Who Sang It: The Rolling Stones or The Beatles?

By: Staff

"What would you think if I sang out of tune / Would you stand up and walk out on me?"

The Beatles tune, "With a Little Help From My Friends," was written by Lennon and McCartney and sung by Ringo Starr for the album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In 1968, it won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards.

"I look inside myself and see my heart is black/ I see my red door I must have it painted black"

Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones played the sitar on the hit, “Paint it Black.” It was released on the U.S. version of the 1966 album, "Aftermath," but not the U.K. version of the same album.

"Say you don't need no diamond ring and I'll be satisfied / Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can't buy"

"Can't Buy Me Love" was Paul McCartney's attempt to write a "bluesy mode." It was The Beatles' sixth single. It was also on the album, "A Hard Day's Night."

"Graceless lady you know who I am / You know I can't let you slide through my hands"

"Wild Horses" remains one of the most popular songs at The Rolling Stones live shows. It's so popular that over 100 different popular artists have made it part of their concert set lists at various times since it was released in 1971 .

"You have found her, now go and get her / Remember to let her into your heart"

The song, “Hey Jude,” was written by Paul McCartney for John Lennon’s 5-year old son, Julian, when the boy’s parents—John and Cynthia Lennon—were divorcing. It's often considered one of the best songs of all time by music critics.

"Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be / There’s a shadow hanging over me"

Paul McCartney claimed that while he was touring Paris with The Beatles, he tumbled out of bed and the lyrics for “Yesterday” popped into his head. It is believed to have been performed over seven million times in the past century--a statistic compiled by BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated.)

"Yeah, all your sickness / I can suck it up / Throw it all at me"

Bette Midler did a cover version of the 1978 song, “Beast of Burden,” in 1983, and Mick Jagger had a cameo appearance in her video. The song was from the album, "Some Girls."

"You know it's up to you / I think it's only fair / Pride can hurt you too / Apologize to her"

The Beatles' song, "She Loves You," with its "yeah, yeah, yeah" hook, was one of the biggest hits of 1963. It was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

"My riches can't buy everything / I want to hear the children sing / All I hear is the sound / Of rain falling on the ground"

The sound of rain was mentioned in The Rolling Stones tune, "As Tears Go By." It was first released by British artist, Marianne Faithful, in 1964. The Rolling Stones released their version the following year.

"I'm not ashamed to come and plead with you, baby / If pleadin' keeps you from walkin' out the door"

If you had the song titles along with the lyrics, this would have been an easy matchup. It's from the Rolling Stones song, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." It was originally written (and released) by The Temptations in 1966.

"How I do all the pleasing with you, it's so hard to reason / With you, whoa yeah, why do you make me blue"

"Please Please Me," by The Beatles was, according to John Lennon, an attempt to write a Roy Orbison song. It's also the name (and on) the Beatles' first studio album.

"Oh, Angie, don't you weep, all your kisses still taste sweet / I hate that sadness in your eyes"

"Angie" is one of the most popular ballads The Rolling Stones put out. It was released in 1973, and topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, among many other music charts worldwide.

"There's no time to lose, I heard her say / Catch your dreams before they slip away"

"Ruby Tuesday" was written by Keith Richards and was released by The Rolling Stones in 1967. It was included on the U.S. version of the album, "Between the Buttons."

"For people and things that went before / I know I'll often stop and think about them / In my life I love you more"

"In My Life" was, according to an interview with Playboy in 1980, the first song John Lennon wrote about his life. It was released by The Beatles in 1965.

"Is there nothing I can say / Nothing I can do / To change your mind / I'm so in love with you"

"Emotional Rescue" appears on The Rolling Stones album of the same name, released in 1980. It was their 17th U.S. studio album.

"Think of what you're saying / You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright"

John Lennon told an interviewer in 1980 that the positive lyrics of "We Can Work It Out" were the Paul McCartney elements, and the more impatient words were his. It was released in 1965.

"Outside the door, she took four more / What a drag it is getting old"

The Rolling Stones song, "Mother's Little Helper," focuses on the use of Valium by housewives in the 1960s. It was released as a single in 1966, and the B-side was "Lady Jane."

