On October 29th, '96, Stone Roses' frontman Ian Brown made the following announcement:
"Having spent ten years in the filthiest business in the universe it's a pleasure to announce the end of the Stone Roses. May God bless all who gave us love and support, special thanks to the people of Manchester who sent us on our way. Peace be upon you."
If Brown sounded both bitter and dispirited, he had good reason. The Stone Roses' career had been marked by label disputes, a pervious label reissuing songs without the band's permission in a blatant attempt to cash in and a legal argument with a former manager. Adding to the angst were an array of internal disagreements. All this undercut the Stone Roses' career.
In the end, the Stone Roses had a classic self-titled debut that was followed, five years later, by "Second Coming." In between, there was a collection of early singles and B-sides, "Turn To Stone." Even before Brown's statement, their label figured the end was at hand and issued "The Complete Stone Roses."
This all happened with barely any notice in the U.S. False starts didn't help but when the group finally launched a U.S. tour in '95 it had to be cancelled after only eleven dates because guitarist John Squire broke his collarbone and shoulder blade in a mountain bike accident (in San Francisco).
Brown and Squire had been in a couple early '80s bands, including one called English Rose. Not much, if anything, came of these outfits and members still had to hang on to dreary day jobs - or rather everyone but Brown who took off hitchhiking around Europe. In Germany, he ran into a Scandinavian promoter who promised work for Brown's band. Since Brown didn't have a band he quickly returned to Manchester and formed, with Squire, the Stone Roses - taking the name in part from the earlier band and their favorite band, the Rolling Stones.
Drummer Alan "Reni" Wren was in the line-up when the Stone Roses issued their '85 debut single "So Young" b/w "Tell Me" on a small indie label. It was almost two years before the Stone Roses got another shot. "Sally Cinnamon" did well in Manchester and nowhere else. The band lost their bass player and recruited longtime friend Gary "Mani" Mounfield. Their prospects may have looked bleak but they were about to turn around. Write-ups in the music press helped convince the Silvertone label to sign the group.
A song referencing Brown's hitchhiking days, "Made Of Stone" did well on the U.K. Indie chart. Then came the '89 release of the band's debut album. Initially, "The Stone Roses" peaked way out of the money on the album chart - but it just wouldn't go away, returning to the survey five times.
The FM Revolver label reissued "Sally Cinnamon" and an accompanying video without the Stone Roses approval. The band launched a "paint attack" on the label's offices doing extensive and costly damage. Given the prevailing rave culture, of which the Stone Roses were a part, that must have seemed like an appropriate retaliation. Unfortunately, the court didn't see it that way ordering the group to pay a hefty fine.
Things weren't going very well with their current label either. Convinced that the Stone Roses are about to move to a major label, Silvertone rushed out a reissue of "Fool's Gold"/"What The World Is Waiting For." Displeased, the band entered into litigation to gain greater control over their material. Meanwhile, Silvertone got a court order keeping Stone Roses from even entering a studio. It wasn't until May, '91, that the court ruled in the Stone Roses' favor but it came two years after their debut - a long time.
The following year the band signed with Geffen and began work on their sophomore album. The process was slow in part because of a dispute with their former manager. Eventually, it would be settled out of court but it took another two years before it reached a conclusion.
"Second Coming," with the single "Love Spreads," finally arrived in '94. The song peaked at #2 on the U.K chart. In the U.S., the album cracked the Top 50. Following "Second Coming's" release Wren left and was replaced by Robbie Maddix.
The aborted U.S. tour was followed by a sold-out U.K. trek. Even so, Squire told the band he was leaving in early '96. Half a year later, Brown made his "end of the Stone Roses" announcement before embarking on a solo career. His first album "Unfinished Money" went to #4 on the U.K. album chart, equaling "Second Coming." However, Squire's band Seahorses, peaked at #2 with their debut "Do It Yourself."
Following a lengthy hiatus, the Stone Roses released "All For One," the British band's first original track since '94.
1989 The Stone Roses
1994 Second Coming
"The Stone Roses" is the album. The psychedelic Brit Pop rave is both inspirational and influential (Oasis for one).
"Second Coming" is usually dismissed as a lesser effort - and it is. But the set is not without its attractions, namely "Driving South," "Straight To The Man" and the riff packed "Love Spreads"
"The Stone Roses 20th Anniversary" draws from these two albums and includes B-sides and live tracks.