Sixteen Stone

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Sixteen Stone
Studio album by
Released6 December 1994 (1994-12-06)
RecordedJanuary 1994
StudioWestside Studios, London[1]
Bush chronology
Sixteen Stone
Razorblade Suitcase
Singles from Sixteen Stone
  1. "Everything Zen"
    Released: 28 January 1995
  2. "Little Things"
    Released: 30 May 1995
  3. "Comedown"
    Released: 26 September 1995
  4. "Glycerine"
    Released: 14 November 1995
  5. "Machinehead"
    Released: 9 April 1996

Sixteen Stone is the debut studio album by English rock band Bush, released on 6 December 1994 by Trauma and Interscope Records. It became the band's most popular album, peaking at number four on the US Billboard 200 and boasting numerous successful singles. "Comedown" and "Glycerine" remain two of Bush's biggest hits to date, each reaching number one on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.[10] "Comedown", "Machinehead", and "Glycerine" were the three songs from the album to enter the US Billboard Hot 100, reaching number thirty, number forty-three, and number twenty-eight, respectively.[11] The album was certified 6× Platinum in the United States by the RIAA on 16 April 1997.[12] Although notably less successful in the band's native Britain, the album was nonetheless certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry.[13]

Featuring a rock sound characterised by guitar distortion and quiet interludes, the album quickly invited comparisons to Seattle grunge bands, particularly Nirvana.[2] Lyrical themes on the album included adversity and criticism of masculine stereotypes, as well as relationships and terrorism.

To mark its twentieth anniversary, a remastered edition of the album was released on 14 October 2014.

Recording and background[edit]

The seeds of the album were sewn prior to Rossdale first meeting future bandmate Nigel Pulsford in 1991, when Rossdale wrote "Comedown", the first ever song he had written by himself, and would later reach Number 1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay charts.[14]

Sixteen Stone was recorded in January 1994 at Westway Records in London, and produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. In 1999, Gavin Rossdale explained that the decision to have Langer produce the record was brought about by Langer simply being English, and by his work co-writing the song "Shipbuilding" with Elvis Costello. Rossdale initially wanted Steve Albini, to work on Sixteen Stone. Albini would engineer the band's next album Razorblade Suitcase. Guitarist Nigel Pulsford told BBC Cymru Wales in 2009 that the decision to have Langer and Winstanley work on the record was due to sensitivities around the band sounding too American; Pulsford said "it became apparent that we had a definite American bent to our sound which is why we choose [Langer and Winstanley] to produce our first album in the hope that they would make us sound more British".[14][15]

Guitarist Nigel Pulsford's father and Rossdale's stepfather died around the time the album was recorded. Sixteen Stone is dedicated to both.[14]

Some time prior to release, the band, known previously as Future Primitive, became known as Bush after Carson convinced the band that a shortened name would be more suitable for a CD. David Carson designed the album artwork and packaging for the album. Sixteen Stone was delivered to Trauma Records in early April 1994, and released on 6 December that year through the label. Rossdale has stated that the reason Sixteen Stone's release through Trauma was delayed was the label's distributor, Hollywood Records, opining that the record contained "no singles" and "no album tracks".[14]


Style and influences[edit]

The music of Sixteen Stone has been characterized variously as grunge,[2][3] hard rock[9] and post-grunge,[16] and has been compared with the music of 1990s Seattle-based bands including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden;[3][17] the song "Bomb" in particular invited a description of "Nirvana-approximating" from Stereogum.[17] The styles on the record include the balladry of "Glycerine",[18] the Ramones-indebted punk rock of "X-Girlfriend",[19] and what Stereogum described as "groove-grunge" on "Comedown" and "Body", the latter being described by SoundVapours as "the perfect mix" of Black Sabbath and Soundgarden.[17][20]

Reflecting on the influences on Sixteen Stone, Gavin Rossdale cited seeing bands including Jane's Addiction, My Bloody Valentine and Soul Asylum as key formative experiences and stated "…I liked the performance of the American bands a lot, [...] that all just inspired me, and I put it in a melting pot and out came Sixteen Stone.”[21]

Drummer Robin Goodridge told the publication Modern Drummer in 1996 that Sixteen Stone features percussion informed by the styles John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Billy Cobham and Keith Moon of The Who.[22]


The lyrical content of Sixteen Stone revolved around a variety of themes. "Testosterone" conveyed a take-down of machismo,[17] while Stereogum analyzed "Monkey" to be a "sardonic statement about rock stardom" and to "attack the British sellout angle".[17] "Bomb" is an anti-war song; Rossdale told American Songwriter in 2011 that the song had been "written about the Irish IRA presence where I grew up".[23] Other songs related to personal challenges, including "Little Things" which Rossdale claimed was written about "trying to be strong in the face of adversity".[24]


Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyB−[2]
The Guardian[25]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[26]
The Village VoiceB−[27]

Sixteen Stone received mostly positive feedback from music critics. Q wrote that Bush "make a carefully honed post-grunge sound that fits perfectly alongside American counterparts like Stone Temple Pilots or Live."[16] In a four-and-a-half stars out of five review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic calls their sound impressive, but states that the band sounds too much like Seattle rockers Nirvana and Pearl Jam.[3] Robert Christgau was more critical in The Village Voice, regarding it as a "not altogether unmusical howl of male pain" that glorified "despair".[27]


