Back in the early 1960s, The Rolling Stones knew they had to stand out by writing their own songs. However, as The Beatles took off with singles like Love Me Do, they knew they had to appeal as much as a pop band as a blues group.
Speaking in his episode of My Life as a Rolling Stone on BBC iPlayer, Keith Richards said: “We were working the clubs in London and The Beatles just came out and had a hit, Love Me Do. And we said, ‘Oh man, what a great record.”
Mick Jagger remembered: “The Beatles suddenly explode and there you are going, ‘Oh, yeah. But we’re a blues band. The Beatles changed this whole thing.”
Richards added: “Our job was to be like the premier rhythm and blues band in London and we managed that! But we had no idea of progressing beyond that stage.”
Richards admitted: “We were just envious, too, man, y’know? I mean, they’re doing what we want, y’know, they got it. They could make records. The Holy Grail was to make records, to be able to get into a studio. It was like diamonds. Y’know, you’d think it was a gold mine, which in a way it was, y’know what I mean? But you’d think you were invading Fort Knox just to make a record.”
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Richards added: “Without The Beatles, The Stones would never have been there. The reason The Stones existed or got made records was because the record industry couldn’t afford to lose another Beatles. We’d never have got into a recording studio without them. We’d have sold our souls just to be on tape, just to get on record, just to learn how records are made. Recording is, and still is to me, the most mysterious art.”
My Life as a Rolling Stone is streaming on BBC iPlayer.