When The Beatles wrote a hit song for The Rolling Stones

Pepsi versus Coca-Cola, Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, Tom versus Jerry, Mods versus Rockers, Sherlock Holmes versus Professor Moriarty, Bette Davis versus Joan Crawford, Elton John versus, well everyone else.

Above is just a small handful of some of the most notorious rivalries within the pantheon of popular culture. Pick your side.

One of the most famous conflicts throughout the past century, however, has undoubtedly been between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Both era-defining bands spearheaded the British Invasion during the 1960s and dominated charts around the world.

Even to this day, the rivalry rumbles on – if you mention either band in passing conversation, someone will undoubtedly ask: “So, are you a Beatles or a Stones fan?”

The British music titans were seemingly always at loggerheads, at least to their fans, and were forever compared to one another, albeit unfairly.

But the bands themselves never felt such competition. In fact, The Beatles even helped The Rolling Stones make their breakthrough.

In 1963, the Fab Four handed over a song to the spritely blues band from London, after a chance meeting between the band’s two principal songwriters.

The song ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ was originally penned by Paul McCartney, and it was finished off in the studio by John Lennon whilst Macca was chatting in the same room with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

According to music historian Bill Janowitz, The Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham “had almost literally bumped into Lennon and McCartney as they stepped out of a cab”, and dragged them into the studio to meet his band.

After a cordial chat, the subject of the Stones not releasing any original music cropped up, and McCartney had quite literally written ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’.

The pair had been working on the song earlier at De Lane Lea Studio coincidentally, so they tried it out.

Jagger later recalled the happening, saying: “We knew [the Beatles] by then, and we were rehearsing and Andrew brought Paul and John down to the rehearsal.”

“They said they had this tune, they were really hustlers then. I mean, the way they used to hustle tunes was great: ‘Hey Mick, we’ve got this great song’.”

“So they played it and we thought it sounded pretty commercial, which is what we were looking for, so we did it like Elmore James or something,” Mick continued.

‘I haven’t heard it for ages but it must be pretty freaky ’cause nobody really produced it. It was completely crackers, but it was a hit and sounded great onstage.”

Macca later explained it was more along the lines of that he’d written ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, but he didn’t think it was good enough to include on The Beatles’ next album.

Widely considered their breakthrough moment, The Rolling Stones released the song on 1st November 1963 and it reached No.12 in the UK charts.

Despite claiming it wasn’t adequate for The Beatles, the Liverpudlians still released it themselves only weeks later with Ringo Starr on lead vocals.

In 2016, he said: “We were friends with them, and I just thought ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ would be good for them. I knew they did Bo Diddley stuff. And they made a good job of it.”

John Lennon, perhaps typically, was a little more cutting about the track itself and why they handed it over to their London counterparts.

“It was a throwaway,” he said. “The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it: We weren’t going to give them anything great, right?”

Bit harsh, but it seems that The Beatles had a hand in transforming The Rolling Stones into a commercially and critically acclaimed band to rival them, and Lennon wasn’t best pleased about it.

After his comments, The Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman bit back himself, saying: “We kind of learned it pretty quickly ’cause there wasn’t that much to learn.”

“Then Brian [Jones] got his slide out, his steel (guitar) out and dadaw … dadaw … and we said, ‘Yeah, that’s better, dirty it up a bit and bash it out’, and we kind of completely turned the song around and made it much more tough, Stones- and Elmore James-like.”

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