The decade that changed everything
We’ve had one Mancunian 80’s giant, so why not have another, this time, it’s the turn of the Stone Roses.
From ‘Scarborough Fair’ melodies and catchy guitar riffs, The Roses managed to put together one hell of an album, which similar to last weeks ‘Double Fantasy’, was at first a bit of a flop, but ‘Stone Roses’ is now regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, and especially of the 80’s. The album was recorded in London and Monmouthshire, and produced by John Leckie, who had then recently worked with Pink Floyd on their ‘Meddle’ album, and all songs were written by two gods of Manchester, Ian Brown and John Squire.
The Stone Roses formed in ’83, and this album was released in 1989, and to support the album the band performed a stream of highly successful gigs, including dates at the Hacienda. However, their biggest performance came a year after the release of the album, where The Stone Roses played one of the biggest gigs in Mancunian music history, as they took to the stage at Spike Island, two nights in a row. All songs on this truly fantastic album were penned by Brown and Squire, and it was a perfect partnership. Squire’s roaring guitar, which in places is reminiscent to Hendrix, was almost a polar opposite to the lyrics which Brown was writing for the most part of the album. Brown was dismal and thoughtful, whereas Squire was loud and in-your-face, which created a perfect storm, and a severely underrated, and often overlooked, song writing partnership.
Despite the genius of Squire and Brown, the roses would have been nothing without their rhythm section. The beautiful noise and wonderful groove that Mani and Reni created was something that was utterly astounding at the time, and still takes away your breath whenever you hear ‘Fools Gold’, which just makes you want to get up and dance no matter how many times you hear it, and live, that song is taken into a whole new world of mesmerising brilliance. Although, ‘Fools Gold’ isn’t the only masterpiece for the rhythm section, as there are beautiful basslines, and terrific drums scattered throughout this 11 track work of art. From the opening bass riff of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, to the sharp drums of ‘She Bangs The Drums’, Mani and Reni are two perfectly matched musicians, who are the Lennon/McCartney of drum and bass partnerships. Then there was the talented fingers of John Squire, who when he is placed in a studio, or on a stage, with a guitar, gives it absolutely everything, and some of his riffs are utterly phenomenal, and highly overlooked for no apparent reason. He was the Hendrix/Page of the 80’s, and by far one of the most talented guitarists there has been that wasn’t in a 60’s/70’s rock band. From the jangly tones of ‘This Is The One’ to the perfection that is sewn throughout ‘Fools Gold’. And then there’s Ian. An unfortunately overlooked vocalist, whose vocals aren’t to everyone’s taste, yet they were the perfect addition to the Stone Roses. They weren’t too over-the-top, yet they weren’t lacking anything, they were the perfect match for the band.
This album was an artform, put together by 4 highly-capable artists, to come out with something that spoke to a generation, and continues to influence the lives of each generation, as it’s an album that gets passed down from generation to generation, especially in Manchester.
The Roses kick-started a whole new scene in music, not only did they help put the Madchester scene in the history books, they also helped create a new genre, known as ‘baggy’.