It is a debate that dates back to the 1960s: the Beatles versus the Stones. The boys next door versus the bad boys of rock. It is arguably classic rock’s biggest deliberation and it is likely you have an opinion, even if ever so slight, about which British musical sensation you’d pick if the Queen’s life depended on it. Opinion or not, you can’t deny that both groups have had a massive influence on music and pop culture and deserve some recognition.
The beauty of it all? You don’t technically have to pick a side even if you’re using the I-never-saw-either-group-live-so-I-can’t-make-a-fair-decision excuse. Because two rockin’ cover bands, Abbey Road and Satisfaction – The International Rolling Stones Show, are bringing their battle-of-the-bands performance to Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts.
“We alternate playing three mini sets per band,” Nate “John Lennon” Bott said. “The show highlights competition and kinship.” Sets are broken up with improvised repartee playing into the groups’ rivalry.
Bott, a member of team Beatles, argues their case: “They [the Beatles] just had an enormous impact on culture and more of an interest in the audience. It was a self-perpetuating force,” he contended. “Plus, they did it first. They were more innovators and the Stones were more emulators,” Bott said in a friendly jab at the bad boys of rock.
John Lennon wasn’t always as cordial about the competition. “I think it’s a lot of hype. I like Honky Tonk Woman, but I think Mick’s a joke, with all that fag dancing, I always did,” Lennon revealed in an interview published by Rolling Stone in 1971. Perhaps Lennon was just annoyed that the magazine wasn’t called Beatles.
Both bands work to keep their performances as authentic as possible.
“There are subtle mistakes all over the Beatles’ recordings. In All My Lovin’, Ringo forgets the form of the song and goes into the chorus beat by mistake,” Axel “Ringo Star” Clarke said in a press release. “Most people might not notice things like that, but it adds a level of authenticity and would feel weird if it wasn’t there.”
Satisfaction brings everything, from Keith Richard’s missing tooth to the Stones’ original costumes, to the stage. “We’ve done everything to present the music just like the original album versions,” Trey “Keith Richards” Garitty said.
Regardless of your preconceived notions about either group, the show will have you dancing and singing along. The performances take the audience on a journey through time from the early ’60s to the psychedelic ’70s, culminating with (spoiler alert!) the two bands coming together for the show’s encore.
But if Spotify is any judge, the Rolling Stones’ most popular song, Paint It, Black, has more than 83 million listens, compared to the Beatles’ 65-million-plus plays of Here Comes the Sun. Just saying …