quality, popularity, and influence. Did Jagger believe the Fab Four were the best rock band around? In the aforementioned 1995 Rolling Stone interview, Jagger had a mix of praise and criticism for the Beatles.

“[A]s far as the modern-day world, they were not a great performing band,” Jagger opined. “But do they deserve the fantastic reputation? They were the Beatles. They were this forerunning, breakthrough item, and that’s hard to overestimate.” In addition, Jagger agreed with John Lennon’s famous assertion the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

“Hey Jude”

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How ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine ranked the Rolling Stones vs. the Beatles

What might a third party think of the matter? In a famous Rolling Stone article, the publication ranked the Rolling Stones as the fourth greatest artists of all time. In the same article, they ranked Elvis Presley third-best, Bob Dylan second-best, and the Fab Four as the best. The Rolling Stones might not be the best band ever — at least according to Jagger, Richards, and Rolling Stone — however, they remain highly regarded.