TMZ posed a thought experiment to the famous drummer as he was walking to get dinner with former Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. The cameraman asked “If the Beatles and Justin Bieber were touring together during their prime, who would open?” as a way to gauge who Starr thought was a bigger deal. The “Octopus’s Garden” songwriter didn’t hesitate.
“Justin,” he said, before agreeing with the cameraman that the Beatles were a bigger deal.
“But we love Justin,” he added, clearly wary of having his answer turned on him.
Of course, Starr has a point. If your band is being used as the measuring stick against which all other musical phenomenons are being measured, you probably will always be considered the all-time best regardless of sales numbers or chart records. The Beatles loom too large in the cultural imagination — a place that deals in feelings rather than stats — for them to be usurped by Bieber. Of course, if Bieber grows into an experimental phase that captures critics and pop fans alike and then is able to release Greatest Hits collections in 30 years that go platinum almost a platinum number of times, then maybe we’ll have to revisit this conversation.
For now, at least Slowhand has his back.