The Who Vs The Rolling Stones

April 9, 2023

50+ Years In The Music Business The Who Vs The Rolling Stones

They have both being playing longer than I have been born and I’m in my mid 50s now! We’ve already looked at the iconic Jim Morrison and also Ian Curtis, and now we look at another couple of amazing music legends from my youth.

Since the 1960s, The Who and The Rolling Stones have been iconic rock bands that have captivated audiences around the world. These two British groups revolutionized music with their unique sounds, groundbreaking albums and larger-than-life stage performances. But which band is truly better? Does one stand out above the other in terms of influence or success? In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these legendary acts to answer the question: who wins when it comes to The Who vs The Rolling Stones?

The Who’s distinct sound has often been described as a combination of hard rock riffs and psychedelic melodies. Pete Townshend’s songwriting style was fueled by his love for rhythm and blues, while Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocals were integral to giving their songs such an intense energy. Their pioneering use of synthesizers and electronic effects also set them apart from most other bands during the 60s. They produced some of classic rock’s most essential albums, including Tommy, My Generation, Quadrophenia, and Who Are You.

On the flip side, there’s no denying that The Rolling Stones had a huge impact on culture throughout their career. Led by front man Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards’ creative partnership, they crafted a signature sound inspired by R&B and country. With hits like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Paint It Black” and “Sympathy For The Devil,” they became renowned for their ability to mix gritty blues with catchy hooks – solidifying themselves as one of Britain’s finest exports ever since 1964’s debut album England’s Newest Hitmakers.

In conclusion, both acts are rivaled only by each other when it comes to sheer staying power within classic rock music circles. To determine which band deserves top honors requires careful consideration of all aspects from studio recordings to live shows; however, at the end of day it remains a matter of personal preference whether you choose The Who or The Rolling Stones as your favorite group!


The Who: Overview

The Who are an iconic rock band who have left a lasting impression on generations of fans. They simply burst onto the scene in 1964 with a sound and style that could only be described as explosive! Their wild energy, thought-provoking lyrics, and hard-hitting riffs quickly made them one of the most beloved and influential bands of all time.

The Who’s discography is nothing short of legendary—hit songs like “My Generation,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” still get played regularly around the world today. The group has also been credited with pioneering genres such as power pop and punk rock. But it wasn’t just their music that earned The Who respect—their live shows were known to be some of the most intense performances ever seen on stage. With Baba O’Riley being used on CSI NY as the theme and Won’t Get Fooled Again best known on CSI Miami, these tracks are never going out of fashion!

From early success to long-lasting influence, The Who quickly established themselves as one of the greatest rock bands in history, leaving behind a legacy that will never fade away.


The Rolling Stones: Overview

Moving on, the Rolling Stones are a British rock band formed in London in 1962. The original line-up consisted of Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards (guitar and vocals), Brian Jones (guitar), Ian Stewart (keyboards) Bill Wyman (bass), and Charlie Watts (drums). With their distinctively gritty sound, they established themselves as one of the most influential acts of the 1960s. Throughout the years, their style evolved from rhythm and blues to hard rock, psychedelic music and punk rock. They have released 30 studio albums over five decades and remain active today with no plans for retirement.

The Very Best Of The Rolling Stones 1964-1971
  • Shrink-wrapped
  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • 04/23/2013 (Publication Date) - ABKCO (Publisher)
The Rolling Stones experienced tremendous commercial success during their early career. From 1965 to 1967, they had five consecutive number one hits on both sides of the Atlantic: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Paint It Black”, “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. These songs turned them into instant superstars; even today, these singles are among some of the greatest classic rock tunes ever written.

In addition to their chart success, the Rolling Stones were also pioneers when it came to live performances. Their concerts often featured elaborate costumes, special effects and innovative stage designs that pushed boundaries at every opportunity. This progressive approach made them an incredibly popular touring act all around the world; many bands still model their own shows after what was done by The Rolling Stones throughout their illustrious career.


