Quincy Jones Thought The Beatles Were 'The Worst' When He First Heard Them

Quincy Jones is a music legend and one of the most successful and prolific pop music producers and executives of all-time. 

After making a name for himself as a jazz musician in the '50s, Jones began forging his legend as an arranger, film composer, impresario and then a producer for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Michael Jackson and many others.

In a new interview with Vulture, Jones gave his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including music, politics, race and gender.

When asked about his first impression of The Beatles, Jones responded that he thought "they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherf---ers. [Paul McCartney] was the worst bass player I ever heard. And [Ringo Starr]? Don’t even talk about it."

Jones went on to talk about it, relating an anecdote about being in the studio with Beatles producer George Martin and Ringo, circa 1970 (right in the middle of Ringo's alcohol and drug-abusing years).

Jones says Ringo was taking all day to fix just four bars on a song, when Jones and Martin asked Ringo to take a break for dinner.

"...[We] called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, 'George, can you play it back for me one more time?' So George did, and Ringo says, 'That didn’t sound so bad.' And I said, 'Yeah, motherf---er, because it ain’t you.' Great guy, though."

In fact, Jones says he wasn't a fan of much rock music at all, saying he used to look at it as just "a white version of rhythm and blues."

He recalled Jimi Hendrix canceling a session on one of Jones' albums because Hendrix was "nervous to play with Toots Thielemans, Herbie Hancock, Hubert Laws, Roland Kirk..." 

Jones conceded, though, that he "used to like Clapton's band. What were they called?"


Jones also accused Michael Jackson of being "as Machiavellian as they come," saying the King of Pop stole a lot of music that turned into his biggest hits.

He also dismissed rap music as boring, and modern pop as being devoid of innovation.

Jones is the subject of a coming Netflix documentary and a CBS special to be hosted by Oprah Winfrey

Photos: Getty Images


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