‘The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones’ fun but wildly subjective

Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot
The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones
Voyageur Press, 978-0-7603-3813-1, Hardcover, 192 pages, $35

By Gillian G. Gaar

It’s not giving anything away to say that no one comes out a winner in the Beatles/Stones debate in this book; the authors tell you that themselves in the preface. This book is more about enjoying the conversation between the two writers as various aspects of each group come under critical reassessment; who had the better singers, how does each group compare instrumentally, which double album is stronger, “Exile On Main St.” or “The Beatles.”

It’s wildly subjective (the listing of best books on the groups fails to rate Philip Norman’s fine biographies on the Beatles and Stones), which is part of the fun — and quite likely the starting point for new debates between you and your friends. But as both authors are fans themselves (DeRogatis says “I really don’t want to know anyone who doesn’t believe that ‘Exile on Main St.’ is a masterpiece), it’s a critique done with great affection. The book is also laid out nicely with a great selection of photos, including many lesser seen ones.

This book is less a history and more a historical perspective on why both of these bands remain important.

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