Fans of classic rock love that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were so close over the years, hanging out and collaborating on music. However, that friendship doesn’t mean the bands love everything the other one does. Keith Richards once shared the Beatles album that he thought was “rubbish.”
Which Beatles album did Keith Richards call ‘rubbish?’
In an interview with Esquire, the topic of the Beatles came up. And Richards didn’t hold back from giving his honest opinion.
“The Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles,” the guitar player explained. “But there’s not a lot of roots in that music. I think they got carried away. Why not? If you’re the Beatles in the ’60s, you just get carried away — you forget what it is you wanted to do. You’re starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it’s a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like Satanic Majesties — “Oh, if you can make a load of s—, so can we.”
Richards is referring to the Stones’ 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. The critics panned the album, and it did not spawn any radio hits.
Keith Richards’ thoughts on performing for screaming crowds
The guitar player also talked about what it was like to perform in the ’60s. At the time, rock ‘n’ roll was coming to the forefront of popular culture, and music was getting more experimental. One of the most notable aspects of performing? The screaming crowds.
“When you’re on the receiving end of it, it’s quite obvious it’s primal and sexual and beyond any reason,” Richards said of the screaming. “They certainly didn’t come for the music.”
He continued, “In those days, there were no PAs [large speaker systems]. And 3,000 screaming chicks could just wail you out of the whole place. Just looking at the crowd, you could see them dragging the chicks out, sweating, screaming, convulsing. Astonishing, even at that age.”
“At the same time, a whole roomful of chicks yelling at you is not so shabby, either,” Richards admitted. “Because the year before, nobody would look at you. But they talk about us — the Beatles, those chicks wore those guys out. They stopped touring in 1966 — they were done already. They were ready to go to India and s—.”
The influence of the blues on the Rolling Stones’ music
During the interview, Richards also discussed the influence blues music had on the Stones, and how they brought that sound to a whole new audience.
“I was having a conversation with Buddy Guy [noted guitar player] just a few days ago where he was very generously saying, ‘Thank God for you guys, because you really did save the blues in America. You brought it all back to life,’” Richards recounted.
“It was a great thing, because when we were just starting out in London, the idea was to bring Chicago blues to London,” the rock star continued. “We were a bit idealistic at the time — you know what kids are like — but no matter how bizarre it might sound, as a living or as an aim, that was it. We kind of did that in England, and then suddenly we found within a year or two that it was translating over to America — taking coal to Newcastle.”
Fans of the Beatles and the Stones were surprised to hear that Richards thought so poorly of one of the Beatles’ most popular and critically acclaimed albums, but it’s no surprise: Richards has always marched to the beat of his own drum.