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Today marks an important milestone in British music history, specifically independent home-grown talent. The Stone Roses 1989 debut album was released on this date in 1989 via Silvertone Records. The album is still seen as one of the very best albums ever, ranking alongside undoubted classics of their own generation Sargent Pepper, Pet Sounds and London Calling. Matt Mead investigates the album and it’s abiding impact on a generation of flare wearing fans for Shiiine On.
At the start of 1989 Ian Brown was quoted as saying ‘we hope bands will form after seeing us’. Little did he know at the time of his cocksure quote that he would prophesy the futures of Andy Bell of RIDE, Steve Cradock of Ocean Colour Scene, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve and Noel and Liam Gallagher, who would all cite The Stone Roses as major influences in them forming their own bands.
The Stone Roses had started out as a punk/goth outfit with many of the songs on the debut album being written way before their official release, Manchester being their biggest fans, the rest of the nation not even batting an eye lid. Having honed down their visual and musical output over a number of years, it was in 1988 when Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield joined the ranks.
Mani joining the band brought a groove not evident in the bands previous output. With influences such as soul, motown, funk, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Claptons Cream and The Clash, this mixture was a dynamite mixture set for explosive results for the aforementioned Mani, and new band mates Alan ‘Reni Wren, John Squire and Ian Brown, which are all firmly evident on the debut album.
The familiar haunting bass line of I Wanna Be Adored opens the album, with similar mysterious noises in the background of the song accompanying the bass line, it’s not until about a minute into the track that we get the noodling’s of guitar and then 30 seconds later the full weight of drums comes pounding into the speakers. Ian Brown sings the familiar lyric ‘I don’t have to sell my soul, it’s already in me’, a nudge to those MTV bands such as U2 selling their souls all over the world for success.
She Bangs The Drums is up next. If I’m being honest I prefer the single mix to the album mix of the track. Nonetheless, SBTD is a stone cold classic, rat-a-tat high hat is greeted by a loud strum of the Squires guitar within the first few seconds. A tongue in cheek reference to Ian’s sing is heard in the song ‘you’re all out of time’, or maybe he’s singing to his critics at the lack of the bands success at the time, maybe taking a swipe at those who would easily purchase the latest Stock, Aiken and Waterman over produced hit, rather than listen and purchase something created at the hands of genius.
The duel battle of Waterfall / Don’t Stop are up next. First heard publically on the Tony Wilson music programme The Other Side Of Midnight, the song has seen many Cressa look-a-likes surfing to the song, a ditty that changed the perspective of Wilson and probably many other critics of the time to stand up and take the band seriously. Don’t Stop for me is a forgotten classic on the album. Simply the song is Waterfall being played backwards, but the groove of the track is like nothing heard on the album or since. There’s a little bass line near the end of the track that seals the deal here.
Bye Bye Badman, Elizabeth My Dear and Sugar Spun Sister keeps groove as an incessant beast that just keeps on breading new forms of hip busting elasticated dancefloor hits. Shoot You Down when demos of the track were distributed sounded tin pot, with a drum machine as it’s backing. The album version features the unmistakable snare drum shuffle of Reni, with Squire adding a guitar solo to match Hendrix. A blissed out tune which would have drifted on the E scented air waves of Spike Island.
When I was 14 I used to watch The Chart Show on ITV. There used to be a special segment within the programme which featured different charts. One such chart was the Indie Chart. I can distinctly remember watching one particular Saturday afternoon when a picture flashed up on the screen of The Stone Roses with the chorus of Made Of Stone playing behind the picture. The music was the best. The chorus was the best. The Stone Roses looked like everything I had been looking for. And there began a love affair with the band. Made Of Stone is one of the greatest singles of all time, mixing into any generation, a timeless song envisaging Manchester at its bleakest yet successfully getting all listeners on their feet crying out the lyrics.
This Is The One is probably the oldest track in the set, a song that would feature heavily in the bands early live set from 1984 onwards, the repeating mantra of an anthem is now heard echoing loud and proud each and every match day at the home of the red devils, Manchester United. Finally we reach the final track, I Am the Resurrection. Reni’s drums are heard at first, the chiselled revolving beat is inviting the silky bass line to be introduced, with the bass in place Squire again come hurtling into place, the band on form, chugging along like the Orient Express at the peak of its powers. Many had probably thought that Ian couldn’t reach the vocal talents of Aled Jones, yet here we hear the voice of an angel singing ‘I Am The Resurrection and I am the Life!’, the vocal to save all souls.
The final segment of the album see’s the band on a tour de force of the jamming proportions. Thought of on the spot in the studio. Normally these type of jams of kept on the back burner to be discovered years later in a 30 year anniversary box set. Luckily the band had John Leckie at the production desk who knew a thing or 2 about working with the best, having worked with the likes of John Lennon previously. The jam section of Resurrection is sumptuous, a breath of fresh air in the midst of a synthesizer generation, harking back to the days of 1960’s bands doing what they wanted rather than being dictated to.
As previously stated today marks 30 years since this monumental album was first unleashed onto the British public. If the first generation of bands to form that included Inspiral Carpets, Ocean Colour Scene and RIDE I can’t wait to see what the next batch of bands will be that are influenced by The Stone Roses. ‘The past was yours, but the futures mine’.