"But if you try sometimes well you might find / You get what you need"

It's true, as Mick Jagger famously sings, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." But even a passing knowledge of The Rolling Stones would probably net you a correct answer on this one. Rolling Stone magazine called it the 100th best song of all time.

"The sun is up, the sky is blue / It's beautiful and so are you"

The 1968 Beatles song, "Dear Prudence," is about Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence. A successful cover of the song was released by Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1983.

"War, children, it's just a shot away / It's just a shot away"

For "Gimme Shelter," vocalist Merry Clayton was called in the middle of the night to join Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the studio, and took her place in musical history in just three short takes. It was partly inspired by the turmoil of the late 1960s, including the war in Vietnam.

"Little darling / It’s been a long, cold lonely winter"

The Beatles’ George Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” in Eric Clapton’s garden using one of Clapton’s acoustic guitars. It was on the 1969 album, "Abbey Road."

"I stuck around St. Petersburg / When I saw it was time for a change"

“Sympathy for the Devil” perpetuated the titillating image of the Stones as bad boys, as opposed to the clean-cut Beatles. It was great marketing for the band. It was the first track on the album, "Beggars Banquet," released in 1968.

"He roller coaster / He got early warning / He got muddy water"

John Lennon came up with “Come Together” while trying to write a campaign song for Timothy Leary’s unsuccessful California gubernatorial run. It was the first trick on "Abbey Road."

"Someone to love / Somebody new / Someone to love / Someone like you"

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote “Love Me Do” when they were 17 and 16, respectively. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. This song was their very first single.

"When I’m driving in my car / And the man comes on the radio"

Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards woke up in a hotel room with the guitar riff from “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” playing in his head. He quickly recorded it on a portable tape deck before catching a few more winks.

"Waits at the window, wearing the face / That she keeps in a jar by the door"

The Beatles didn’t play any of the string instruments on “Eleanor Rigby.” The now-indelible refrains were played by a string octet that included four violinists, two cellists and two members who played violas.

"Yeah French girls they want Cartier / Italian girls want cars"

"Some Girls," a song by The Stones' Keith Richards, was reportedly written about the band's groupies and the band members' perpetual battle to remember their names. It's also the name of the 1978 album.

"My eyes dilate, my lips go green / My hands are greasy, she’s a mean, mean machine"

Microsoft reportedly paid $3 million to use the 1981 song, “Start Me Up,” for their Windows ’95 advertising campaign, although rumors once had the figure as high as $14 million. It was on the album, "Tattoo You."

"We’ll work it on out honey / Work it on out / You know you look so good"

The 1963 hit, “Twist and Shout,” returned to the charts 23 years later at No. 23. It was the same year the song was used in the popular movies: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Back To School."

"For though they may be parted / There is still a chance that they will see"

Aretha Franklin was actually first to release “Let It Be” in January 1970, two months before The Beatles released their version. It was also the title track of their final album.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Tributeshow via YouTube

About This Quiz

While both bands hailed from the United Kingdom and were part of the so-called "British Invasion" of the United States in the 1960s, their trajectories couldn't be more different. 

Almost unbelievably, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the rest of The Rolling Stones are still touring over 50 years after they formed, in 1962. In fact, in 2019, they began yet another tour, "No Filter," and they were still selling-out stadiums worldwide. Their longevity speaks to how much their music has been appreciated for decades (and generations) of listeners.

In contrast, the Beatles released their last album in 1970, and only toured through the 1960s. In fact, they only released 12 studio albums, but are still one of the most loved bands of all time.

Both bands deeply influenced how people worldwide experienced popular music. Whether it was the way that The Rolling Stones made an indelible mark on the genre of rock'n'roll, or the way the Beatles experimented with sound and expectations with albums like, "The White Album," it's impossible to overstate their influence on pop culture and music.

If you consider yourself a devoted fan of either of these bands, take this quiz to find out how well you can identify each band with only song lyrics to guide your choice!



About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!