Who is the greatest of all time: The Beatles or Queen? Producer Steve Lillywhite has an interesting take

View of musicians including, from third left, Bono, Paul McCartney, and Freddie Mercury as they perform onstage during the Live Aid benefit concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 7/13/1985
(Image credit: Steve Rapport/Getty Images))

We don't need to add to the superlatives around The Beatles; from a listening, musician and production perspective, the list can get pretty long. But what makes the greatest band of all time? Is there another contender? Super-producer and engineer Steve Lillywhite had an interesting angle on it during his chat with fellow producer Warren Huart for Produce Like A Pro.

After praising Brian May as a guitar great for his sound-sculpting and his playing, he looked at a wider question. "Always it's been the Beatles when you talk about the greatest bands ever," he added. "But there's an argument now that the Beatles never made anything you could play in a stadium. The Beatles never made anything you could play at a huge sporting event. 

"So Queen, when you talk about the greatest bands ever… I would never say anyone is the greater than The Beatles," he prefaced, "but there's an argument right now that Queen, because of their ability to transcend stadiums, there's an argument that they are more relevant today than the Beatles are."

The Beatles retired from touring in 1966 – and that's another story – but in his solo career Paul McCartney has been able to carry some of the band's songs into those kinds of huge venues at transformative events – which the mass singalongs to songs like Hey Jude can testify – but Queen's case for being right up there is certainly strong.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.