Musical Style Comparison

The Who and the Rolling Stones have been two of the most influential British rock bands for decades. Both groups produced a variety of music styles during their careers, yet each had distinct differences in sound that separated them from others. The Who were known for their hard-driving guitar riffs and anthemic choruses, while the Rolling Stones relied heavily on bluesy rhythms and catchy lyrics.

In terms of instrumentation, both bands used electric guitars as their primary source of sound, but they employed different approaches when it came to performance. The Who was renowned for its loud and aggressive playing style, which often featured Pete Townshend’s windmill strumming technique. On the other hand, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards created a more polished approach with bluesier licks, intricate picking patterns, and complex chord progressions.

Overall, both groups left a lasting impact on popular music by creating unique sounds that still influence modern bands today. Through their innovative songwriting abilities and creative use of instruments, The Who and the Rolling Stones helped shape classic rock into what it is today – one of the most beloved genres ever recorded.


Popular Songs And Albums

The Who and The Rolling Stones have both had an immense impact on popular music over the years. They each have a wide array of iconic singles, albums, and live performances that are still discussed and revered today.

To demonstrate this influence, here are some examples:
1. The Who’s single “My Generation” is often considered one of the most influential songs in rock history.
2. The Rolling Stones’ album Exile on Main St. has been praised by critics as one of the best records ever made.
3. The band’s 1969 performance of “Gimme Shelter” at Altamont Free Concert was captured in Albert and David Maysles’ documentary film Gimme Shelter.
4. Live At Leeds by The Who is noted for its powerful energy and sonic quality which has endured to this day with fans all around the world.

It’s clear that both bands have contributed greatly to our current understanding of popular music through their diverse discographies, energetic performances, and profound lyrics that continue to be celebrated decades after their release.

Live Performances And Tours

The previous section was a celebration of the music created by The Who and The Rolling Stones, but this subsequent section will be an exploration of their respective live performances. Both bands have put on iconic shows that are renowned for being unforgettable experiences due to the sheer energy they generate in concert venues. It’s as if time stands still when these two legendary groups take the stage; nothing else matters except for the moment you’re living right then and there.

The Who often puts on long concerts with sets lasting up to 3 hours or more. Their lengthy performance times allow them to play all of their most popular songs from different eras throughout their career. The band members also bring high levels of enthusiasm and passion to each show, creating a truly electrifying atmosphere that can’t be matched.

The Rolling Stones’ live performances may not last as long as those of The Who, but what they lack in duration is made up for in intensity and raw power. Every member brings an infectious level of energy with Mick Jagger leading the charge with his signature dance moves and lively attitude towards every song he sings. With decades worth of hits in their repertoire, fans never know exactly what they’ll get at a Stones’ show – which only adds to its charm and appeal.

It’s no wonder why people flock from all over the world just to catch one glimpse of either group performing onstage; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience full of nostalgia, joy, and unparalleled entertainment value. From start to finish, both bands provide something special that keeps audiences coming back for more night after night – making them some of the greatest live acts ever assembled!


Most Noticeable Members Of The Bands

The Who comprises four members: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. These four men have been the faces of the band since it was founded in 1964. Daltrey became lead singer for The Who upon its formation, while Townshend served as lead guitarist and principal songwriter. Entwistle took up bass guitar duties until he passes away in 2002, and Moon filled out the sound on drums.

Meanwhile, The Rolling Stones comprise five members; Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman. Following their formation in 1962, Jagger assumed vocal duties whilst Richards played lead guitar and wrote songs with him. Watts handled drumming responsibilities while Wood joined them to play rhythm guitar and Wyman held down bass lines.

Both bands have seen some changes over time – e.g., The Who’s original drummer Moon passed away in 1978 so Kenney Jones stepped in to take his place – though both still retain much of their original line-up today when performing live shows or recording new material.


Influence On Other Artists

The Who and The Rolling Stones have both had a major impact on rock music as we know it today. They are two of the greatest, most influential bands in history, inspiring countless other artists who followed them.

Their influence can be seen in many aspects, from their iconic sound to their songwriting techniques and stage presence. Both groups left an indelible mark on the industry for decades.

