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The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses

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The Stone Roses <tr style="text-align: center;"><td colspan="3">Image:The Stone Roses Profile.jpg
Background information

<tr><td>Origin</td><td colspan="2">Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg Manchester, England</td></tr><tr><td>Genre(s)</td><td colspan="2">Alternative rock, Madchester</td></tr><tr><td>Years active</td><td colspan="2">19841996</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-right: 1em;">Label(s)</td><td colspan="2">Silvertone Records, Geffen Records</td></tr><tr><th style="background: #b0c4de;" colspan="3">Former members</th></tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;" colspan="3">Ian Brown
John Squire

The Stone Roses were an influential rock band from England active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Along with other bands such as the Happy Mondays, they comprised the core of the Madchester Baggy scene, centred around Manchester, England. Their 1989 eponymous debut album quickly achieved the status of a classic in the UK, and topped NME's list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. They released a second album, Second Coming, in 1994 and split in 1996.


[edit] Early years

The Stone Roses were formed in Manchester during the early 1980s by vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire. Childhood friends, Brown and Squire had both played in bands before, although Brown had previously played bass. They recruited a talented drummer, Reni (real name Alan Wren), with bassist Pete Garner and rhythm guitarist Andy Couzens completing the original line-up.

In their early days the Roses had an aggressive, punky sound, and their influences ranged from The Clash and The Sex Pistols to Manchester band Slaughter and the Dogs. They had a dedicated following in Manchester, but were considered unfashionable and somewhat uncouth by the local music scene at the time, which was dominated by Factory Records and Tony Wilson. Publicity shots from around that time feature Squire in a bandana and Brown wearing leather trousers.

In 1985 the Roses released their first single, the Martin Hannett produced double a-side "So Young/Tell Me". A doom-laden affair, it was largely unsuccessful and was later disowned by the band. At this point Brown had yet to develop his trademark cool delivery and had a shouty, aggressive style, and the rest of the band had not yet found the groove that was to characterise their best material.

By the time of their next single, "Sally Cinnamon", the Roses' sound had changed considerably. Released in 1987 on FM Revolver records, "Sally Cinnamon" contained chiming guitar hooks and a strong melody, and sounded more like The Byrds than the Sex Pistols. Brown had developed a new, softer singing style and Squire and Reni were becoming more confident and streamlined, and much less noisy.

By 1988 Pete Garner and Andy Couzens had left the band, and the Roses brought in bassist Mani (Gary Mounfield), thus completing the definitive Roses line up. The band quickly became much tighter as musicians, and developed a trademark visual style - baggy clothes and Jackson Pollock shirts, guitars and drums. A single, the psychedelia tinged "Elephant Stone", followed, along with an album deal with Jive/Zomba offshoot Silvertone Records.

[edit] First album years

The Stone Roses performing on Other Side of Midnight television programme.

In 1989, The Stone Roses released their eponymous debut album, produced by John Leckie. The Stone Roses was a remarkable debut album. It opened with "I Wanna Be Adored" and closed with "I Am The Resurrection", both songs capturing the sense of youthful invincibility and ambition that pervaded the album as a whole. Now considered a landmark in British rock, the album was well received by most of the music press and word of mouth began to spread about the band.

The singles "Made Of Stone" and "She Bangs The Drums" followed to moderate success. Later that year the band released a double A-side single, "Fools Gold/What the World Is Waiting For", which charted in the UK at no. 8 in November 1989. Originally intended as a B-side, "Fools Gold" quickly became the Roses' most famous song and a performance of it on Top Of The Pops cemented their national fame. It was also the band's most musically adventurous song yet: nine minutes, 53 seconds in length, it featured a virtuoso wah-wah drenched guitar performance from John Squire over a beat resembling James Brown's "Funky Drummer".

Seemingly coming from nowhere, the Stone Roses appeared to be the right band at the right time. Like their peers Happy Mondays they had an arrogant swagger and streetwise attitude reminiscent of The Rolling Stones in their pomp. The Roses had a broad appeal too: their upbeat, danceable sound and positive outlook had much in common with the blossoming rave scene at the time, yet they also appealed to more traditional indie fans.

