Nearly Perfect Albums – #23

Stone Roses – Stone Roses

It was my mate Jimmy who finally turned me on to the Stone Roses, we were walking back from the football, having seen relegation threatened Gillingham narrowly lose to three lucky goals from promotion chasing Stockport County.  A car stopped and asked us the way to the Ice Bowl and “She Bangs the Drums” blared out from inside it. I suppose that turned my head, because it’s a great song, but it was Jimmy who one hour later thrust his vinyl copy of the album into my paws with the warning that “he would remove my spleen with a fork if I scratched or damaged it in anyway”.

She Bangs the Drums – The Stone Roses (Silvertone Records, 1989)

Jimmy was a raver, he was heavily into his acid house, regularly went to large illegal parties in the middle of the woods or in abandoned warehouses held on isolated industrial estates, and I didn’t for a second think that ‘The Stone Roses’ would have been his thing at all.  Seconds before he handed me the album and delivered his frankly menacing warning, he told me that ‘The Stone Roses’ was the greatest rave record out there.  I was confused, but not for very long, in fact it took about fifty seconds of the epic rumbling bassline that opens ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ for me to realise that indie, rave, hooks and beats belong together. 

I Wanna Be Adored – The Stone Roses (1989, Silvertone Records)

Of course, when you sit back and look at this record with a clean pair of eyes, its easy to see its value and its influence on not only every half decent band that has followed but pretty much an entire generation.  A generation who needed brilliant insanely catchy songs about love, sex, ambition and one with the greatest guitar solos ever recorded – with the possible exception of THIS one.

But its not just the songs, it’s the way that Ian Brown’s vocals just work, it’s the way that John Squire’s guitar soars, and switch effortlessly and seamlessly with the grace of genius from the intricate sections to a full-blown assault, its way that Mani’s bass rumbles, twists, turns, atmospherically, it’s the way that Reni’s drums sound like they are being played inside out.  It’s the way that even thirty five years later, when I know the song back to front and sideways, ‘Made of Stone’ still make the hairs on my arm stand up and my spine go all shivery.  Like I said, seamlessly, effortlessly genius.

Made of Stone – The Stone Roses (1989, Silvertone Records)

About a week or so later, I gave the album back to Jimmy, I’d played it about six times a day, and made not one but two copies of it – in case I lost one or it got chewed up – we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing about in his dads lounge listening to it as loud as we could stand, which was quite loud as it happens, especially the last four minutes or so and with my spleen intact.

I Am The Resurrection – The Stone Roses (1989, Silvertone Records)



  1. Jez says:

    A few years ago, I was at a barbecue, stood in uncomfortable silence with a group of similarly aged men who had exhausted every topic of conversation we had in our lockers (football, cars and…erm…uh……). Somebody popped this album on and suddenly all social awkwardness dissipated as we all just stood there and sang together. Every word, of every song. Even the backwards one. And you could tell, the record meant something to every one of us.

    It’s a thing of pure beauty, and no mistake.


  2. JC says:

    It’s an age thing.

    Folk a few year younger than me rave (pardon the pun) about The Roses and this album. I don’t quite get the fuss, although I will happily admit it’s a decent enough listen. 7/10 if I was asked to grade it……


  3. barrystubbs says:

    Jc I feel the same way about nearly every Jam record.


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