It’s a classic argument, dating to the 1960s British music invasion of America.
In one corner, The Beatles.
These Liverpool legends spearheaded the invasion in 1964 with their hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and a huge American TV debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
In the other corner, from London, The Rolling Stones.
Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones’ manager, invented a rivalry between The Beatles and The Stones, setting Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and company up as bad-boy alternatives to the supposedly clean-cut Beatles.
Friday night at Chelsea’s Café, young local band Loudness War will play Beatles songs. Another group, assembled for the occasion and including local music veterans Liam Catchings, of Liam Catchings and the Jolly Racket; Lee Barbier, of The Myrtles; and Jonathan Loubiere, of Jetlagger, will play Stones music.
Loubiere led a previous Rolling Stones show about a year ago. Friday’s Beatles vs. Stones show is his idea.
“As a musician, it’s an excuse to go out once or twice a year and play songs I really love,” singer-guitarist Loubiere said.
Loubiere, Catchings and Barbier will be joined by Don Snaith, of The U.S. Times, Chad Townsend, of Flamethrowers, and Bonnie Buckner.
“It’s easy to find people who are excited about playing these types of gigs,” Loubiere said. “It’s something else once they realize that they have to practice. Finding someone who can come through for you is another story.”
The still-active Stones’ rock ’n’ roll spirit is one reason the band has thrived for more than 50 years, Loubiere said.
“I’ve talked about this with a lot of my friends,” he said. “It’s amazing that The Stones are still playing today, when they probably were among the hardest-living of that era, especially Keith Richards.”
Despite the thousands of bands that play Stones songs, no one touches the originals, Loubiere said.
“All of these cover bands play Stones songs, but no one ever plays them like Keith Richards or Charlie Watts,” he said. “There’s magic in those guys’ songs and recordings.”
The Friday night audience at Chelsea’s can expect to hear Loubiere’s group play classics “Wild Horses,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Brown Sugar” and, he added, “all the songs you might expect.”
As for interpretations, Loubiere prefers to leave that open.
“I try not to give people too many rules,” he said. “All I know is that they’re going to put their own take on it.”
The members of Loudness War, all of them 19 and 20 years old, played their first show of Beatles songs when they were freshman in high school. By then, Loudness War member Matthew Urquhart was obsessed with The Beatles.
“As a kid, growing up, you just listen to whatever is new on the radio,” Urquhart said. “The Beatles was the first older band that I started getting into. I had thought of that as my dad’s music.”
Loudness War’s Beatles set will be heavy with John Lennon songs, including “I Am the Walrus,” “Hey Bulldog” and “I’m So Tired.” Paul McCartney’s heavy-metal precursor “Helter Skelter” is in the set, too.
“It’s hard for me to explain exactly why I love The Beatles so much,” Urquhart said. “All their songs are just so incredible. In revisiting the songwriting, I really admire what they were doing, especially John Lennon.”
Follow John Wirt on Twitter, @JohnWirt1.