Throughout their six-decade-long musical career, the Rolling Stones have defined rock and roll. The Stones, along with their contemporaries from the mid-1960s such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Eric Clapton, and Van Morrison, have maintained a permanent place in music history, greatly influencing generations of musicians. Fans have long debated whether the Beatles or the Rolling Stones are the scene’s most influential figures. Nonetheless, there was friendly competition between the two bands, with each claiming to be superior. Lemmy Kilmister, it would appear, also had something to say about this comparison, as well as criticism for the Rolling Stones.
What element of the Rolling Stones did Lemmy Kilmister dislike? During the 1970s, the comparison between the Rolling Stones and the Beatles was a hot topic. Since the 1960s, although both bands respect one another, they have been engaged in a verbal battle. However, this was a friendly rivalry, and over the years they always became friends. Lemmy Kilmister was active in the British music scene from 1960 until his death, during which time the Beatles and the Stones dominated the decade. In his 2004 autobiography, “White Line Fever,” Kilmister also weighed in on the debate and revealed his thoughts on this comparison that spans decades.
Kilmister referred to the Rolling Stones as “mummy’s boys” who were college students from the outskirts of London. The musician then stated that they went to London to starve themselves and cultivate “an aura of disrespectfulness.” In addition, Kilmister argued that the Stones were never comparable to the Beatles in terms of wit, originality, songs, or stage presence. According to the Motorhead icon, Mick Jagger’s dance moves were the band’s only asset. Kilmister argued that although the Stones contributed to the music scene with outstanding recordings, they were not good live. However, he believed that the Beatles were more notable in this regard.
In his autobiography, Lemmy Kilmister wrote the following about the Rolling Stones and the Beatles: “The Rolling Stones were the children of the mummy. They were all college students from London’s suburbs. They chose to starve themselves in London in order to give themselves an air of disgrace. I did enjoy the Stones, but they were in no way comparable to the Beatles in terms of wit, originality, songs, or presentation. They only had Mick Jagger dancing around. True, the Stones made great records, but they were consistently terrible live, while the Beatles were the gear.” So, it appears that Lemmy Kilmister was not a fan of the band exploiting Jagger’s showmanship. He believed that the Stones lacked the Beatles’ humor, originality, songs, and presentation. In contrast, the Stones frontman argued that their stage performances and dances make them superior to the Beatles.