Music samples:


Following the band's success, their former label, FM Revolver, re-released the single "Sally Cinnamon" with an accompanying video. The Stone Roses were incensed by this, particularly what they described as a "third rate" video. They went to Revolver's offices on 30 January 1990 and after an argument with the label's boss, Paul Birch, threw paint over the offices, Birch himself and his girlfriend, and then vandalised two cars outside. They were subsequently arrested and tried, and in October they were found guilty and fined £3,000 each plus costs.[1]

In 1990 The Stone Roses decided to stage a huge outdoor gig at Spike Island in Widnes. The gig took place on 27 May 1990 and was attended by approximately 27,000 people. The event at the time was considered a failure due to sound problems and bad organisation, yet has become legendary over the years - a Woodstock for the baggy generation. The band had shown that "indie" bands could play gigs of a scale more commonly associated with acts such as Queen or U2. The Roses followed Spike Island with another big gig at Glasgow Green, and by July had released their final single for Silvertone, "One Love".

"One Love" reached number 4 in the UK charts, the Roses' highest chart placing yet, although musically it was arguably something of an anti-climax after the high-water mark of "Fools Gold". After its release, things quickly began to unravel. It was to be the Roses' last original release for 4 years, as they entered a protracted legal battle to get out of their deal with Silvertone. The band quickly lost the momentum they had built up following their debut album, and disappeared out of public view as quickly as they had arrived.

[edit] Second coming and breakup

Eventually they wrangled themselves out of their contract with Silvertone and signed a lucrative contract with Geffen Records. In late 1994, a full five years after their debut, the Stone Roses released their follow-up album, Second Coming. Mostly written by John Squire, the music now had a dark, heavy blues-rock sound inspired by Led Zeppelin. Although this worked brilliantly on the single, "Love Spreads", overall the album sounded well produced but short on ideas, and most critics felt that it fell short of the standard set by their iconic debut.

The album was seen as a let-down by much of the music press. However, some felt that songs such as "Ten Storey Love Song", "Begging You" and "Love Spreads" (the latter reaching #2 in the UK charts) showed the Roses could still conjure up their old magic (though the latter arguably sounds like a re-worked version of the album's second song, "Driving South"). Second Coming is a mix of 1970s hard rock, folk rock ("Your Star Will Shine", "Tightrope") and techno ("Begging You"), with "Ten Storey Love Song" the closest to Byrds-tinged songs such as "Sally Cinnamon".

It should be noted that the view of Second Coming as sub-standard is limited largely to Britain. Some American fans of the band view it as equal to the first album, and a few hold the view that Second Coming is the superior album.

During their absence The Stone Roses had left a huge gap in the music scene and they returned to find a new wave of soundalike bands had taken their place. The Britpop scene had arrived and the Roses, along with The Smiths, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, The Kinks and The Beatles, were hailed as founding fathers. The Roses were mostly positive about Oasis (who John Squire joined onstage at Knebworth in 1996 to play "Champagne Supernova") but held most of the scene in contempt, Squire describing it as comprising "Kensington art-wankers".

In March 1995 Reni left the band, and this marked the beginning of the end of The Stone Roses. The band, which had never been particularly media friendly, gave no real explanation for his departure. A replacement drummer, Robbie Maddix, who had previously worked with Simply Red, was found, and the band soldiered on. Also recruited around this time for the live shows was session-keyboardist/programmer Nigel Ippinson, who had previously played with the band on the re-working of "Begging You" for its release as a single.

A secret comeback tour of the UK in April 1995 was planned, but this was cancelled after the music press announced the dates. A major blow to the band's status was the cancellation of their planned UK comeback performance at the Glastonbury Festival in June 1995. John Squire had suffered a mountain biking accident in Northern California just weeks before the show, breaking his collar bone. This was simply bad luck on the band's part, but fans were still very disappointed and many expressed their anger. The band finally booked a full UK tour for November and December 1995 and all dates sold out in a day.

However, John Squire left the band on 1 April 1996, to the anger of the remaining members, particularly Ian Brown, who stated that Squire had locked himself away from other band memebers and frequently used cocaine. Though former Asia and Simply Red session guitarist Aziz Ibrahim was recruited to fill Squire's shoes, Slash from Guns N' Roses offered to play with the band through Doug Goldstein. The Roses rejected the offer, stating "No, we hate Guns N' Roses, fuck off!". The band persevered for another six months before Brown and Mani dissolved the group after a disastrous performance at the Reading Music Festival at which disappointed fans booed and threw objects at the stage.

