The iconic British band, The Rolling Stones, shot to fame around the same time as The Beatles in the 1960s. This led John Lennon, a prominent figure of The Beatles, to interact frequently with the Stones. While Lennon had a good rapport with the members, he often critiqued their music. He even suggested they drew inspiration from The Beatles and doubted whether the Stones’ music had the mettle to withstand the potential backlash of Mick Jagger’s marital status.
In the early days, Lennon had concealed his marriage to Cynthia, his girlfriend, fearing a potential dip in The Beatles’ popularity. But when the news finally emerged, it didn’t dent their stardom.
Lennon, as quoted in Ray Coleman’s biography, opined that The Beatles’ musical prowess was what made them resilient. He felt that more flamboyant bands, like The Rolling Stones, could see their fame crumble if their frontman decided to tie the knot. “Jagger’s stage charisma is akin to the legendary Charlie Chaplin’s. His marriage could potentially end the Stones,” Lennon remarked.
Contrary to Lennon’s views, The Beatles’ personal lives did affect their fan base. Wives of The Beatles, including Cynthia, Maureen Starkey, and Pattie Boyd, often faced hostile encounters with fans. Boyd recalled a daunting experience during a Beatles’ concert in London where fans resorted to physical aggression, shouting hateful words at her.
The Beatles’ relationships did irritate their fans
Lennon’s skeptical predictions about the Stones didn’t materialize. Despite Jagger’s marriage to Bianca in 1971, the band continued to thrive, even five decades later. Lennon’s critiques, some suggest, were influenced by his perceived rivalry with the Stones. Although Lennon and Jagger were amiable, Lennon was often critical, believing that Jagger sought to eclipse The Beatles with the Stones.
He notably criticized the Stones’ album ‘Satanic Majesties Request’, comparing it to ‘Sgt. Pepper’. Ironically, both Lennon and McCartney had contributed vocals to the Stones’ track ‘We Love You’, which Lennon later publicly lambasted. He felt the Stones lacked the originality that defined The Beatles.
However, as the 1970s rolled in, Lennon and Jagger’s relationship warmed, likely because The Beatles had disbanded, eliminating direct competition with the Rolling Stones.