Mick Jagger took time out while promoting the Rolling Stones' new single “Living In A Ghost Town” to respond to old friend Paul McCartney's comments that the Beatles were a better band than the Stones. McCartney had made the comment at the urging of Howard Stern while dialing in to the shock jock to update him on how he was spending his self-quarantine.
During a new chat with Apple Music, Jagger explained why the Beatles and Stones are actually different types of bands — rather than labeling one better or worse: “The Rolling Stones have been a big concert band in other decades and other eras, when the Beatles never ever did an arena tour. y'know, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system; they broke up before that even. . . That business started, the touring business, for real, didn't start till the end of the '60s. The first tour like that — for us — was 1969, so there was real sound, your own sound systems, y'know, your own stage, your own stage surface — touring that around America. Going to hockey, basketball arenas — looking all the same, all the same size, so every night was. . . So, that business started in 1969 and the Beatles never experienced that.”
Jagger went on to talk about how the Beatles — who played their share of arenas and stadiums, but had quit the road by 1966 — missed out on the maturation of the touring business that bands like the Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, and Grand Funk Railroad helped redefine as the 1970's were underway: “They played — and they did a great gig, and I was there at Shea Stadium — they did that stadium gig, but y'know, we weren't, the Stones went on, we started doing stadium gigs in the '70s — and still doing them now. So, y'know, that's the real big difference between these two bands. One band is unbelievably, luckily still playing in stadiums and the other band doesn't exist.”