It’s been over twenty years since The Stone Roses unleashed their debut album on a gradually willing public, and in that time its mix of psych, jangle, swaggering rock and a splash of proto-baggy at the end has influenced artists right across the rock-dance spectrum. Here are 20 albums that we might never have had without ‘The Stone Roses’.
Oasis, ‘Definitely Maybe’
The Beatles may have been the primary source of inspiration for Noel Gallagher’s melodies but, as he once said, “When I heard ‘Sally Cinnamon’ for the first time, I knew what my destiny was.” Of course that wasn’t on the album, but you get the idea. Oasis nabbed The Stone Roses’ mojo and Liam Gallagher based his whole anvil-jawed demeanour on Ian Brown.
The Charlatans, ‘Some Friendly’
Straight outta Northwich – plumb in the middle of the ley line connecting Manchester and Liverpool – The Charlatans were in hock to The Stone Roses from the start, finding their feet as their support act and then copping the North West mystic feel for their own debut album. The addition of Hammond organ couldn’t disguise that monkey-limbed lope.
The Bluetones, ‘Expecting To Fly’
Touted as a new Stone Roses when they surfaced in 1995, Hounslow’s Bluetones released a single, ‘Slight Return’, in 1996 that would have slotted straight into ‘The Stone Roses’ without a soul noticing. Somewhere between the first and second verses of ‘Bye Bye Badman’, to be precise.
The Horrors, ‘Skying’
Perhaps a product of Madchester rather than ‘The Stone Roses’ specifically, but what would Madchester have been without the Roses’ opening salvo? Happy Mondays were way too louche to carry a scene alone. Anyway, the bounding wide-jeaned grooves of ‘Skying”s ‘Changing The Rain’ and ‘You Said’ are all the evidence anyone needs.
U2, ‘Achtung Baby’
At the end of 1989, Bono told NME’s Gavin Martin he was a fan of The Stone Roses, which seemed a little incongruous at the time. Bono? Loudhailer-sporting emperor of stadium smug-rock? But then came ‘Achtung Baby’ with its baggy shuffles (‘Mysterious Ways’) and funky drums (‘The Fly’), and everything was clear.
Peace, ‘In Love’
Peace’s debut couldn’t be more Stone Roses if it came with lemon slices and a bawling, tuneless frontman. No, wait. ‘Higher Than The Sun’ might have thrown us off the scent with a Primal Scream title but its contents are pure ‘She Bangs The Drums’, and the muddy psych of ‘Sugarstone’ taps into the Roses’ Second Summer of Love vibe.
Kula Shaker, ‘K’
The Stone Roses’ legacy isn’t entirely forgivable. Gap-year gurus Kula Shaker had a direct link to ‘The Stone Roses’, with their own debut ‘K’ sharing producer John Leckie. There’s plenty of Grateful Dead (and some diluted Deep Purple) in ‘K’, but on the whole it’s fleet-footed pop-psych with beat-group thrift, that’d be OK if it wasn’t for all that cod-Eastern mysticism.
Ocean Colour Scene, ‘Ocean Colour Scene’
Again, thanks. OCS weren’t always pound-shop Paul Wellers though – when they arrived in 1990 they were all baggy beats and billowy long-sleeved t-shirts. “Stone Roses have opened things up for young bands like us, and regenerated interest from the industry,” singer Simon Fowler declared to The Observer in typically stirring style.
Klaxons, ‘Myths Of The Near Future’
Nu rave, shmu rave. As is now part of ‘ardkore folklore, Klaxons’ rave credentials amounted to a few slightly garish record sleeves and a slapdash approach to sartorial elegance. Madchester once raved on though, and Klaxons’ marriage of earworm tunes and floor-tickling beats followed that peculiar tradition.
James, ‘Gold Mother’
James had been knocking around Manchester for donkey’s years, bigged up by Morrissey but not achieving much. Then Madchester happened. “We decided to develop alongside it but apart from it,” they said in 1991, but without ‘The Stone Roses’ making everyone want a slice of Manc, Fontana might never have snapped up James for their third album.
Blur, of course, got their big break supporting indie-dance chancers The Soup Dragons at the end of 1990. The Soup Dragons, of course, would never have switched from grebo to baggy without seeing the magnetic effect it had on The Stone Roses – so the lineage is clear. And ‘There’s No Other Way’ sounds like The Charlatans who, of course…
Jagwar Ma, ‘Howlin’
Apparently beamed direct from 1990, it’s no massive shock that Aussie bliss-out duo Jagwar Ma are into the Roses. “I love The Stone Roses,” Gabriel Winterfield told Gigwise in 2013. “I was so excited when they got back together because I missed out the first time and was about one when they broke up.”
The La’s, ‘The La’s’
“Well, that ‘Fools Gold’ had a sound beat. Dead good. Full and rich,” said The La’s’ Lee Mavers in 1990. “Nothing else of theirs, though.” Well, maybe The La’s weren’t blown away by The Stone Roses’ debut album, but there wouldn’t have been half the interest in Mavers’ definitive career statement without it – and perhaps not even the desire to finally finish it.
Primal Scream, ‘Screamadelica’
The coda of the Roses’ ‘I Am The Resurrection’ showed just how a bunch of wafer-thin white boys with guitars could find a groove; ‘Fools Gold’ took the beats further; Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’ introduced the super-producer to the blend; ‘Screamadelica’ represented the apotheosis of the acieeed-rock journey. There you go.
The Chemical Brothers, ‘Exit Planet Dust’
By the mid-90s, the fusion of rock and dance was either so complete or so over that you hardly noticed it. The Chemical Brothers might sound like pioneers, the progenitors of Big Beat, but they were just taking rock dynamics and applying them to the dancefloor, ‘I Am The Resurrection’ in glorious reverse.
Saint Etienne, ‘Foxbase Alpha’
Bob Stanley was one of the “first music critics to get into the Stone Roses,” according to bandmate Sarah Cracknell, and gave the debut a sparkling review in Melody Maker. Two years on, his own band’s first effort would mine similar materials – 1960s ambience, the mechanics of dance music – and come up with their own spin on the new acid pop.
MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’
Psychedelia and solid gold pop smarts. Before spinning a lifestyle out of trolling their fans and the global media, MGMT made an album very much in the hue of ‘The Stone Roses’. You couldn’t dance to much of it but it felt as if you might. You could certainly sing along to it and lose yourself in its mind-altering nonsense. There’s a debt there.
The Beta Band, ‘The Three EPs’
“When you first hear it you think well, there’s nothing there,” said The Beta Band’s Steve Mason about ‘The Stone Roses’. “Then when you go back to it, you get a little bit more every time.” Glossing over The Beta Band’s disastrous first album proper, ‘The Three EPs’ mixed dusty beats and sweet, softly psychedelic excursions, unfolding with each listen.
Super Furry Animals, ‘Fuzzy Logic’
We could’ve stuck the Menswe@r album in here, but Stone Roses-influenced Britpop wasn’t just about useless London scenester bands populated by clothes horses with a passing interest in playing actual instruments – no, there were also Welsh shamen who combined psych with techno know-how in the time-honoured way.
The Flaming Lips, ‘The Stone Roses’.
OK, yeah, bit on the obvious side. But come on, there wouldn’t be a full-cover tribute album if the original’s cosmic pop ambition hadn’t spread across the psych-rock heliosphere and wormed its way into Wayne Coyne’s silver curls. “It’s virtually the same song over and over again,” enthused Coyne in kind of complimentary fashion.