Mick Jagger Gets Snarky About Paul McCartney’s ‘Blues Cover Band’ Dig at Stones’ L.A. Show
At the first of two Los Angeles-area concerts Thursday, Mick Jagger reeled off a list of celebrities, real and imagined, whom he said were attending the Rolling Stones ’ opening night at SoFi Stadium. And a remark about Paul McCartney left some fans puzzled, but others laughing, depending on how closely they’d been following music news this week — and, specifically, following fresh developments in the now-55-year-old Stones/ Beatles rivalry.
“There’s so many celebrities here tonight,” Jagger said early in the show. “Megan Fox is here, she’s lovely. Lady Gaga. Kirk Douglas. Paul McCartney is here; he’s going to help us — he’s going to join us in a blues cover later.” (Watch the video below.)
Much of the stadium audience cheered, not having quite gotten from the inclusion of the late Douglas in his list that Jagger had moved into a more jocular part of his celebrity rundown.
What Jagger was alluding to was a new profile of McCartney in the New Yorker magazine, in which the ex-Beatle told editor David Remnick: “I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are. … I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”
At least part of the audience was in on Jagger’s joke — and taking it very seriously. Going up the stairs on the way out of the stadium after the concert concluded, one fan tried to lead a chant of “Fuck the Beatles! Fuck the Beatles!” Meeting mostly quizzical titters, the biased fan then began repeating: “Paul McCartney is a fuckin’ wussy!”
The rivalry between the two rock legends has seemed somewhere between whimsical and dead-serious in recent years.
In 2020, McCartney had told Howard Stern, “Their stuff’s rooted in the blues. When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. Whereas we had a little more influences. There’s a lot of differences, but I love the Stones, but I’m with you. The Beatles were better.”
Jagger volleyed back in an interview with Zane Low of Apple Music. “There’s obviously no competition,” said Jagger, with some mock-pride, before getting earnest in adding: “The big difference, though, is and sort of slightly seriously, is that the Rolling Stones have been a big concert band in other decades and other eras when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system. They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.”
(For the benefit of those less historically inclined, the Stones did in fact start as a blues cover band, although they’d pretty well transcended that with fresh batches of all-original material by the mid-1960s.)
McCartney wasn’t the only one Jagger took a slight dig at in his short monologue Thursday night at SoFi.
“Governor Newsom is here,” the singer added, presumably still joking. There was some booing from the non-Democrat portions of the crowd (and/or the anti-lockdown portion; only about 10-20% of the crowd was wearing masks, as mandated by law). “You made it through the elections. Congratulations,” Jagger said, referring to Newsom surviving a recent recall vote. He added, “We’re so looking forward to a dinner at the French Launderette…”
That last quip was a probably deliberate mangling of the French Laundry, the restaurant in Yountville, Calif. where Newsom got in hot water in 2020 for being photographed at an indoor party at the peak of quarantine regulations without a mask on.