In April 2014, Rolling Stone placed the album at number thirty-nine on their 1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year list.[4] A month later, Loudwire placed Sixteen Stone at number eight on its "10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1994" list.[28] In July 2014 Guitar World placed the album on its "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[29]


Around the album's 20th anniversary, a remastered edition of its original recordings was released.[30] When asked about also remixing the album for the anniversary edition, Rossdale stated "I did attempt to remix ... but it's really, like, you just can't do that. You can't mess with stuff. Those mixes, every single level of those songs is just ingrained in my DNA as it's probably in anybody's DNA who knows it. It just sounds really weird when you mess with it."[31]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Gavin Rossdale[32]

1."Everything Zen"4:38
4."Little Things"4:24
Total length:52:53


  • Early pressings of the album do not list "Alien" on the back cover (there is a blank space where the title should be). "Monkey" is also missing from the inside cover, but both songs have lyrics printed and appear on the album.
  • Subsequent pressings also include an acoustic version of "Comedown" and a second CD of live tracks, "Swim", "Alien", "Bomb", and "Little Things". Rather than actually being acoustic, the bonus "Comedown" track is actually Rossdale singing and playing guitar with more effects. This version is also slower-paced, has violins added and has no drums.


Chart performance[edit]

Sixteen Stone first entered the Billboard 200 at number 187 for week ending 28 January 1995, and eventually peaked at number four.[33][34] In 2010 the album's US sales passed the six million mark.[35]

Weekly charts[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[52] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[53] 6× Platinum 600,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[54] 2× Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[55] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[56] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Flans, Robyn (26 January 2024). "Classic Tracks: Bush's "Glycerine"". Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d Ehrlich, Dimitri (13 January 1995). "Sixteen Stone". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 30 April 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sixteen Stone – Bush". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Bush, 'Sixteen Stone' – 1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year". Rolling Stone. 17 April 2014.
  5. ^ Klosterman 2007, p. 240.
  6. ^ Anderson 2007, pp. 207–208.
  7. ^ "Bush's 'Sixteen Stone,' 20 Years Later". 6 December 2014.
  8. ^ Martins, Jorge (25 December 2023). "Top 10 Post-Grunge Albums From the '90s That Actually Stood the Test of Time". Ultimate Guitar. Archived from the original on 26 December 2023. Retrieved 26 December 2023.
  9. ^ a b Alan, Carter (4 April 2017). The Decibel Diaries: A Journey through Rock in 50 Concerts. University Press of New England. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-5126-0047-6.
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  11. ^ "Bush – Chart history – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Sixteen Stone: Certification History". RIAA. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  13. ^ Yeung, Neil Z. "Bush Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio and More". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  14. ^ a b c d Nine, Jennifer (1999). Bush: Twenty-seventh Letter : the Official History. Virgin. ISBN 9780753501894. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Nigel Pulsford interview (2009)". BBC - Wales - Music. 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  16. ^ a b c "Bush: Sixteen Stone". Q. No. 104. May 1995. p. 119.
  17. ^ a b c d e Williott, Carl (5 December 2014). "Sixteen Stone Turns 20". Stereogum.
  18. ^ "The 100 Best Alternative Rock songs of 1994 – No 82 Bush, "Glycerine"". Spin. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  19. ^ McKeough, Kevin (27 April 1997). "Hiding in the Bush". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Bush – Sixteen Stone – 25th Anniversary". SoundVapours. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  21. ^ Banas, Erica (11 September 2019). "Gavin Rossdale Reflects on the Influences of Bush's 'Sixteen Stone'". 93.9 WMMR Rocks!. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  22. ^ "There's no point in being a clever bastard, because all you'll end up doing is sounding like someone is falling into the drum kit while everyone else is playing the song". Modern Drummer. 1996.
  23. ^ Schlansky, Evan (27 September 2011). "Gavin Rossdale Discusses Bush's Critics, Nirvana Comparisons". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on 28 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Gavin Rossdale of Bush: Songwriter Interviews". Songfacts. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (12 May 1995). "Bush: Sixteen Stone (Trauma)". The Guardian. London.
  26. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Bush". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8.
  27. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (28 November 1995). "Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  28. ^ "10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1994". Loudwire. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994". 14 July 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  30. ^ "Sixteen Stone: Music". 14 October 2014. ASIN B00N9ZN9W4. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  31. ^ "Gavin Rossdale Talks 20th Anniversary of "Sixteen Stone"". WRIF. 15 September 2014. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  32. ^ "Sixteen Stone – Bush – Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  33. ^ Billboard – Google Books. 28 January 1995. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Bush – Chart history – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  35. ^ Grein, Paul (29 September 2010). "Week Ending Sept. 26, 2010: Moving Forward, Falling Back | Chart Watch – Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
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  40. ^ "Bush: Sixteen Stone". (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 14 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH.
  42. ^ " – Bush – Sixteen Stone". Hung Medien.
  43. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  44. ^ "Bush | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
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  47. ^ "Australiancharts – End of Year 1996". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
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  51. ^ "1999: The Year in Music – Charts – Top Pop Albums of the 90s" (PDF). Billboard. 25 December 1999. Retrieved 14 November 2021 – via World Radio History. Digit page 68 on the PDF archive.
  52. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1996 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  53. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bush – Sixteen Stone". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  54. ^ "Latest Gold / Platinum Albums". Radioscope. 17 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  55. ^ "British album certifications – Bush – Sixteen Stone". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 July 2012. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Sixteen Stone in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
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