Our leading export to the rest of the world continues to be Lame American Guys. And one thing that certain LAGs enjoy is asking ridiculous questions such as this.
In a 2004 interview with GQ magazine, Candidate John Kerry was asked this very question. And shocking as it may seem, JK could not give a direct answer. I’m not saying it cost him the election, but it did help prove that as a candidate the good senator was Clark Kent without a phone booth.
But I’m not hear to beat up on John Kerry. I’m here to help you handle the triflin’ fool who would dare impose such heretical inquiry. Those unimaginative LAGs who would perpetrate this classic-rock-Sophie’s Choice and make you choose sides. How’s a real lover of music like you supposed to answer a question like this while still resisting the urge to smack the Philistine who would have you pronounce “who’s better?”
Easy. Here’s your reply.
“Beatles Studio. Stones Live.”
Trust me. It happens to be the truth, you get to have it both ways, and it shows that you know what you’re talking about. It also helps stimulate good conversation on those 600 different official live versions of “Satisfaction.”.
The Beatles ceased touring well before they stopped recording albums, while the Stones continue to be a terrific live act years after having abandoned any kind of consistent studio work.
By the way – my vote for best Live Stones record? The critics will say ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out,’ but let me recommend the semi-live Stripped, from 1995.
There really is no great live Beatles record, but unlike The Stones, they never released a weak studio album.
However, if you have the time and want to collect some great live Beatles tracks, go for the following solo albums to begin your collection.
John – Live in New York City, Live Peace In Toronto, and the live tracks he did with Elton that appear on the Lennon Box Set. It’s the only time he ever did ‘Lucy In The Sky’ live, and their cover of Paul’s ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ is a marvel.
Paul – MTV Unplugged, The Official Bootleg, Tripping The Live Fantastic, and don’t be afraid of Wings over America.
George – You should already own ‘Concert for Bangla-Desh.’ But treat yourself to ‘Live In Japan,’ the 2-disc document of his final (and only post-70s) tour, a monthlong run that featured Clapton & his band as sublime backup. And if enough people buy it, perhaps Olivia will finally release a DVD.
Ringo – VH1 Storytellers. Actually rather charming.
There are enough classic Beatle tracks covered live on the above records to create the live concert file your itunes needs.
Most of my favorite Live Beatles tracks are still bootlegged. And I can’t recommend those. That would be wrong.