The Stone Roses (album)

The Stone Roses is the debut studio album by English rock band the Stone Roses. It was recorded mostly at Battery Studios in London with producer John Leckie from June 1988 to February 1989 and released in May of that year by Silvertone Records.

The Stone Roses
Studio album by
Released2 May 1989[1]
RecordedJune 1988 – February 1989
ProducerJohn Leckie
Peter Hook on "Elephant Stone"
The Stone Roses chronology
The Stone Roses
Turns Into Stone
Singles from The Stone Roses
  1. "Elephant Stone"
    Released: October 1988
  2. "Made of Stone"
    Released: February 1989
  3. "She Bangs the Drums"
    Released: July 1989
  4. "Fools Gold"
    Released: 13 November 1989
  5. "I Wanna Be Adored"
    Released: September 1991
  6. "Waterfall"
    Released: 30 December 1991
  7. "I Am the Resurrection"
    Released: 30 March 1992

The Stone Roses was not an immediate success, but grew popular with the band's high-profile concert performances, which also helped establish them as fixtures of the Madchester and baggy cultural scenes. The record's critical standing also improved significantly in later years, as many critics voted it highly in polls of the greatest albums. It was voted number 11 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). It has sold over four million copies worldwide.


Based in Manchester, where the so-called Madchester movement was centred, The Stone Roses formed in 1983 and released a handful of singles on several different labels. They recorded their self-titled debut album with John Leckie, a producer who had worked with Pink Floyd on Meddle.[2] The recording took place primarily at Battery Studios in London, with additional sessions at Konk and Rockfield Studios.[3]

Music and lyricsEdit

According to writers Sean Sennett and Simon Groth, the Stone Roses "virtually invented 'Madchester' and built a template for Brit-pop" with their debut album.[4] The record has been associated with rave culture and dance music, although Angus Batey from The Quietus argued that it was a 1960s-inspired jangle pop album featuring little or no influence of dance beats or grooves, with the exception of "Fools Gold".[5] According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the rhythm section of bassist Mani and drummer Reni played in a manner that was merely suggestive of dance rhythms, while Ian Brown dispassionately sang lyrics expressing arrogant sentiments such as "I Wanna Be Adored" and "I Am the Resurrection".[6] In the opinion of Spin critic Andrew Unterberger, it sounded more like "an exercise in rock classicism", featuring accessible melodies like those of the Beatles and resonant guitars similar to the Byrds, along with "the cheeky (and quintessentially British) humor of the Smiths" and "the self-fulfilling arrogance of the Sex Pistols".[7] The melody for the song "Elizabeth My Dear" was appropriated from the English traditional ballad "Scarborough Fair".[8]


As with most Stone Roses releases, the cover displays a work by John Squire, in this case 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 Record 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."[9] The story was also the inspiration for the lyrics to the song of the same name.[9] The background of the piece is based on the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland; the band had visited the causeway while playing a gig at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.[10]

Release and promotionEdit

The Stone Roses was released in May 1989[11] by Silvertone, a division of Zomba Records created to work with "new rock" acts.[2] It originally received little attention from both consumers and critics in the United Kingdom,[12] with the exception of NME and Melody Maker, who were covering the Madchester music scene at the time.[12] Bob Stanley from Melody Maker called it "godlike" and said the foundation of the music was John Squire's guitar playing, which he deemed "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".[13] In Q, Peter Kane was less favourable and felt that The Stone Roses was a promising album weighed down by "strangely monotone production",[14] while NME journalist Jack Barron wrote that it was merely "quite good" while giving it a score of seven on a scale of 10;[15] the latter magazine later ranked it as the second best record of 1989 in their year-end list.[12]

To support the album, the band played several high-profile gigs, including one on February 27, 1989, at what was regarded as the centre of the associated Madchester and baggy scenes, 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."[16] The band's debut appearance on Top of the Pops in November 1989 helped the album receive more mainstream exposure.[12] The album eventually brought them nationwide success and soon the band, along with fellow Madchester group Happy Mondays, were perceived as one of the key acts of the baggy scene.[17] Their May 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".[18] In The Village Voice that month, American critic Robert Christgau wrote that the group was "overhyped" and no different than the numerous indie bands in the United States, adding "what do they do that the Byrds and the Buffalo Springfield weren't doing better in 1967?" He concluded that "they're surprisingly 'eclectic.' Not all that good at it, but eclectic", and despite some moments of good songwriting ("Bye Bye Badman", "I Wanna Be Adored"), "their music is about sound, fingers lingering over the strings and so forth."[19]

The Stone Roses has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, according to the 2006 book covering the album for the 33⅓ music series.[20]

