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Alan Caylow (USA)
After the phenomenal success in the UK of their 1989 self-titled debut, the Stone Roses should've capitalised on their success and recorded a follow-up album a year or two later. Instead, the band got tangled up in legal problems with their record label (though I don't know the details), which would sideline the group for five long years. When the smoke *finally* cleared in 1994, with the Stone Roses having switched over to Geffen Records, they finally released their long-awaited second album, appropriately-titled "Second Coming." Unfortunately, in the five years that the Stone Roses had been away, it seemed that time had passed them by. Oasis were now the UK's #1 group, and reaction to "Second Coming," both in sales and fan & critical response, was disappointing. The Stone Roses disbanded shortly afterwards, and since then, "Second Coming" seems to have been forgotten. It doesn't deserve to be---"Second Coming" is an outstanding album that I, personally, like even *better* than the band's celebrated 1989 debut, though brilliant that album is. I guess this makes me a "twisted" Stone Roses fan, but seriously, people, I LOVE this album. Nevermind the ridiculous criticism or disappointing sales---"Second Coming" is a fantastic, powerful piece of work, and one of my all-time favorite albums. For "Second Coming," the Stone Roses branched out into rock music even more experimental than on their debut disc, combining even more abundant elements of pop, psychedelia, dance, acoustic, progressive, and Zeppelin-esque hard rock. The towering 11 1/2 minute opener, "Breaking Into Heaven," is sensational, beginning with jungle sound effects, followed by some tight, rhythmic percussion by drummer Reni, and then at last, the rest of the band charge in with some incredible grooves & musical interplay, capped off by Ian Brown's smooth, assured vocals. The rest of the album brilliantly matches this track, including the tough-as-nails rock of "Driving South," the funky "Daybreak," and the acoustic beauty of "Your Star Will Shine." "Begging You" is a thrilling dance rave-up, recalling the group's earlier classic, "Fool's Gold." "Tightrope" is a wonderful sing-along, and "Tears" is the Stone Roses' obvious tip-of-the-hat to Led Zeppelin, from guitarist John Squire's opening acoustic riff to the hard-rocking bridge that recalls "Stairway To Heaven." "How Do You Sleep" is beautiful pop, and the album closer, "Love Spreads," is awesome, beefy rock with all the trimmings. Once again, the band's musicianship & songwriting is stunning, as Squire, Brown, Reni, and bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield's chemistry sparkles like fireworks. It's such a terrible, terrible shame that this outstanding band closed shop after only a pair of albums, but oh, what a pair of albums. Most Stone Roses fans prefer the 1989 debut album over "Second Coming." So be it---it is indeed a superb album. But, in my opinion, "Second Coming" is even more superb, and it's also a very fond farewell to this groundbreaking, trailblazing British band. As I said in my review of the group's first album, popular bands like Coldplay, Radiohead & Oasis may rule the roost in British rock these days, but ALL of them owe a debt in some way or another to the Stone Roses. Thank you John, Ian, Mani & Reni---you guys rock!
- "Breaking into Heaven" – 11:21
- "Driving South" – 5:09
- "Ten Storey Love Song" – 4:29
- "Daybreak" (Ian Brown, Gary Mounfield, Squire, Alan Wren) – 6:33
- "Your Star Will Shine" – 2:59
- "Straight to the Man" (Brown) – 3:15
- "Begging You" (Squire, Brown) – 4:56
- "Tightrope" – 4:27
- "Good Times" – 5:40
- "Tears" – 6:50
- "How Do You Sleep" – 4:59
- "Love Spreads" – 5:46
The Stone Roses
|The Stone Roses|
The Stone Roses in a promo photo. From left: Mani, Ian Brown, John Squire and Reni.
|Genres||Alternative rock, Madchester, Indie rock|
|Associated acts||The Patrol, The Waterfront, The High, The Seahorses, Primal Scream, The Rub|
|Ian Brown |
The Stone Roses were an English alternative rock band formed in Manchester in 1984. They were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band's most notable lineup consisted of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield, and drummer Alan "Reni" Wren.
The band released their début album, The Stone Roses, in 1989. The album was a breakthrough success for the band. At this time the Stone Roses decided to capitalise on their success by signing to a major label; however, their current record label Silvertone would not let them out of their contract, which led to a long legal battle that culminated with the band signing with Geffen Records in 1991, and then finally releasing their second album Second Coming in 1994. The group soon disbanded after several lineup changes throughout the supporting tour, which began with Reni first departing, followed by Squire.