Like wildfire, they spread their innovative style throughout the world, with musicians everywhere taking inspiration from their groundbreaking work. Their songs continue to reverberate through time, manifesting themselves in new generations of artists—passionately reinterpreting those classic sounds for modern audiences. It is this type of legacy that will ensure these two legendary acts remain part of our cultural fabric forevermore.


Legacy In Pop Culture

The Who and the Rolling Stones have had a lasting legacy in pop culture. They are two of the most influential bands in rock music, still inspiring musicians today.

Their songs have been featured in countless films and television shows and their albums continue to be popular with fans all over the world. Many of their hits such as “My Generation” by The Who and “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones are considered classic rock standards that can still be heard on radio stations everywhere. Both groups also influenced later generations, from punk to new wave to glam rock and beyond.

Both bands were inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and 1990 respectively, cementing their status as iconic acts in the music industry. Their impact is so great that they will likely remain relevant for years to come, continuing to shape modern music trends while staying true to their original sound. As long as there’s an appreciation for classic rock, these two titans of British Invasion will never go out of style.

Awards And Accolades

The Who and the Rolling Stones have each received many accolades over their long careers. The Who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988. The band also won several awards for their singles “My Generation” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, among others. The Rolling Stones have achieved similar success, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, winning six Grammy Awards, and being awarded an Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the BRIT Awards in 1996. They were also honoured with a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 for their services to music.

Both bands are recognised for their immense influence on rock music throughout history. Their contributions have shaped the landscape of modern music and will remain timelessly relevant. They represent two iconic yet distinct musical acts that truly deserve all of their successes today!


Impact On Music History

Despite the fact that both The Who and the Rolling Stones are iconic figures in music history, there is no question that their individual contributions to the genre have had an undeniable impact. Admittedly, it can be argued that each group has had a unique influence on popular culture; however, one cannot deny the lasting effect of both bands’ legacies.

The Who’s influence on pop-rock music was immediate and far-reaching. Their innovative approach to songwriting sparked a revolution in rock & roll, inspiring countless acts over time. By combining elements of punk, power pop, and progressive rock into their soundscape, they created something entirely new – resulting in classic albums like “Tommy” and “Who’s Next.” Simultaneously, the Rolling Stones pioneered blues-based hard rock with hits such as “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which went on to inspire generations of guitarists across multiple genres.

Both The Who and the Rolling Stones achieved immense success during their respective heydays. In addition to producing groundbreaking records, they also helped launch many successful solo careers from within their ranks (e.g., Keith Richards for the former; Pete Townshend for the latter). It goes without saying that these two legendary bands have left an indelible mark on modern music history—one that will continue to reverberate through future decades to come.


Collaborations With Other Artists

Throughout their respective careers, The Who and the Rolling Stones have both collaborated with many other artists. This section will discuss some of their most notable collaborations.

* In 1969, The Who teamed up with John Entwistle to collaborate on the song “Heavens Door” which featured British guitarist Jimmy Page.
* Later that year, they collaborated with Pete Townshend for a live performance at Woodstock Festival.
* In 1974, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger formed a partnership with Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., resulting in an album called ‘Black & Blue’.
* In 1975, the pair worked together again on a series of songs including “Miss You” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”.
* The same year saw The Who join forces with Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham for two tracks – “Who Are You” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

The collaborations between these two groups demonstrate how they were able to work creatively across genres, styles and experiences to create new music which is still enjoyed today. Their ability to come together and make something different speaks volumes about the talent each act possessed. With such skillful partnerships it’s no wonder why their music resonates so strongly throughout popular culture.


Media Coverage Throughout The Years

Moving on from collaborations with other artists, it’s clear that both the Who and the Rolling Stones have had considerable media coverage throughout their respective careers. The Who, for example, has been featured in a variety of outlets, including magazines such as Rolling Stone and Uncut and various television programs like Saturday Night Live. Additionally, they’ve also garnered significant press for their iconic live performances which often feature elaborate stage shows and lighting effects.

