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Ian Brown

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Ian Brown
Brown in 2012
Brown in 2012
Background information
Birth nameIan George Brown
Born (1963-02-20) 20 February 1963 (age 61)
Warrington, England
OriginAltrincham, England
  • Singer
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • Vocals
  • percussion
  • keyboards
  • guitar
  • bass
Years active
  • 1980–1996
  • 1998–present
Formerly of

Ian George Brown (born 20 February 1963) is an English musician. He was the lead singer and the only continuous member of the alternative rock band the Stone Roses from their formation in 1983. Following the band's initial split in 1996, he began a solo career, releasing seven studio albums, a greatest hits compilation, a remix album, an 11-disc box set titled Collection, and 19 singles. He returned to singing for the Stone Roses in 2011, although this did not spell the end of his solo endeavours, releasing First World Problems through Virgin/EMI Records on 25 October 2018.

Early life and education[edit]

Brown was born in Warrington on 20 February 1963 and grew up on Forster Street, Orford, until the age of about six.[1][2] His father, George, was a joiner, and his mother, Jean, worked as a receptionist in a paper factory.[2] He then moved with his family, including a brother (David) and sister (Sharon) to Sylvan Avenue in Timperley, Altrincham.[3][4][5][6][7]

He attended Park Road County Primary Infant and Junior School and then Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, leaving aged 16.[7] In 2015 and 2017, he testified against a former teacher at Altrincham Grammar, Fred Talbot, who was found guilty of sexually abusing pupils in the 1970s.[8]

Brown's interest in music was inspired by the punk movement, specifically the bands Sex Pistols, the Clash, and Manchester-based Slaughter & the Dogs. He was also an early follower of psychobilly music and was a regular at many scooter rallies in the north of England.[9] Brown and original Stone Roses bassist Pete Garner attended the recording of the Clash single "Bankrobber" in Manchester.[10]

Music career[edit]

The Stone Roses[edit]

Brown's music career began in 1980, playing bass guitar in a band with John Squire and Simon Wolstencroft.[11] They eventually became the Patrol, with Andy Couzens on vocals. The band soon split up, with Brown selling his bass to buy a scooter.[12] Brown moved to Hulme and attended Northern soul "all-nighters" across Northern England in the early 1980s as the scene faded. Around this time, Brown met soul legend Geno Washington, who told him, "You should be a star."[13] In 1983, Brown joined the Waterfront, the band that would evolve into the Stone Roses, as co-vocalist.[14]

The Stone Roses rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with their debut album voted the best British album of all time in 2004.[15] The band's second album, Second Coming, received a mixed reaction, and after several changes of line-up, the band split up in October 1996.

On 17 October 2011, Brown alluded to a Stone Roses reunion via text message, saying, "We are going to rule the world again. It's happening."[16] On the following day, a reunion was announced for the band with performances planned for June 2012 in Manchester.[17][18] In a press conference interview, the members of the Stone Roses have said that a new album is planned.[19]

On 2 December 2011, Ian Brown and John Squire performed together live for the first time since 1995. They joined Mick Jones from The Clash, The Farm, and Pete Wylie at the Manchester Ritz in a concert in aid of the Justice for Hillsborough campaign. They performed "Elizabeth My Dear" as a duo before being joined by Mick Jones and The Farm for renditions of the Clash's "Bankrobber" and "Armagideon Time", with Ian Brown taking on lead vocals for the three songs.

The Stone Roses reunited in 2011 and went on a reunion tour in 2012. They continued to tour until 2017 when the band disbanded for a second time.

Solo career[edit]

After a break from music in Morocco, Brown established his solo career with the debut solo single "My Star", which was released in the UK on 12 January 1998.[20] The debut album Unfinished Monkey Business followed on 2 February 1998. The album was produced and financed by Brown and featured ex-Roses members Mani, Nigel Ipinson, Aziz Ibrahim, and Robbie Maddix.[21] The album sold over 300,000 copies.[22]

Brown toured in summer 1998 with a band that included Aziz Ibrahim (guitar), Inder "Goldfinger" Matharu (tabla/percussion), Simon Moore (drums), and Sylvan Richardson (bass), including performances at the Glastonbury Festival and the V Festival.[23] Brown was arrested after a flight back from his live show in Paris and later sentenced to four months in prison for using threatening behaviour towards an airline stewardess and captain, a charge he denied, causing his tour to be rescheduled.[24][25] His bandmate Aziz Ibrahim condemned the sentence, saying that Brown was "just being cheeky".[26] He had threatened to cut off the hands of the stewardess and hammered on the cockpit door, as the plane came in to land.[27] A few weeks before, he had threatened a magazine critic, who had given his album a one-star review, to a "good kicking".[27]

While in Strangeways Prison, Brown wrote the lyrics for "Free My Way", "So Many Soldiers", and "Set My Baby Free".[28] He was released on parole after two months.

