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.


  1. Carolann
    August 31, 2010

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    I’m a Long Islander living in the South… refreshing to hear your take on everything. Thanks.

  2. Emile Dalkey
    January 31, 2011

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    I beg to differ on one small point. I find Abbey Road nauseating. The Beatles in the studio kinda, the Stones better live no question. I stand by Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed being better than any albums anyone else ever put out, and finally, guys, the REAL answer to that asinine question is “The Who”. Always shuts the questioner up immediately.

  3. Gail
    May 23, 2011

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    I agree with your “safe” two part answer, but really it’s no question: The Beatles all the way, man.

  4. Ara
    December 12, 2011

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    the archival video on YouTube of the boys at Shea is pretty strong.
    P.S. your Tweet of this post shows up in flipboard as viagra spam.

  5. Jake
    December 13, 2011

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    For the definitive answer, check out: http://bit.ly/ooxhUL

  6. Bob
    December 13, 2011

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    The Kinks.

  7. Wilberforce
    January 5, 2012

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    Not to be overly argumentative, but I’d say Beattles, because the Stones ripped off the Blues a bit too obviously and made a bucket of cash doing it.

  8. patrick
    February 15, 2012

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    I agree with The Who as the appropriate answer.

    Also… you’re “not hear” ?

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