The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are two of the greatest bands, not only in British history, but in rock history. Their first meeting is the stuff of legend. Here’s what went down when the two bands collided for the first time.
When the Beatles went to see the Rolling Stones
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones remembers when he was performing at the Crawdaddy Club in 1963 and noticed the Beatles in the audience. “Halfway through the set we kind of glanced up, and there were four silhouetted leather-clad persons standing just in front of the bandstand in amongst all these kids who were all dancing and playing around.” He remembered that the Fab Four were “being totally ignored by the audience.”
According to Slate, he elaborated “We’re playing a pub … and we’re whacking out our show and everybody’s having a good time, ya know? I suddenly turn around: there’s these four guys in black leather overcoats standing there. Oh f*ck me! Look who’s here!”
After noticing the Beatles, Wyman “turned round to Charlie [Watts], and I said, ‘It’s the Beatles!’ They’d had two or three big No. 1 hits and they were like the rave of England at that time.”
Where the night went from there
The Beatles also enjoyed seeing the Rolling Stones. George could feel the excitement of the crowd. “The audience screamed and shouted and danced on tables.” Ringo recalled “I remember standing in some sweaty room and watching them on the stage. Keith and Brian—wow! I knew then that the Stones were great.”
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Wyman continued “So when we finished our set, we got chatting to them and had beers, and they stayed for the second set. And afterwards we all went back to the flat in Chelsea, where Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] and Brian [Jones] lived, hung out all night playing blues music, just talking about music and became great mates.”
The Bealtes’ penchant for dressing alike made an impression on Mick Jagger. NME reports Paul McCartney said “We were an entity. Mick [Jagger] used to call us the four-headed monster. We would show up at places all dressed the same.”
How the two bands paid homage to each other
The Rolling Stones deeply appreciated the Beatles. In 2011, Paul said “I talked to Keith Richards a couple of years ago, and his take on it was: ‘Man, you were lucky, you guys, you had four lead singers,’ whereas the Rolling Stones only had one.” Richards apparently appreciated how each of the Beatles was a talented singer.
In a similar vein, the Beatles paid tribute to the Rolling Stones through the cover of their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. According to Vulture, the corner of the album features a doll with the slogan “Welcome the Rolling Stones” on it. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were two of the biggest rock bands ever. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t show appreciation for each other from time to time.