It was 50 years ago Sunday (April 14th, 1963) that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones first met. The Beatles, who were new on the scene in London, had heard about the group through word of mouth, and were in the audience at the Stones’ show in Richmond at the Crawdaddy Club at the Station Hotel. Shortly thereafter, George Harrison personally recommended that Decca Records — the same label that had passed on the Beatles — sign a deal with the still-unknown Stones.
In 1988 when Mick Jagger inducted the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he recalled first laying eyes on the group while on stage, remembering that, “We were playing a little club in Richmond and I saw right in front of me, there they were — THE FAB FOUR. The four-headed monster. They never went anywhere alone. And they had on the most beautiful long, black leather trench coats.” Jagger joked that, “I thought to myself, ‘If I have to learn to write songs to get one of those, I will.’”
The two bands, which were pegged as being rivals in the rock press, were actually very close. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the Stones’ second single, “I Wanna Be Your Man” — which the Stones chose as their opening number last December at the kick-off of their 50 & Counting shows. Throughout the ’60s, McCartney and Jagger coordinated their record release schedules and staggered their releases, so that they wouldn’t have overlapping hits which would force fans to pick one band over the other.