Beatles vs. Stones
Simon and Schuster 2013
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network September 14, 2015 Matthew Raffety
John McMillian‘s Beatles vs. Stones (Simon and Schuster, 2013) presents a compelling composite biography of the two seminal bands of the 1960s, examining both the myth-making and reality behind the great pop rivalry. More than just a history of the bands, Beatles vs. Stones explores the complex role both groups played in popular culture during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Although the “feud” was initially fodder for fan magazines and publicity stunts, as the bands and their audiences matured musically and politically, the divide came to reflect many of the key cultural divisions of the age. McMillian charts the makeover of the leather-clad Beatles from their early days in Germany to the “four loveable lads” who became an international sensation, and then that of the Rolling Stones, initially styled similarly to the Beatles, but quickly rebranded as their bad-boy antithesis.
Beatles vs. Stones takes a critical look at both the actual artists and the image they portrayed, delving lucidly into the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as business concerns, as cultural phenomena, and as artists often bewildered and at times disturbed by the cultural impact they themselves could not control.
A noted scholar of the New Left and the underground papers of the 1960s, McMillian currently serves as Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University. He is also the author of 2011’s Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media America, co-editor of two volumes, The Radical Reader and The New Left Revisited, and is the editor of the journal The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture.