The Stone Roses

The inside story...

As The Stone Roses chimed this warning all across the flip-side of their ‘Sally Cinnamon’ single in May 1987, few could forecast the melodic sea change that was about drench the drab indie scene, washing away its self-obsessed misery and melancholia. And few would ever believe how fast this band could ascend, then simply vanish…

From their very early days, these four lads from North Manchester were blessed with a belief that many people scoffed at. The mid-1980s in the north of England was all about regionalist swagger; a world dominated for so long by Joy Division, New Order and The Smiths. Ian Brown and John Squire, however, had a different vision, and weren’t about to follow anyone or any band.

From their lyrics to the sound of their guitars; from their misfit clothes and paint-spattered instruments to the way their album sleeves shone in stoned delight, they refused, from the very first stride, to follow in anyone else’s footsteps.

They didn’t court the press. They declined to support other bands, and renounced the live indie treadmill to do their own warehouse parties. Their warm-ups were DJs plugging into the brewing acid house revolution.

Everything about them was different, special, new. The garage rock of their early years initially appeared as just more grey against the black background of a music scene swimming in dire dirge and thick, entrenched distortion. Yet by the end of the decade, with the release of a debut album whose magic shimmered from every track, the Roses had revolutionised the indie scene from their own backyard. As the perceived London elite scrambled north to steal their share of the sonic manna, everyone dared to dream a little bit deeper to a backdrop of hedonism and blurred social boundaries.

What follows is a literary artefact, twenty years on from their era-defining debut, by those who were there. From the lead singer to his tour DJ. From the journalists who wrote about them to the photographers in the pit at their greatest gigs. From their producers and friends to the festival organisers keen to do them proud…

This is, verbatim, why The Stone Roses are one of Britain’s most significant bands.

The Early Years

The Producer: John Leckie interview

The Life And Times Of The Stone Roses: By those who were there

The Stone Roses At Glastonbury By Michael Eavis

Tim Burgess – The Charlatans frontman on the Roses’ impact.

The Frontman: Ian Brown interview

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