On Thursday, Feb. 27, Soundcheck hosted an all-star Beatles vs. Rolling Stones Smackdown at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. In front of a crowd of more than 200 people, two teams fiercely battled over which band is better -- at times pitting album versus album, guitarist versus guitarist, song versus song -- and, of course, debating the sex appeal of each band.
Arguing for The Beatles were comedian, actor, and director Mike Myers (Wayne's World, Austin Powers, and Shrek); and writer and musician Paul Myers, author of the acclaimed biographies A Wizard A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio, and It Ain't Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues.
According to Mike Myers, "The Beatles are a cultural movement. They've affected everything. 'A Hard Day's Night'... has informed everything I've done, including and especially Austin Powers. So for me personally, it's everything."
And taking on the Myers brothers on behalf of The Rolling Stones: Ophira Eisenberg, comedian, writer and host of NPR and WNYC’s Ask Me Another; and Bill Janovitz, frontman of the alt-rock band Buffalo Tom, and author of Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell The Story of The Rolling Stones, and the 33 1/3 series' book about Exile On Main Street.
During the debate, Janovitz summoned the words of a literary giant. “Tom Wolfe once said, ‘The Beatles want to hold your hand. The Rolling Stones want to burn down your town.’”
Janovitz added: “I wanted a band that would burn down my town.”
Who will prevail? Listen to the debate to find out. And tell us which side you're on! Leave a comment below, or call us up at 866.939.1612.
Bill Janovitz and Ophira Eisenberg on stage at the NYPL for the Performing Arts (Michael Katzif/WNYC)
Host John Schaefer behind Paul Myers and Mike Myers, on stage at the NYPL for the Performing Arts (Michael Katzif/WNYC)
Bill Janovitz, Ophira Eisenberg, John Schaefer, Paul Myers, Mike Myers on stage at the NYPL for the Performing Arts (Michael Katzif/WNYC)
The audience at the Beatles vs. Stones Smackdown at the NYPL for the Performing Arts (Michael Katzif/WNYC)
Thanks to The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, especially Evan Leslie, Nora Lyons and Mike Diekmann.