The Stone Roses is the debut album by English rock band The Stone Roses, released on Silvertone Records in 1989. It is widely considered by critics as the seminal record of the Madchester movement that was active in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and as being highly influential on the mid-1990s resurrection of British guitar music that came to be known as Britpop. Although it was not an immediate success, the album's perceived importance has grown among critics, who have since voted it high in polls of the greatest albums of all time.
The Stone Roses formed in 1983 and released their full-length début in April/May 1989,[a] having previously released a handful of singles on several different labels. The band came from Manchester, where the so-called Madchester movement was centred. Despite not considering themselves part of this scene, their eponymous debut brought them nationwide success along with such Madchester groups as the Inspiral Carpets and Happy Mondays.
The melody for the song "Elizabeth My Dear" is based on the English traditional "Scarborough Fair".
The band played several high-profile gigs supporting the album, including one at what was regarded as the centre of the "Baggy"/"Madchester" scene, Manchester's The Haçienda nightclub. Andrew Collins wrote in NME: "Bollocks to Morrissey at Wolverhampton, to The Sundays at The Falcon, to PWEI at Brixton – I'm already drafting a letter to my grandchildren telling them that I saw The Stone Roses at the Haçienda."
The Roses' 1990 Spike Island gig, organised by the band and attended by over 27,000 fans, also holds a formidable reputation. Critics have frequently labelled it the 'Woodstock of the baggy generation'.
As with most Stone Roses releases, the cover displays a work by John Squire. It is a Jackson Pollock-influenced piece titled "Bye Bye Badman," which makes reference to the May 1968 riots in Paris. The cover was named by Q magazine as one of "The 100 Best Covers of All Time." In the accompanying article, Squire said: "Ian [Brown] had met this French man when he was hitching around Europe, this bloke had been in the riots, and he told Ian how lemons had been used as an antidote to tear gas. Then there was the documentary—-a great shot at the start of a guy throwing stones at the police. I really liked his attitude." This story was also the inspiration for the lyrics to the song of the same name. The background of the piece is based on the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The band visited the causeway while playing a gig at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.
Upon its release in the United Kingdom, The Stone Roses received little attention from music critics and consumers. It was well received by British publications NME and Melody Maker, who were covering the Madchester music scene at the time.Bob Stanley of Melody Maker called the album "godlike" and found the "spine of the LP" to be John Squire's guitar playing, which he called "beautifully flowing, certainly psychedelic, there are elements of Hendrix (especially on 'Shoot You Down') and Marr (check out the fade to 'Bye Bye Badman'), but the rest is the lad's own work".NME ranked The Stone Roses number two on its year-end list for 1989. The band received more mainstream exposure after their debut on Top of the Pops in 1990. In a less enthusiastic review for The Village Voice, American critic Robert Christgau found the band "overhyped" and no different than the numerous indie bands in the United States: "they're surprisingly 'eclectic.' Not all that good at it, but eclectic ... Though they have their moments as songwriters—'Bye Bye Badman' always stops me, and 'I Want to Be Adored' sums them up—their music is about sound, fingers lingering over the strings and so forth."
Since its initial reception, The Stone Roses has been acclaimed by critics and musicians alike. It has also been viewed as an even more important album than when it was first released, as reflected by its high ranking in polls of the greatest albums of all time.Rolling Stone called it "a blast of magnificent arrogance, a fusion of Sixties-pop sparkle and the blown-mind drive of U.K. rave culture".BBC Music's Chris Jones said that it serves as a peerless testament to the fusion of rock and dance music inspired by "working class hedonism" at the end of the 1980s.Mojo strongly recommended its 1999 reissue to listeners and wrote that the album "set the tone for rock music in the '90s". Bernadette McNulty of The Daily Telegraph felt that the 2009 reissue polished the band's bold mix of blend discordant psychedelic sounds and clever dance beats, but that its legacy as a fabled debut album was enhanced more by the darker, masculine music that followed in Manchester during the 1990s. Zeth Lundy of the Boston Phoenix wrote that it "has been deified by such dubious tastemakers as the NME and Oasis's Noel Gallagher — and the rest of us really like it too".
On the other hand, American music journalist Jim DeRogatis felt that the record has been highly overrated by critics, while Neil Kulkarni of The Quietus said that its first three songs are enjoyable, but followed by a "right barrel-load of shite afterwards". Fiona Sturges of The Independent found Brown's singing and songwriting remarkably poor and objected to the editors of NME after they voted The Stone Roses the best British album of all time. In an article on overhyped records for The Guardian, Peter Robinson said that The Stone Roses is "an average rock album – lyrically pedestrian and with a sonic policy swerving from the play-safe to the over-indulgent". After the record was voted the second-best ever in a UK public poll, Channel 4 broadcast a presentation of the results in which three of the presenters—musician Bob Geldof, critic Paul Gambaccini, and artist Justine Frischmann—were critical of the album's inclusion in the top 100 and attributed it to the generation of listeners who voted rather than the record's quality. As one of several musicians asked by The Guardian to comment on "the supposedly great records they'd gladly never hear again", English singer Eddie Argos elected to give a negative appraisal of The Stone Roses.
In 1997, The Stones Roses was named the second greatest album of all time in a "Music of the Millennium" poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 29 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever." In 2004, the album was voted the best British album of all time in The Observer 's poll of 100 musicians and critics. In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No. 5 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s". In 2008, it was named the 5th "greatest British album ever" by a Q magazine/HMV poll.
In 2000, it received the "greatest album ever" award at the NME Premier Awards show, and in 2006, the album topped the magazine's "100 Greatest British Albums Ever" list. In summer 2009, NME released a special issue about the album's 20th anniversary, labelling it as "the greatest debut album ever". In 2005, Spin magazine ranked it 78 on its list of the "100 greatest albums of the past twenty years." In the same year, when revising the "500 Greatest Albums" for book format, Rolling Stone included it as one of the eight new entries placing it at No. 497 and in a 2012 revised list, the album placed at #498. In 2006, Time named it one of "The All-TIME 100 Albums". In 2003, Pitchfork Media named it the 39th best album of the 1980s. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 28 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".
In 2006, British Hit Singles & Albums and NME organised a poll of which, 40,000 people worldwide voted for the 100 best albums ever and The Stone Roses was placed at No. 7 on the list. In 2010, The Stone Roses won the Mojo Classic Album award. Upon announcing the award, Mojo noted how the band 'managed to sum up an era and to create a piece of work that also transcends the time in which it was made', before asking 'Is there a more iconic British album of the last two decades?' In 2013 The Flaming Lips and friends honoured the record with The Time Has Come to Shoot You Down… What a Sound, a reworking of the entire album.
The album was first released in the UK in 21 April 1989, and in the US on 25 July 1989. In 1999, on the 10th anniversary of its release, a two-disc special edition re-release of The Stone Roses reached No. 9 on the UK albums chart. In 2007 a remastered version was released by Silvertone as a Carbon Neutral Entertainment CD (with tips about Energy Saving). In 2009, the remastered 20th anniversary edition was released in several formats: the standard 11-track album (with the bonus track "Fools Gold") on CD and 12" vinyl LP (the LP version includes a bonus one-sided 7" single featuring the unreleased demo track "Pearl Bastard"); a deluxe edition 2CD/1DVD set, featuring the album on disc one, a 15-track collection of unreleased demos titled The Lost Demos on disc two, and a DVD featuring a 1989 live performance titled Live in Blackpool; and a 3CD/3LP/1DVD collector's edition box set, which features:
The remastered 11-track album on one CD and one LP
The Lost Demos on one CD
The B-sides on one CD
Live in Blackpool DVD
A 48-page booklet, containing unseen photos and new interviews
Six 12"-sized art prints featuring John Squire's original single artwork
A lemon-shaped USB stick, featuring digital files of:
The album, the demos, and the B-sides
Five previously unreleased "backwards tracks"
Six music videos
Up at Sawmills: The Making of Fools Gold documentary video
^ abKane, Peter (February 1990). "Space Invaders" (print). Q Magazine. Retrieved 24 November 2011. "But it was the important first album, released last April, which has confirmed them as the band most likely to"
^ ab"The Stone Roses". Melody Maker. 9 December 1989. Archived from the original on 21 October 2002. Retrieved 24 November 2011. "When The Stone Roses delivered their debut LP at the end of April, all hell was let loose."
^Music of the Millennium. Episode 4. 29 January 1998. Channel 4. Bob Geldof: "Number two? Forget it, that's ridiculous. They shouldn't be in there: they have a decent album – good luck to them – but that's preposterous...it's, hey, a generation thing, man." Justine Frischmann: "Isn't it?" Paul Gambaccini: "Exactly. This tells you who voted, more than anything else."