In 1998 John Robb wrote a best-selling book on the band, The Stone Roses And the Resurrection Of British Pop, detailing the band's rise and fall and the culture that grew around them.

[edit] Post Roses history

John Squire formed The Seahorses, who released a number of singles and an album in 1997 before breaking up. In 2002 Squire released his first solo album, Time Changes Everything and followed this up with 2004's Marshall's House. He has performed former Roses songs, including "Waterfall" and "Your Star Will Shine", in live sets.

Mani joined indie-dance act Primal Scream as bassist in 1998.

Ian Brown has released four solo albums (the first of which included guest appearances by Mani and Reni) to some considerable success, and has regularly entertained crowds at some of Britain's biggest music festivals.

Reni started a new band called The Rub in 1999, and played several gigs. At a concert in Manchester University, the band - which included former Rose Pete Garner - was introduced by Mani. Nothing has been heard of The Rub since that tour, although in early 2004 John Squire claimed that Reni had recorded an "interesting" solo album.

Aziz Ibrahim played guitar on a number of tracks on Brown's first album and later toured with him; he has also co-written a large portion of Brown's solo material.

In November 2002 a remixed version of "Fool's Gold" appeared on the video game Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX. In October 2004 the original version of the song appeared on the alternative rock radio station Radio X in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

[edit] Influence

The band is considered to be a founder of the Britpop music genre. Indeed, Liam Gallagher of Oasis was inspired to be a rock star after being highly impressed by Ian Brown's stage presence at an anti-Section 28 concert at Manchester's International Two venue on May 30, 1988; he also claims to have bought four copies of the Stone Roses' debut album, because he "thought [he] should". Although Brown was a technically poor singer, he was a natural showman and held sway over the crowd throughout live performances. His style influenced the likes of The Charlatans' frontman Tim Burgess (who Brown later mocked during an NME interview for copying his style) and, in their early days, Blur's Damon Albarn. The band was noted for its dislike of traditional gigs and often preferred to put on their own events reminiscent of the early acid house scene.

Although some later Britpop songs contained social commentaries, often ironic or cynical - notably Blur's "Country House" and "Girls & Boys", and Pulp's "Common People" - the Stone Roses' work tends to be more political or idealistic. The song "Elizabeth My Dear", for instance, clearly criticised the monarchy. The May 1968 student riots in Paris are said to have provided some inspiration for their first album, with the colours of the French flag shown sideways on the cover, and with lemons alongside placed upon Squire's Jackson Pollock-type painting (lemons had been used to counteract the effects of tear gas during the riots). The song "Bye Bye Badman" also made references to the student riots (a theme reprised by Brown in the title of the first track of his solo debut album) and the use of lemons in particular.

The Stone Roses' desire to make serious statements saw them identified with punks (aided by Stone Roses graffiti which appeared throughout Manchester when they released their first album), though the band's image was also a combination of sweetness, fiery moodiness, intelligence, artistry and soul. The Stone Roses also made nods towards psychedelia, most notably on "Fools Gold" and "Elephant Stone", arguably their less jazzy equivalents of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High" and "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star".

Their appearance on BBC 2's The Late Show in 1989 infamously ended early after they exceeded the allowed level of noise for the building, thereby cutting out the sound. Ian Brown shouted "Amateurs!" as the presenter, live on air, vainly reassured that the problem would be fixed. "I Am The Resurrection" was used on the BBC's Manchester Passion programme in 2006 which told the biblical Easter story using Manchester music.

The Stone Roses is thought by many to be the first Britpop album recorded. Although the band was part of the dying Madchester scene, their debut album introduced a new sound to British listeners. Bands influenced by the Stone Roses include Blur, Pulp, Suede, Ocean Colour Scene, Kula Shaker, Coldplay, Manic Street Preachers, Muse, Stereophonics, The Bluetones, The Charlatans and The Verve. Irish musician and singer/songwriter Rob Smith said that The Stone Roses "are better than The Beatles", and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has stated that Ian Brown is the band's musical hero.

[edit] Reformation?