Formation and early releases
Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire, who knew each other from secondary school, formed a short-lived band called The Patrol in 1980 along with Andy Couzens and drummer Simon Wolstencroft - a sister band of Stretford-based "Corrosive Youth". After this Squire continued to play guitar while working as an animator for Cosgrove Hall during the day, while Brown ran a Northern soul night in a Salford club. Squire started a new band, The Waterfront, with bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield and a singer named Kaiser, influenced by 1960s groups and contemporary bands such as Orange Juice. In 1983 Brown replaced Kaiser: shortly afterwards the band changed its name to The Stone Roses. The name derived from the song "English Rose" by The Jam and from The Rolling Stones).).
By 1984 the line-up included Squire, Brown and drummer Alan Wren but bassist and former roadie Peter Garner had replaced Mounfield and there was a second guitarist, Andy Couzens,. In 1985, with a strong following, the band recorded tracks intended for their debut album with producer Martin Hannett, but the band's sound changed and the album was abandoned (it was later released as Garage Flower). The Stone Roses' first single was the Hannett-produced double A-side "So Young"/"Tell Me" but by the time of their next single, "Sally Cinnamon", the group's sound had changed considerably. Released in 1987 on FM Revolver records, "Sally Cinnamon" contained chiming guitar hooks and a strong melody.
In late 1986 Andy Couzens left the band due to differences with manager Gareth Evans, joining Steve Diggle in Buzzcocks F.O.C.. In August 1987 bassist Pete Garner also left the band and Waterfront bassist Mani (Gary Mounfield) rejoined. Brown recalled, "When Mani joined it almost changed overnight. It became a totally different groove [...] Straight away, everything just fell into place". A single, the psychedelically-tinged "Elephant Stone", followed along with an album deal with Jive/Zomba offshoot Silvertone Records.
In 1988 and early 1989 The Stone Roses recorded their debut album, produced by John Leckie.The Stone Roses was well received by the music press and is now considered one of the great British albums. The singles "Made Of Stone" and "She Bangs the Drums" were moderately successful. Later in 1989 the band released a double A-side single, "Fools Gold/What the World Is Waiting For", which reached number eight on the UK Singles Chart in November. 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. The group won four NME Readers poll awards that year; Band of the Year, Best New Band, Single of the Year (for "Fools Gold") and Album of the Year (for their debut album).
The band gained widespread notoriety when, one minute into a live 1989 TV performance on the BBC's The Late Show, the power failed, prompting Ian Brown to repeatedly roar "Amateurs!" at Tracey MacLeod.
|“||We're the most important group in the world, because we've got the best songs and we haven't even begun to show our potential yet.||”|
Ian Brown - NME - December 1989
The Stone Roses' outdoor concert at Spike Island in Widnes on 27 May 1990 was attended by approximately 27,000 people. The event, considered a failure at the time due to sound problems and bad organisation, has become legendary over the years as a "Woodstock for the baggy In mid 2010 footage of the concert was published on Youtube. The Roses followed Spike Island with another big event, at Glasgow Green. generation".
By July the band had released their final single for Silvertone, "One Love", which reached number four in the UK singles chart, The Stone Roses' highest chart-placing yet. It was to be the Roses' last original release for four years as they entered a protracted legal battle to terminate their five-year contract with Silvertone. Silvertone owners Zomba Records took out an injunction against the band in September 1990 to prevent them from recording with any other label. In May 1991 the court sided with the group, which was then released from its contract. The Stone Roses subsequently signed with Geffen Records (garnering a two-million-pound advance for their next record) and began work on their second album. However, Silvertone appealed against the ruling, delaying the record for another year.
Second Coming and breakup
Following the court case The Stone Roses separated themselves from Manchester's club culture and spent much of 1992 and 1993 travelling in Europe before they commenced work on their second album in mid-1993. However work proceeded slowly, hampered by Brown's and Squire's new fatherhood and the death of several people close to the band. John Leckie ultimately left the project as the band would not sign a production contract. Afterwards The Stone Roses assumed production duties with engineer Simon Dawson at Rockfield Studios in Wales, where they spent 347 ten-hour days working on the album.
The Stone Roses finally released the album, Second Coming, in December 1994. Mostly written by John Squire, the music now had a dark, heavy blues-rock sound. "Love Spreads" reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. Second Coming received a mixed reception from the British press, which music journalist Simon Reynolds attributed to "the resentment that the Roses, divorced from the cultural moment that gave them meaning, were now just another band".
When Reni left the band in March 1995 with no real explanation given for his departure, a replacement drummer, Robbie Maddix, who had previously worked with Rebel MC, was found. 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 "come-back" tour of the UK was planned for April 1995 but cancelled after the music press announced the dates. A major blow was the cancellation of their engagement 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 collarbone. The band finally organised a full UK tour for November and December 1995 and all dates sold out in a day.
