Brown in 2010
|Birth name||Ian George Brown|
|Born||20 February 1963|
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock, alternative dance|
|Occupation(s)||Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, actor|
|Instruments||Vocals, percussion, keyboards, piano, harmonica, guitar, bass guitar, drums, bongos, cabasa|
|Years active||1980–1996, 1998–present|
|Labels||Polydor/Fiction Records (UK)|
Interscope, E1 Music (US)
|Associated acts||The Stone Roses, The Patrol, The Waterfront|
Ian George Brown (born 20 February 1963) is an English singer and multi-instrumentalist. He was the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Stone Roses from their formation in 1984. Following the 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 has performed solo shows in 45 countries. 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. He had a cameo appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Brown was born in Warrington in 1963 and grew up on Forster Street, Orford until the age of about six. His father, George, was a joiner, and his mother, Jeane, worked as a receptionist in a paper factory. He then moved with his family, including a brother and sister, to Timperley, Altrincham. He attended Park Road County Primary Infant and Junior School and then Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, leaving aged 16. 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.
Brown's interest in music was inspired by the punk movement, specifically the bands Sex Pistols, the Clash, and Manchester-based Slaughter & the Dogs. Brown and original Stone Roses bassist Pete Garner attended the recording of the Clash single "Bankrobber" in Manchester.
The Stone Roses
Brown's music career began in 1980, playing bass guitar in a band with John Squire and Simon Wolstencroft. They eventually became the Patrol, with Andy Couzens on vocals. The band soon split up, with Brown selling his bass to buy a scooter. 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." In 1983, Brown joined the Waterfront, the band that would evolve into the Stone Roses, as co-vocalist.
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. 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." On the following day, a reunion was announced for the band with performances planned for June 2012 in Manchester. In a press conference interview, the members of the Stone Roses have said that a new album is planned.
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.
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. 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. The album sold over 300,000 copies.
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. 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. His bandmate Aziz Ibrahim condemned the sentence, saying that Brown was "just being cheeky". While in Strangeways Prison, Brown wrote the lyrics for "Free My Way", "So Many Soldiers", and "Set My Baby Free". He was released on parole after two months.
His second album, Golden Greats, was released by Polydor Records 1999. It featured more electronic instrumentation and earned critical acclaim. 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.
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."
Since the break-up of the Stone Roses in 1996, Brown has released six solo albums and fourteen UK Top 40 singles. He has sold out seven UK tours and appeared three times at the Glastonbury Festival, including headlining the Other Stage in 2005. 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  as well as two tours of Australia in 2006 and 2008.
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.
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. Brown is a lifelong supporter of Manchester United and is a season ticket holder.
In September 2007, Brown released his fifth studio album, The World Is Yours. The album represented a more political approach 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, and Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols.
My Way, his sixth solo album, was released in September 2009. 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 3rd time in December 2009 and in 2010, made his 3rd appearance in Moscow and 2nd in Beijing, China. Since turning solo in 1998, Brown has played shows in 45 countries.
In 2010, Brown had a cameo as a policeman in an episode of This Is England '86.
On 25 October 2018, he released his first solo material in 9 years with the single "First World Problems". His seventh studio album, Ripples, was then released on 1 February 2019.
Awards and achievements
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
- 2002 Muso Awards Best Single ("Whispers")
- 2002 NME Awards Best Solo Artist
- 2006 NME Awards Godlike Genius Award
- 2007 Q Awards Legend Award
- 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009 – nominated for Best British Solo Artist at the Brit Awards
|1998||Unfinished Monkey Business||4||UK: Gold|
|1999||Golden Greats||14||UK: Gold|
|2001||Music of the Spheres||3||6||UK: Gold|
|2007||The World Is Yours||4||7||UK: Silver|
|2009||My Way||8||13||UK: Silver|
|2002||Remixes of the Spheres||87||-|
|2004||Under the Influence||–||-|
|2005||The Greatest||5||13||UK: Platinum|
|2005||The Greatest Promos||–||-|
|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|
|2001||"F.E.A.R." (Certified Silver in the UK on 22 July 2013)||13||19||Music of the Spheres|
|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|
|"Just Like You"||–||–|
|2018||"First World Problems"||–||–||Ripples|
- McIntosh, Steven (13 March 2017). "Ed Sheeran and seven other pop star cameos". BBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
- John Robb (2012). The Stone Roses: With Exclusive Interviews and New Chapters. Ebury Press. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-0-09-194858-0.
- Robb, p. 13
- "Ian Brown – Celebrity fans – Interviews". FourFourTwo. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Simon Hattenstone (22 September 2005). "Simon Hattenstone meets Ian Brown | Music". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Music (7 April 2011). "The Stone Roses: a potted history". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Timperley, a historical part of Cheshire | Living Edge". Livingedge.greatbritishlife.co.uk. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Robb, p. 14-19
- "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.
- Robb, p. 20-21
- Robb, p. 30
- "Stone Roses to reunite as Ian Brown faces costly divorce bill". Telegraph. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
- "Stone Roses star Ian Brown takes son out for low-key lunch". Telegraph. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- Robb, p. 31
- Robb, p. 48-49
- Robb, p. 70
- Robb, p. 71
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- Robb, p. 380
- Robb, p. 383
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- "Interview With Jim Chancellor". HitQuarters. 26 October 2005. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
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- 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
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