His second album, Golden Greats, was released by Polydor Records in 1999. It featured more electronic instrumentation and earned critical acclaim.[citation needed] For his third studio album, Music of the Spheres, Brown sought outside production help for the first time, hiring the services of songwriter and producer Dave McCracken, who would go on to become a regular collaborator. He toured the US for the first time as a solo artist in support of the album.[29]

Brown's fourth solo album, Solarized, was released in the UK on 13 September 2004 and was the first to be released under the revived Polydor imprint Fiction Records. When his new Fiction A&R Jim Chancellor was asked in HitQuarters what contribution he makes to Brown's records, he said, "There's not as much to do. Ian is very much the master of his own records."[30]

Since the break-up of the Stone Roses in 1996, Brown has released six solo albums and fourteen UK Top 40 singles.[31] He has sold out seven UK tours and appeared three times at the Glastonbury Festival, including headlining the Other Stage in 2005.[32] He has appeared five times at V Festival since 1998, along with regular appearances at T in the Park and Oxegen festivals, and played the Move festival in 2002 at Old Trafford Cricket Ground[33] as well as two tours of Australia in 2006 and 2008.

Ian Brown at the Witnness festival in Ireland in 2002

At the 2006 NME awards, Brown was presented with the "Godlike Genius" award and in 2007, was given the Q "Legend" Award.[34][35]

In September 2007, Brown released his fifth studio album, The World Is Yours. The album represented a more political approach[citation needed] in his music, particularly the anti-war track "Illegal Attacks", which featured Sinéad O'Connor. The album also featured former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke, Paul Ryder of Happy Mondays,[36] and Steve Jones and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols.

My Way, his sixth solo album, was released in September 2009.[37] It was recorded at London's Battery Studios with producer Dave McCracken; the first single, "Stellify", was released 21 September 2009. Brown played Manchester Arena for the third time in December 2009 and in 2010, made his third appearance in Moscow and second in Beijing, China. Since turning solo in 1998, Brown has played shows in 45 countries.[38]

Brown has collaborated several times with UNKLE, appearing on "Be There" in 1999 and on "Reign" on the 2003 album Never, Never, Land, which was also released as a single.[39]

On 25 October 2018, he released his first solo material in nine years with the single "First World Problems". His seventh studio album, Ripples, was then released on 1 February 2019.

On 18 September 2020, Brown announced the release of new song "Little Seed, Big Tree" through his Twitter account. The song appears to refer to the COVID-19 pandemic, and express anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine sentiment.[40] Brown later complained that it was taken off Spotify. A Spotify spokesman stated that the platform "prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, deceptive, or misleading content about COVID-19".[41]

In September 2022 he made the first appearance of a UK tour, with a sold-out performance in Leeds. His use of backing tracks in place of a live band was met with a negative reaction by some attendees.[42][43]

Film and television[edit]

Brown had a cameo role in the 2004 film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as a wizard magically stirring his drink while reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time at the Leaky Cauldron.[44] In 2010, Brown had a cameo role as a police officer in Shane Meadow's series This is England '86 based on the film of This is England.

Personal life[edit]

Brown is a teetotaler, claiming that he has not had a drink of alcohol since 1999.[45]

Brown was married to Fabiola Quiroz, a model from Mexico. They divorced in 2011.[46] He has three children, one with Quiroz, the other two from a previous relationship.[47]

Brown is a lifelong supporter of Manchester United and is a season ticket holder.[48] For the 2005–06 season, Brown was the shirt sponsor of London Commercial Division football team Chiswick Homefields, the players wearing an "IB – The Greatest" logo on their chests.[49]

Legal issues[edit]

In October 1998, Brown was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail for threatening a British Airways attendant on a flight to Manchester from Paris. He spent two months in jail.[50][51] In June 2005, Brown was arrested in San Francisco after an altercation with a fan who tackled Brown on stage. However, no charges were pressed against Brown.[52][53] In 2011, Brown was given a driving ban following three speeding violations. He was fined over £1,900.[54]


Brown believes in God, but does not subscribe to any organized religion.[55]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, Brown promoted conspiracy theories[56] and misinformation about the pandemic,[57][58] and criticised lockdowns, the use of masks and the COVID-19 vaccine.[59] In July 2021, Brown received a two-week Twitter ban for posting false claims that the vaccine was not effective. He pulled out of a festival headline slot as he disagreed with its vaccine passport for entry policy, calling it the "new nazi normal".[57] His anti-lockdown song "Little Seed, Big Tree", which featured lyrics alluding to conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine,[60] was taken down from Spotify.[41]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Ian Brown has won several awards and magazine polls in his career, in recognition of his work as a solo artist and his work with the Stone Roses. The awards he has won are as follows:

The Stone Roses
  • 1997 The Stone Roses reached No. 5 in The Guardian's 100 Best Albums Ever poll
  • 1998 The Stone Roses reached No. 4 in Q magazine's 100 Best Albums Ever poll
  • 2004 The Stone Roses reached No. 1 in The Observer's 100 Best British Albums Ever poll
  • 2006 The Stone Roses reached No. 1 in the NME writers 100 Best British Albums Ever poll
  • 2006 The Stone Roses reached No. 7 in NME fans 100 Best Albums Ever poll


In the UK, Ian Brown as solo artist has sold over 500,000 albums.

Solo albums[edit]


Year Title UK[31] IRL[66] Certification
1998 Unfinished Monkey Business 4 UK: Gold
1999 Golden Greats 14 UK: Gold
2001 Music of the Spheres 3 6 UK: Gold
2004 Solarized 7 14 UK: Gold
2007 The World Is Yours 4 7 UK: Silver
2009 My Way 8 13 UK: Silver
2019 Ripples 4 14[67]


Year Title UK
2002 Remixes of the Spheres 87


Year Title UK[31] IRL[66] Certification
2005 The Greatest 5 13 UK: Platinum
2005 The Greatest Promos


Year Title UK
1998 "My Star" 5 9 Unfinished Monkey Business
"Corpses in Their Mouths" 14 26
"Can't See Me" 21
1999 "Be There" (UNKLE featuring Ian Brown) 8 22 Psyence Fiction
"Love Like a Fountain" 23 Golden Greats
2000 "Dolphins Were Monkeys" 5 28
"Golden Gaze" 29 50
"Thriller" "Golden Gaze"
2001 "F.E.A.R." (Certified Silver in the UK on 22 July 2013) 13 19 Music of the Spheres
2002 "Whispers" 33
2004 "Keep What Ya Got" 18 29 Solarized
"Reign" (UNKLE featuring Ian Brown) 40 Never, Never, Land
2005 "Time Is My Everything" 15 29 Solarized
"All Ablaze" 20 32 The Greatest
2007 "Illegal Attacks" (Ian Brown featuring Sinéad O'Connor) 16 32 The World Is Yours
"Sister Rose" 87
2009 "Stellify" 31 42 My Way
"Just Like You"
2018 "First World Problems" Ripples
2023 "Rules" [a] Non-album single


  1. ^ "Rules" did not enter the UK Top 100 Singles Chart but debuted and peaked at number 62 on the UK Singles Downloads Chart on 19 May 2023.[70]