John Squire left the band on 1 April 1996, releasing a statement describing his departure as "the inevitable conclusion to the gradual social and musical separation we have undergone in the past few years". Former Simply Red session guitarist Aziz Ibrahim was recruited. The band persevered for another six months, but in performances at Benicassim Festival and the Reading Festival in August 1996 fans booed and threw objects at the stage and Brown's vocals were described as "so off-key it was excruciating to have to listen". The music press was united in its criticism, the NME describing "I am the Resurrection" as "more like the eternal crucifixion". Brown and Mani dissolved the group in October 1996.
Ian Brown and John Squire have both had successful solo careers since the Roses' breakup. Squire formed The Seahorses, who released one album before breaking up, as well as releasing two solo albums. In 2007 he told a reporter that he was giving up music for good to focus on his career as a painter. Brown has released six solo albums, all but one of which have charted in the top 10 of the UK Albums Chart. A large number of these featured Aziz Ibrahim on guitar.
Neither Mani nor Reni have pursued solo careers. Mani joined Primal Scream as bassist in 1996 and has remained in the band. Reni has remained inactive for the most part since the Roses' breakup. He started a new band called The Rub in 1999, and played several gigs but nothing has been heard of The Rub since. In an interview in 2005 he said he was writing new songs to perform with Mani.
The 20th-anniversary edition of the band's début album was released in August 2009, remastered by John Leckie and Ian Brown, including a collectors' box-set edition and the previously unreleased song 'Pearl Bastard'.
Reports of reunion
Squire and Brown have both repeatedly denied any possibility of a reunion: the pair have not spoken since Squire resigned. Squire, interviewed in May 2007, asserted that if Brown asked he would turn the offer down.
A partial reunion took place on 30 March 2007 at former Smiths' bassist Andy Rourke's charity concert in aid of Manchester Versus Cancer. Ian Brown was joined by Mani and unofficial fifth member Cressa, along with Andy Rourke, Maka Simato and Steve White to perform "I Am the Resurrection". Reni was supposedly lined up to play drums but did not turn up.
After telling Tim Lovejoy that, if The Specials reformed, he would reunite the Stone Roses, Mani announced that he, Reni and John Squire wanted to reunite for the 20th anniversary of the debut album but that he needed to persuade Ian Brown. A spokesman for Squire stated in January 2009 that Squire "has no plans to return to music".
The UK's Daily Mirror reported on 17 March 2009 that "sources" had confirmed that the band was to reform in 2009 for a 21-date tour. The report was given sufficient credence to be repeated on the New Musical Express's website but John Squire and Ian Brown both denied it.
On 19 March 2009, it was reported that John Squire had created a piece of artwork depicting his less than positive views of the band reforming. The piece read "I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses 18.3.09", which strongly indicated that rumours of the band reforming were highly unlikely. In an interview on the BBC's Newsnight, Squire stated that he thought the reunion of the band would never happen even if Ian Brown and he were on speaking terms as he would refuse, not being interested in reforming the band. He said that he would be dedicating himself to his visual art work and that "music is a young man's game".
On 9 June 2009 Mani stated that the band would reform if they were offered enough money but admitted that he's "very nearly given up" on trying to orchestrate a reunion and two months later told BBC Newsbeat how Ian Brown "isn't up for it at all".
When promoting his 2009 album My Way Ian Brown stated he would consider a reunion for charity, donating the proceeds to youth clubs if the other band members were to agree to do the same. However in another interview he stated "the chances are slim".
Musical style and influences
The Stone Roses were part of the Madchester movement, a style of alternative rock that mixed acid house rhythms with guitar pop sounds. In contrast to their contemporaries Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses based their sound on traditional pop songs, merely enhanced by dance beats. The band's influences included garage rock, Mod Revival, Northern soul, punk rock, and artists such as Sonic Youth, The Beatles, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, The Sex PistolsThe Clash. Brown and Mani favoured reggae but their bandmates didn't, instead preferring heavy metal. and
Classic line up 1987-1995
- Ian Brown - lead vocals (February 1984 to August 1996)
- John Squire - guitar (February 1984 to April 1996)
- Mani (Gary Mounfield) - bass guitar (August 1987 to August 1996)
- Reni (Alan Wren) - drums and backing vocals (February 1984 to February 1995)
Before main lineup:
- Andy Couzens - rhythm guitar and vocals (February 1984 to July 1986)
- Pete Garner - bass (February 1984 to August 1987)
After main lineup:
- Robbie Maddix - drums and backing vocals (April 1995 to August 1996, replaced Reni)
- Nigel Ippinson - keyboards and backing vocals (July 1995 to August 1996)
- Aziz Ibrahim - guitar (April 1996 to August 1996, replaced John Squire)