“Beatles Or Stones?” I’m one of those people who is definitely more Rolling Stones than Beatles. That’s not to say there aren’t Fab Four songs or albums I enjoy or even adore (White Album!), but The Stones suit my tastes and aesthetic preferences in music and art much more. The Stones have a classically debaucherous mythos attached to them and their vibe was always darker, nastier and convincingly Satanic compared to their Liverpool rivals. True: The Beatles certainly had their more nefarious moments (“Helter Skelter,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” The Butcher Cover and Aleister Crowley's appeance on the Sgt, Peppers' album sleeve), but I’m definitely more “Paint It Black” than “Good Day Sunshine.”
However, some people still believe The Beatles held the keys to the infernal gates of Hell. Certainly several of my teenage Goth-Pop icons saw a dark thread in the Beatles' work (or maybe it was just their genius for unforgettable melodies – those do help bands cross-over!) Siouxsie Sioux’s devotion to the Fab Four turned out two great covers; first, an incendiary and punked-out “Helter Skelter” on the Banshees’ 1978 debut Scream:
...and the band scored one of their biggest International hits with their lush 1983 reading of “Dear Prudence.”
And the ultimate in Beatles gothic tribute/piss-taking is awarded to Slovenian Industrial-rock godfathers Laibach. In 1988 the group released a camp-yet-dry, near track-by-track cover album of The Beatles’ swansong Let It Be (strangely omitting the title-track). The band even scored a somewhat hit with their oddlly lovely rendition of “Across The Universe.”
The Beatles do ultimately get mega-points from me for saving their namesake and legacy from tarnish by disbanding before the 1970’s could force them into coked-out disco and before the 80’s could force them into ill-advised fluorescent suits and Aqua-net do’s, just like my preferred Stones.
With that said, I am genuinely excited about revisiting and reappraising The Beatles' Catalog when brand-spanking-new remastered editions (especially those limited Mono mixes!) are released on the ominous date of 9/9/09.