In July 2004, Ian Brown surprised fans in Dublin, Belfast and Surrey by playing sets consisting mainly of old Stone Roses songs from 1989 and 1990. He followed this up by performing a mixture of Roses numbers and his own material on his UK and Ireland tour later in the year. At his return gig in Manchester, not only did he perform seven Roses tracks, including "Waterfall", "I Wanna Be Adored" and "She Bangs The Drums", but was also joined on stage for a bow by Mani, bringing the two former Roses members on stage together for the first time in over 8 years. Brown was also joined by his friend Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher to perform the single they wrote together, "Keep What Ya Got", and DJ James Lavelle, whose group UNKLE released "Reign" featuring both Brown and Mani later in the year, reaching number 40 in the UK singles charts.

In May 2005, Squire told Time Out magazine that he would consider a Roses reunion. [2] In the same month, he, Mani and Reni were spotted together at a concert, leading to much speculation that a reunion was not just under consideration, but imminent. Later in May both Reni and Mani confirmed that they were open to the idea of the Roses reforming, but Reni said it would not happen in 2005. [3] Reni also confirmed he has started writing songs with the intention of performing them with Mani. However, since all Stone Roses songs were written by Ian Brown and/or John Squire, any material produced will almost certainly be used for a different project.

Following Kylie Minogue's cancellation of her Glastonbury 2005 performance, rumours circulated that the Roses would reunite to fill Minogue's slot. Interestingly, both Brown and Primal Scream were booked to appear at Glastonbury, making some fans hopeful that Mani would join Brown onstage after Primal Scream's set. A performance by the Roses failed to materialise, but Ian Brown did break his silence on the subject of a reunion soon after the festival. He stated that Squire should contact him personally if he wants to reunite, rather than use the media as a vehicle for reunion. Brown is said to remain angry at Squire for leaving the band and as such is unlikely to consider a reunion in the near future. Squire reportedly sent Brown a box of Maltesers with a note reading "I Still Love You" for Christmas when Brown was imprisoned in 1998 (a throwback to a tradition the two held from Christmas as children), but apart from that the pair have been said to have not spoken since Squire left the band.

In September 2005 a reunion looked considerably less likely, as Ian Brown commented to several journalists that "there's more chance of me reforming The Happy Mondays than the Stone Roses". Happy Mondays in fact have reformed, but yet Brown appears pessimistic about a likelihood of any reunion. Fairly recently, on Soccer AM, bassist Mani jokingly claimed that the Stone Roses would reform "The day after Man City win the European Cup".

[edit] Personnel

[edit] Classic line-up (November 1987 - March 1995)

[edit] Other members

  • Andy Couzens - guitarist. Left band in July 1986 after a dispute with the band's manager Gareth Evans and formed The High, a moderately successful band during the "Madchester" era
  • Pete Garner - bass (February 1984 to August 1987)
  • Cressa (Steve Cressa) - unofficial 5th member of band and live guitar effects technician (1989-1990)
  • Robbie Maddix - percussion, backing vocals (until July 1995). Replaced Reni in April 1995
  • Nigel Ippinson - keyboards, backing vocals. Performed keyboards with the band during the latter stages of the Second Coming tour from July 1995 onwards
  • Aziz Ibrahim - guitar. Replaced John Squire in April 1996

[edit] Discography

[edit] Albums

[edit] Compilations

[edit] Singles

[edit] Plaudits

The debut album has consistently performed well in critics' best album lists, for example:

  • In 2003, the music magazine NME voted their debut album the #1 greatest album of all time, ahead of works by The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Pixies. [4]
  • In June 2004, the British newspaper The Observer listed their debut album as the #1 best British album of all time (beating The Beatles and The Rolling Stones), after compiling the views of 100 newspaper staff and musicians. [5]
  • In 2006, NME voted their debut album the #1 British album of all time, narrowly beating The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead and Oasis's Definitely Maybe. [6]
  • Q magazine editors and readers have named it:
    • #29 greatest British album of all time (June 2000)
    • #7 greatest album of the magazine's lifetime (October 2001), and #9 in a later list (October 2006)
    • #6 greatest album ever (February 2006), following previous polls in which it was placed at #7 (January 2003) and #4 (February 1998)
    • #5 best record of the '80s (August 2006)

[edit] External links

The Stone Roses
Ian Brown - John Squire - Mani - Reni
Albums: The Stone Roses - Second Coming
Related articles
Madchester - Britpop - John Leckie - The Seahorses
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The Stone Roses

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