The Rolling Stones were jealous of The Beatles because all four band members could sing whereas they were solely reliant on Mick Jagger, Sir Paul McCartney has disclosed.
The Beatle, who recently got engaged to American Nancy Shevell for what will be his third marriage, said the Stones used to call the band the “Four-headed Monster”.
In an interview published in the Radio Times today (tues), the 68-year-old musician said The Beatles formed in 1960 at just the right time to lead and influence pop music.
The Rolling Stones, which included guitarists Keith Richards, formed in 1962 and the rivalry between the two bands continued for decades.
Sir Paul said: “The four of us were unusual.
“I talked to Keith Richards recently… well, 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.
“I could sing, John could sing, George could sing and Ringo did numbers that he could sing. So it wasn’t just the front man and the back-up band.
“We were an entity. Mick used to call us the Four-headed Monster. We would show up at places all dressed the same.”
Sir Paul said The Beatles were also lucky in their timing in that they formed in the same year as national service was abandoned in Britain.
Ever since the end of the Second World War, school leavers had had to serve one, if not two, years of military service.
“One of the most amazing things for the Beatles is that we just missed it,” he said.
“A couple of years earlier, we would have been in the Army, and it’s very doubtful that The Beatles would have formed.
“We would have been at Aldershot, or wherever, in various camps, and might not have even met.”
Sir Paul said The Beatles had seen other successful British pop bands go to the US and fail, but were determined not to do so.
They did not tour in America until they had a number one hit in 1963 with I Want to Hold Your Hand.
“We saw a lot of British acts go to America, and come back not having had the great success we thought they would have.
“Because someone like Cliff Richard was really big over here so we thought, “He’ll kill them.”
“But he didn’t, and the explanation was: ‘No, they have that, they have plenty of sort of Elvis-type singers.’
“We were a bit surprised by that. But I remember my reaction: OK we have got to think about this…
“It was very clear in my mind. We cannot go there until we have cracked it with a record.”
Sir Paul said the band had borrowed inspiration from black American music to sound “original”, while many white people in the US had never heard the sounds.
“It turned a lot of white Americans on to that music, because we were big fans,” he said.
:: The interview will be played on Annie Nightingale: Bird on the Wireless BBC4 on Friday at 9pm
Last Updated: 05/23/11 21:15