The Rolling Stones’ media presence is equally impressive. Since forming in 1962, they have become one of the most recognizable bands in music history. They regularly appear in newspapers and broadcast videos to promote new releases or upcoming tours. With songs such as “Satisfaction” becoming staples of classic rock radio stations around the world, there’s no shortage of people who know every lyric by heart.

These two legendary acts have earned countless accolades over the years due to their influence on popular culture worldwide. Their legacy continues today through reissues of albums and singles, documentaries about their lives and times, and numerous books written about them both separately and together. It is safe to say that these two bands will remain firmly cemented in our collective consciousness long into the future.


Notable Controversies

The rivalry between the Who and The Rolling Stones is as fierce as a lion’s roar. It all began in 1964, when the two bands released their first albums within months of each other. Since then, they’ve been battling for music supremacy with controversial press releases and on-stage antics.

In 1965, Mick Jagger called Pete Townshend an imposter during an interview about his song writing style. This created a media frenzy that lasted for weeks. In retaliation, Townshend declared himself King of Pop Music at a concert later that year. He declared anyone who disagreed was “a fool” which only escalated the feud even further.

Although both groups have since reconciled and collaborated multiple times, there will always be debate over which band reigns supreme. From sold out tours to record sales, every fan has their own opinion on who deserves the title of greatest rockband ever – some preferring The Who while others worship The Rolling Stones. Regardless of opinion though, one thing remains true: these two legends continue to inspire generations with timeless hits that still resonate today.


Cover Versions Of Songs By Both Bands

The Who and The Rolling Stones have both inspired countless covers of their songs. Here are four examples that stand out:
1. **”My Generation”, covered by Mona Lisa Twins** – This version was performed at the famous Cavern Club and this sound accompanied with great drums and electric guitar riffs.

2. **”Gimme Shelter,” covered by Rag N Bone Man** – The band’s iconic cover of this classic song has become popular at music festivals for its energetic live performance and powerful vocals.

3. **”Pinball Wizard,” covered by Elton John** – This more lighthearted take on the song features upbeat piano chords and lyrics sung from a childlike perspective, giving it a fun twist to the original track.

4. **”Sympathy for the Devil,” covered by Guns N’ Roses** – GNR took this hit to new heights with their hard rock rendition, instantly turning it into one of their signature tracks and paving the way for future bands to pay homage to The Rolling Stones’ timeless classics.
Overall, these covers show how influential both bands were over several generations of musicians who wanted to put their own spin on beloved hits while still honoring the originals.

The Who Vs The Rolling Stones


The debate between The Who and the Rolling Stones is one that has been discussed for years. As each of these two bands boasts a vast catalogue of incredible songs, it can be difficult to determine which band reigns supreme. Taking into account their cover versions of each other’s songs, both groups have left an indelible mark on music history.

When examining the covers produced by The Who and the Rolling Stones, a few facts become apparent. It is clear that they respect each other’s work enough to make their own recordings in tribute. Additionally, while some would argue that either group did better justice to certain tracks than the other, overall these interpretations are effective interpretations of classic tunes. In this way, each artist serves as a reminder of how influential their respective catalogues have been over time.

It can truly be said that both The Who and the Rolling Stones are musical icons with enduring legacies. Each act has created numerous timeless classics and played a major role in shaping modern popular culture. With such impressive accomplishments under their belts, fans will continue debating who was more successful without definitive resolution – albeit in good spirit!


The Who and The Rolling Stones have both made a profound impact on the music world, becoming two of the most recognized rock bands in history. Despite having very different musical styles and approaches to their artistry, they have both managed to captivate audiences across generations with their iconic songs and memorable live performances over the years.

In conclusion, it’s hard to compare these two legendary groups without paying tribute to each one’s unique style and influence. They’ve both crafted timeless classics that will continue resonating through time as they inspire future generations of musicians. I personally appreciate how each band has created its own distinct sound while still managing to remain committed to delivering powerful, engaging music for decades.

Last update on 2023-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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