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The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock 'n' Roll Rivalry Hardcover – October 16, 2010

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review, October 13, 2010
“This absolutely beautiful coffee table-sized hardcover is well-researched and comes with hundred of stunning photos of both bands."

About the Author

Greg Kot has been the Chicago Tribune's rock music critic since 1990. He co-hosts the nationally syndicated rock 'n' roll talk show Sound Opinions ( on public radio and is the author of Wilco: Learning How to Die and Ripped: The Digital Music Revolution.


Jim DeRogatis is the former pop music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, co-host of Sound Opinions, and the author of several books about music and culture, including Velvet Underground (Voyageur Press) and Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs.



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press; First edition (October 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760338132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760338131
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.8 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Chicago Bookworm on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I must agree with the earlier reviewer who wished for a more energetic debate between the authors on the merits of the Beatles and Stones. Too often this felt like a point-counterpoint without enough light or heat to keep it engaging. The book is an interesting read and represents a good effort overall. Readers new to the bands will learn a lot worth knowing about the musicians in each group, and readers familiar with the bands will find much to agree and disagree with. I can't help being disappointed, though, since this subject could be treated with so much more passion and depth.

I live in Chicago and enjoy DeRogatis' and Kot's radio show "Sound Opinions." It's clear that they enjoy working together, but what makes for a good radio show doesn't necessarily make for the best book. That both lean more Stones-ward, as they state in the introduction, helps explain why the book feels as if it's straining to be even-handed. I admire their ambition to assess the two bands' work impartially, but I ended up wishing they'd either written a manifesto about why they prefer the Rolling Stones overall or that they'd enlisted a major Beatles fan to write the counterpoint. A lot of what they conclude is already pretty widely accepted (the Stones were a better live band, the Beatles were better singers, etc.). I found the more surprising claims to be most interesting, even when I disagreed -- for example, "Their Satanic Majesties' Request" is, in my opinion, in no way as good as, let alone better than, "Sgt. Pepper's," but I enjoyed reading about how that claim could be made. I greatly prefer the Beatles to the Stones, but I think I'd learn more from hearing DeRogatis and Kot declaim their love for the Stones than from hearing them duly giving the Beatles credit.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Conn on October 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despite the slightly generic format of the cover, which suggests a simplistic run-through of the cliches of the Beatles/Stones rivalry, veteran critics Jim Derogatis & Greg Kot offer truly insightful and detailed assessments of what made both bands great, where they came up short, and in what areas one band was better than the other (for ex. Beatles judged better singers and McCartney a better bass player than the Stones Bill Wyman, but Exile On Main Street wins the double album competition and the Stones generally more exciting performers if less innovative than the Beatles). The book is done as a dialogue between the writers, too intelligent to descend into 'No, I'm right!' argumentation, but soundly analyzing the merits of the music and their impact on the world at large. Plus, some great photographs of the bands in the studio and in the world, a large number of which I hadn't seen before, and I've read quite a few Beatles and Stones books in my time.

My only reservation is their claim that the Stones have descended into self-parody by continuing to tour, and their fall back on the old cliche that their 70's work (which is actually quite rich and experimental) marked a steep decline, as if the clock should have stopped at 1969 for both bands and the Stones deepening experience hasn't made them the top concert entertainers of the century.

In all, a fun book to own for everyone who always had the 'who's better?' question about the Beatles and Stones bobbing into their thoughts on a regular basis.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TheBandit VINE VOICE on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you happen to be a huge Beatles fan, you may have a friend or two who argues that they really weren't all they were cracked up to be. Likewise, you might be a Rolling Stones devotee always trying to argue their superiority to your Beatlefan friends. Or maybe you are one of many who like both groups, and are fascinated by the differences in their music.

Whatever the case, this book will be a fun conversation piece. It's a hardcover coffee table book with a cool lenticular cover. The book is loaded with photos - many of which are pretty rare. The authors are both experienced rock critics who share a mutual respect for both bands.

At times the book is almost diplomatic to a fault. It's not like one author is a rabid Beatlemaniac and the other is a Stones fanatic. Early in their respective forewards, the authors (neither of who are old enough to have been first-generation fans, but rather came of musical age during the '70s) both admit their bias towards the Stones. But as they examine the bands in a variety of contexts, they never denigrate one group or the other. I almost wish there had been a tad bit more passion - even righteous indignation (which has been the case many a time in my own debates with friends about this topic). But they are informed about their subject matter and intent on being as fair as reasonably possible.

So who do they think had the better guitarists? And what about the better bassist, McCartney or Wyman? How about the drummers, was Ringo better than Charlie or vice-versa? Giving away their conclusions would be dirty pool. If you're intrigued, get the book and find out. Again, if you have a lot of music-loving friends and you set this out on the coffee table, it will spark discussion and maybe a few arguments.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tom Comfort on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Greatly enjoyed the book and love reading both authors reviews. Thus, I was surprised to see these two first rate music critics make a number of factual errors related to the Stones. For instance, Keith and Anita were never legally married. The "marriage" is mentioned a few times and the error jumps off the page. Also, Charlie Watts did not play drums on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" - producer Jimmy Miller did (as well as the cowbell on Honky Tonk Women"). Further, "Waiting on a Friend" was written and recorded during the Goats Head Soup sessions, thus really does not belong an Kott's beyond "Some Girls" list of songs as it's a Taylor era number. While splitting hairs, "Start Me Up' was first recorded during the "Some Girls" sessions as a reggae song and turned in to it's current version thereafter.

I also was at the Soldier Field show referenced whereby it was claimed the Stones played all but one of the songs from the "Some Girls" album that day. To my fading memory, this is inaccurate as they did not do "Some Girls", "Before the Make Me Run" or "Lies". Another misstep is the Keith Richards - The Human Riff best of list - Taylor, not Keith, played the riff/rhythm on Bitch. And the words to "Before They Make Me Run" are wrong - the verse ends with house, not with "that I can see".

Speaking of Keith/Taylor/Sticky Fingers and detail you'd like to see covered, while both Sway and Moonlight Mile are covered in the book to some degree, especially Moonlight, there's no mentioned that Keith did not play on either song.
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