Legacy and reappraisalEdit

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
AllMusic     [6]
The Daily Telegraph     [21]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [17]
Mojo     [22]
Q     [24]
Rolling Stone     [25]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[27]
Uncut     [12]

The Stone Roses was acclaimed by critics and musicians alike in subsequent years,[12] being 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.[28] Rolling Stone's David Fricke later called it "a blast of magnificent arrogance, a fusion of Sixties-pop sparkle and the blown-mind drive of U.K. rave culture",[25] while BBC Music's Chris Jones said it served as a peerless testament to the fusion of rock and dance music inspired by "working class hedonism" at the end of the 1980s.[29] Mojo strongly recommended its 1999 reissue to listeners and wrote that the album "set the tone for rock music in the '90s",[30] while in Q, Ian Gittins wrote that with the album's "mercurial, timeless anthems", the band became "spokesmen for their generation".[24] Bernadette McNulty of The Daily Telegraph believed the 2009 reissue polished the band's bold mix of 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.[21] Zeth Lundy of The Boston Phoenix said 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".[31] PopMatters critic Jennifer Makowsky argued that "the psychedelic, drug-powered pop songs on the album earned the band a well-earned place in alternative music history."[32]

On the other hand, American music journalist Jim DeRogatis felt The Stone Roses had been highly overrated by critics, pointing to a "lame retread disco beat" and "oh-so-dated chiming guitars",[33] while Neil Kulkarni from The Quietus said its first three songs were enjoyable but preceded a "right barrel-load of shite afterwards".[34] In an article on overhyped records for The Guardian, Peter Robinson said that The Stone Roses was "an average rock album – lyrically pedestrian and with a sonic policy swerving from the play-safe to the over-indulgent".[35] Guardian journalist Penny Anderson criticised the length of certain tracks and noted that the record "doesn't half drag on",[36] while Fiona Sturges of The Independent found Brown's singing and the band's lyrics to be remarkably poor, and objected to the editors of NME voting The Stone Roses the best British album of all time.[37] 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.[38] Geldof claimed that the no. 2 placing was “ridiculous”, and asserted that the band are “just an OK group.”[39]


According to Acclaimed Music, The Stone Roses is the 58th most ranked record on critics' all-time lists.[40] In 1997, it 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.[39] In 1998, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4,[41] while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 29 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever."[42] In 2004, the album was voted the best British album of all time in The Observer's poll of 100 musicians and critics.[43] In 2006, Q placed the album at number 5 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[44] In 2008, it was named the fifth "greatest British album ever" by a Q magazine/HMV poll.[45]

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.[46] In 2005, Spin magazine ranked it 78 on its list of the "100 greatest albums of the past twenty years."[47] In the same year, when revising the "500 Greatest Albums" for book format, Rolling Stone included it as one of eight new entries, placing it at number 497, and in a 2012 revised list, the album placed at number 498.[48][49] In 2006, Time named it one of "The All-TIME 100 Albums".[50] In 2003, Pitchfork named it the 39th best album of the 1980s.[51] In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 28 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[52] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[53]. It was voted number 11 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). [54]

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 number seven on the list.[55] 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."[56] 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.[57] In 2014, the staff of PopMatters included the album on their list of "12 Essential Alternative Rock Albums from the 1980s".[32]


The Stone Roses – The Collectors Edition box set

In 1999, on the 10th anniversary of its release, a two-disc special edition re-release of The Stone Roses reached number nine 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:[58]

  • The remastered 11-track album on one CD and one LP
  • The Lost Demos on one CD
  • The B-sides on one CD
  • Two LPs
  • Live in Blackpool DVD
  • A 48-page booklet, containing unpublished 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
    • Exclusive desktop wallpapers, ringtones, and a 48-page digital booklet

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Ian Brown and John Squire.

1989 UK release
1."I Wanna Be Adored"4:52
2."She Bangs the Drums"3:42
4."Don't Stop"5:17
5."Bye Bye Badman"4:04
6."Elizabeth My Dear"0:53
7."(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister"3:25
8."Made of Stone"4:10
9."Shoot You Down"4:10
10."This Is the One"4:58
11."I Am the Resurrection"8:12
1989 US release
1."I Wanna Be Adored"4:52
2."She Bangs the Drums"3:42
3."Elephant Stone" (UK 7" single version)3:04
5."Don't Stop"5:17
6."Bye Bye Badman"4:00
7."Elizabeth My Dear"0:59
8."(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister"3:25
9."Made of Stone"4:10
10."Shoot You Down"4:10
11."This Is the One"4:58
12."I Am the Resurrection"8:12
13."Fools Gold" (UK 12" single version; only on November 1989 re-release)9:53

1991 UK releaseEdit

1999 10th anniversary releaseEdit

  • The second disc also includes an enhanced portion with music videos, a discography, lyrics and a photo gallery.