  1. ^ John Robb (2012). The Stone Roses: With Exclusive Interviews and New Chapters. Ebury Press. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-0-09-194858-0.
  2. ^ a b Robb, p. 13
  3. ^ "Ian Brown – Celebrity fans – Interviews". FourFourTwo. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  4. ^ Simon Hattenstone (22 September 2005). "Simon Hattenstone meets Ian Brown | Music". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  5. ^ Music (7 April 2011). "The Stone Roses: a potted history". London: Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Timperley, a historical part of Cheshire | Living Edge". Livingedge.greatbritishlife.co.uk. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b Robb, p. 14-19
  8. ^ "Stone Roses' Ian Brown 'shown gay porn by Fred Talbot'". BBC News. 27 January 2015.
    "Stone Roses singer Ian Brown gives evidence at Fred Talbot trial". BBC News. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  9. ^ Robb, p. 20-21
  10. ^ Robb, p. 30
  11. ^ Robb, p. 31
  12. ^ Robb, p. 48-49
  13. ^ Robb, p. 70
  14. ^ Robb, p. 71
  15. ^ "Stone Roses 'top British album'", BBC, 20 June 2004, retrieved 12 August 2011
  16. ^ "Ian Brown on the Stone Roses reunion: 'It's happening'". NME. UK. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  17. ^ "The Stone Roses confirm reunion and two homecoming shows for 2012". NME. UK. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Stone Roses reunion praised by Liam Gallagher, Mark Ronson". Digital Spy. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Stone Roses Reunion Tour and New Album is Happening". Spacelab. 18 October 2011. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  20. ^ Robb, p. 380
  21. ^ Robb, p. 383
  22. ^ Robb, p. 386
  23. ^ Robb, p. 387
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  25. ^ "Ex-Stone Roses star goes back to jail", BBC, 2 November 1998, retrieved 12 August 2011
  26. ^ "Aziz: 'Ian was Made an Example of'", NME, 10 October 1998, retrieved 12 August 2011
  27. ^ a b Hogan, Michael (27 October 2020). "'I'm gonna give you a proper Manchester kicking': Ian Brown's journey from violence to anti-vaxxer". Daily Telegraph.
  28. ^ Robb, p. 390
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  30. ^ "Interview With Jim Chancellor". HitQuarters. 26 October 2005. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  31. ^ a b c d "Ian Brown | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Glasto 2005 ends in style", BBC, 27 June 2005, retrieved 12 August 2011
  33. ^ "Northern Jam", NME, 13 July 2002, retrieved 12 August 2011
  34. ^ a b "Ian Brown declared Godlike Genius | News". NME. UK. 31 January 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  35. ^ a b "Ian Brown – Legend Archived 4 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine", Q Awards, retrieved 12 August 2011
  36. ^ "Ian Brown chases Paul McCartney for new album", NME, 6 January 2007, retrieved 12 August 2011
  37. ^ Lee, Ann (2009) "Ian Brown does epic rock his way", Metro, 28 September 2009, retrieved 12 August 2011
  38. ^ "Ian Brown Concert Setlists". setlist.fm. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  39. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (2003) "UNKLE, Never, Never, Land", The Guardian, 12 September 2003, retrieved 14 August 2011
  40. ^ Jones, Damien (18 September 2020). "Ian Brown shares anti-lockdown song 'Little Seed Big Tree' and hits out again over coronavirus". NME. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  41. ^ a b Richards, Will (13 March 2021). "Ian Brown says Spotify has taken down his anti-lockdown song 'Little Seed Big Tree'". NME. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  42. ^ Rodger, James (26 September 2022). "Ian Brown fans 'walk out' as singer performs to backing track on UK tour". BirminghamLive.
  43. ^ Richards, Will (26 September 2022). "Ian Brown fans share anger after Stone Roses singer plays sold out Leeds gig with no band". NME.
  44. ^ "Potter man to work with Ian Brown?", RTÉ, 26 August 2004, retrieved 12 August 2011
  45. ^ WENN (22 May 2006). "Teetotal Brown: 'I'm Not A Hellraiser'". contactmusic.net. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017.
  46. ^ "Stone Roses to reunite as Ian Brown faces costly divorce bill". The Daily Telegraph. 18 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  47. ^ "Ian Brown's moneymaking kids". Boston.com. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  48. ^ Bainbridge, Luke (1 February 2009). "My sporting life: Ian Brown". The Guardian. London.
  49. ^ "Ian Brown gets shirty – Chiswick Homefields FC Archived 7 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine", glasswerk.co.uk, 17 September 2005, retrieved 12 August 2011
  50. ^ "Stone Roses' Ian Brown Gets Four Months". MTV. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  51. ^ "I'm no criminal, says air rage singer". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  52. ^ NME (16 March 2005). "IAN BROWN ARRESTED AFTER ONSTAGE FIGHT". NME. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  53. ^ "Ian Brown arrested". Manchester Evening News. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  54. ^ "Stone Roses singer Ian Brown banned from driving". the Guardian. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  55. ^ Thomas, Rich (19 June 2011). "My Philosophy: Ian Brown". Magnetic Magazine. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  56. ^ "Pop star Ian Brown's anti-vaxx Japanese blood conspiracy theory debunked". uk.news.yahoo.com. June 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  57. ^ a b Snapes, Laura (4 March 2021). "Ian Brown pulls out of music festival over Covid vaccination row". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  58. ^ "Ian Brown Won't Play Shows With Vaccination Requirements". SPIN. 27 February 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  59. ^ "Ian Brown accuses Spotify of censoring his anti-lockdown song". Entertainment.ie. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  60. ^ "Ian Brown steps down from festival over vaccine". BBC News. 4 March 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  61. ^ "New award for pop princess Kylie", breakingnews.ie, 25 February 2002, retrieved 14 August 2011
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  63. ^ "Gorillaz lead Brit Awards race", BBC, 15 January 2002, retrieved 12 August 2011
  64. ^ Edwards, Fiona (2006) "Kaiser Chiefs take three Brit Awards", digitalspy.co.uk, 16 February 2006, retrieved 12 August 2011
  65. ^ Singh, Anita (2009) "Duffy, Coldplay and Neil Diamond on the Brit Awards nominations list", Daily Telegraph, 21 January 2009, retrieved 12 August 2011
  66. ^ a b c "Ian Brown". Irishcharts.com. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  67. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  68. ^ "Ian Brown Archived 9 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine", Official Charts Company, retrieved 12 August 2011
  69. ^ "Irish Chart History 1962–present". Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  70. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100 19 May 2023 - 25 May 2023". Official Charts. 19 May 2023. Retrieved 27 May 2023.


  • Larkin, Colin (ed.) (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3
  • Robb, John (2001) The Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop, Random House, ISBN 0-09-187887-X

External links[edit]