Here is Why Quincy Jones Called the Beatles “The Worst Musicians”

Quincy Jones is more than worth his stock. His list of accolades and producing credits is almost too stellar to believe. Naturally, we’d be quick to get on board with whatever opinion he holds. However, one opinion that does create pause is his opinion on the Beatles.

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The foursome is universally considered a driving force in rock & roll. While they wore their self-taught badge proudly, few would consider them “The worst” of anything when it comes to music–well, other than Jones.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Quincy Jones Wrote for Other Artists]

Jones, who spent time working with individual members of the group, once called them “No-playing motherf****ers” and “The worst musicians in the world.” Jones has certainly worked with a vast array of musicians–the best of the best and, inevitably, the not-so-good. That in mind, we reckon his opinion of the group isn’t entirely unfounded, however, we would think many Beatles fans might have something to say on the matter.

His disapproval of the band could’ve stemmed from a bad recording session he had with Ringo Starr. As the story goes, the drummer had trouble nailing down a rhythm that Jones considered a cakewalk. After taking a breather from the session, Jones called in another drummer to take over the part.

“We called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer,” Jones once recalled. “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.”

Though we’re not sure the Fab Four would agree with Jones’ opinion of them being “The worst musicians in the world,” they often talked about not being trained players. In fact, Paul McCartney found the fact that they were self-taught to be a strength of the band.

“One of the things I always thought was the secret of the Beatles was that our music was self-taught,” McCartney once said. “We weren’t able to read music or write it down, so we just made it up. There’s a certain joy that comes into your stuff if you didn’t [try] to make it happen.”

What do you think? Were the Beatles “The worst musicians” in the world or is the beauty of their music found in their DIY mentality?

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


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  1. Quincy Jones has had a prolific career and he’s still working. I’ve read he can speak 26 languages, has 22 girlfriends, was classically trained and he has loved Jazz from a very young age. He hires very technical musicians. IMHO, he would consider 95% of all musicians in the worst category.

    The Beatles were prolific songwriters. Their creativity as musicians was also prolific. Could they stand up to session players in real time, probably not.

    Did it cripple the Beatles in their musical career, no it didn’t. Should Quincy have said, they weren’t session players, maybe. But he didn’t, he chose to say they were the worse. That says far more about Quincy, than anything else. After all, he invited Ringo to the gig. He saw a reason to invite him. Ringo had enough class to not speak of the event, from his perspective. I’m sure he had some perceptions of how things went down too!

    It summary, it all speaks of the world according to Quincy Jones. Bear in mind, young musicians, that’s more of an old school measuring contest comment. I’m sure the Beatles had tough enough skin to always ignore such comments.

    No point at all, for the Beatles, to consider defending themselves. RIP John. RIP George


  2. Jones once called Michael Jackson a thief! He’ll bad mouth anyone. Session musicians are a A DIME A DOZEN. Writer / arrangers are the really talented ones. WHEN YOU COMPARE THE SUCCESS OF THE BEATLES to Jones he’s a got a real cheek.

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