2007 remastered releaseEdit

2009 20th anniversary releaseEdit


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[59]

The Stone Roses
  • Ian Brown – vocals
  • Mani – bass guitar
  • Reni – drums, backing vocals, harmony vocals on "Waterfall", piano on "She Bangs the Drums"
  • John Squire – guitars, backing vocals on "She Bangs the Drums"


  • Peter Hook – production on "Elephant Stone"
  • John Leckie – production, mixing engineering on "Elephant Stone"
  • Paul Schroeder – engineering
  • John Squire — artwork


Chart (1989–90) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[60] 36
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[61] 44
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[62] 11
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[63] 12
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[64] 30
UK Albums (OCC)[65] 19
UK Albums (OCC) (2004 re-entry)[citation needed] 9
UK Albums (OCC) (2009 re-entry)[citation needed] 5
US Billboard 200[66] 86


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[1] 4× Platinum 1,200,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b "British album certifications – The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Stone Roses in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  2. ^ a b Strong 2004.
  3. ^ Robb 2012, pp. 211–15.
  4. ^ Sennett & Groth 2010, p. 64.
  5. ^ Batey, Angus (11 December 2014). "The Resurrection Show: The Stone Roses' Second Coming Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  7. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (11 May 2015). "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)". Spin. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  8. ^ Robb 2012, p. 241.
  9. ^ a b "The 100 Best Record Covers of All Time". Q. 2001.
  10. ^ "'Bye Bye Badman'". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  11. ^ Robb 2012, p. 238.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Kelly, Danny (September 2009). "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses (R1989)". Uncut (148). Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  13. ^ Stanley, Bob (April 1989). "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". Melody Maker.
  14. ^ Kane, Peter (May 1989). "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". Q (32).
  15. ^ Barron, Jack (29 April 1989). "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". NME.
  16. ^ Tilton 2013.
  17. ^ a b Larkin 2011.
  18. ^ Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop. Passion Pictures. 2004.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (29 May 1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  20. ^ Green 2006.
  21. ^ a b McNulty, Bernadette (20 August 2009). "Stone Roses: The Stone Roses, CD review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  22. ^ "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". Mojo (190). August 2009.
  23. ^ Granzin, Amy (11 September 2009). "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  24. ^ a b Gittins, Ian (December 1999). "All back to 1989 then". Q (159): 164.
  25. ^ a b Fricke, David (11 August 2009). "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". Rolling Stone (1089): 84. Archived from the original on 16 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  26. ^ Hultkrans, Andrew (September 2009). "Reissues". Spin. 25 (9): 86. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  27. ^ Weisbard & Marks 1995.
  28. ^ Jones 2008, p. 96.
  29. ^ Jones, Chris (8 May 2007). "Review of The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses". BBC Music. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  30. ^ "The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses". Mojo (73): 103. December 1999.
  31. ^ Lundy, Zeth (15 September 2009). "Review: The Stone Roses". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  32. ^ a b Makowsky, Jennifer (27 August 2014). "12 Essential Alternative Rock Albums from the 1980s". PopMatters. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  33. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (20 June 2004). "The view from America". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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  36. ^ Anderson, Penny (18 February 2009). "Why are the Stone Roses adored?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  37. ^ Sturges, Fiona (14 August 2009). "The Stone Roses – A 'classic' that is nothing but fool's gold". The Independent. London. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  38. ^ 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's, hey, a generation thing, man."
    Justine Frischmann: "Isn't it?"
    Paul Gambaccini: "Exactly. This tells you who voted, more than anything else."
  39. ^ a b "Spin of the Century". 31 January 1998. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
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  41. ^ "Q Readers' All Time Top 100 Albums". Q (137). February 1998.
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  44. ^ "40 Best Albums of the '80s". Q (241). August 2006.
  45. ^ "Oasis top best British album poll". BBC News. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  46. ^ "NME's best British album of all time revealed". NME. 26 January 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
  47. ^ "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". Spin. 20 June 2005. Archived from the original on 4 August 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  48. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2012. ISBN 978-7-09-893419-6.
  49. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012.
  50. ^ "The All-TIME 100 Albums". Time. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  51. ^ "Pitchfork Feature: Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  52. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  53. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  54. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 39. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  55. ^ "Oasis album voted greatest of all time". The Times. London. 1 June 2006. Archived from the original on 8 April 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  56. ^ "MOJO Honours List 2010: The Winners Revealed!". Mojo. 10 June 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  57. ^ ""The Stone Roses" Remake Confirmed for Black Friday – Tracklist, Photos, Videos". The Future Heart. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
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  59. ^ The Stone Roses (liner notes). The Stone Roses. Silvertone Records. 1989. ORE LP 502.CS1 maint: others (link)
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External linksEdit