With our list of the ten best Stone Roses songs we are looking at a band who truly made one of the biggest impacts on British music despite only having two full length albums to their name. As figureheads of the Manchester movement, they are one of the most iconic British bands of all time. When they released their self-titled debut in 1989, they found incredible success both critically and commercially, having been around as a smaller band since 1983. However, despite a solid couple of years of gigging and playing to sell-out crowds, things soon started to take a turn for the worst, with infighting between members leading to drummer Reni and guitarist John Squire quitting after the release of their long awaited and what many found disappointing second album Second Coming in 1994. After this, seeing very little future for the band, vocalist Ian Brown and bassist Mani decided to disband.
After the band’s demise, Brown had a successful and long-lasting solo career and Mani had success with his career when he went to join fellow British indie rock band Primal Scream. Despite talk of a reunion for many years, it seemed unlikely to happen, with the members showing very little desire to get back together. However, that changed in 2011 when an unexpected press conference was called announcing their reformation and subsequent tour. There was a documentary film made about the band in 2013 and was talk of a potential third album. This so far has not come fruition as it seems that the band have split again as indicated by remarks that Brown made in 2017. So, without further ado here is a list of their ten best songs…
# 10 – So Young
Kicking off the list is band’s debut single released in 1985 which was produced by Martin Hannett who was known for his work with other Madchester groups such as Joy Division and the Buzzcocks. The single was not successful, and it shows a very different sounding Stone Roses, who here are playing a rather punk-sounding style as opposed to their later, more melodic work. Despite the band disowning it due to not liking how it came out sounding, it is interesting to hear an early track from a band that sounds different to the material that the listener is more familiar with.
# 9 – Love Spreads
Next, we have the first single from Second Coming. It was the band’s highest charting song, reaching number two in the UK as well as charting on the US Billboard at number fifty-five. One of the better highlights of the second album, as a comeback single it was a strong choice. Compared to the first album’s sound, it is somewhat heavier, suggesting that the band were wanting to veer away from their indie tag and become more of an all-out rock band.
# 8 – Made of Stone
Up next is a single from the band’s debut album released in 1989. They infamously appeared on the BBC’s The Late Show to mark their debut television performance with this track. However, after a minute there was a power cut in the studio which caused Brown to walk off in anger. Mani’s bass line stands out on this track which has a nice chilled-out vibe to it. Brown co-wrote the lyrics with Squire, as was often the case with the band’s early releases.
# 7 – I Am The Resurrection
Here is another track from the first record The Stone Roses which was the closing track on the album. Despite being on the first album, it was released three years after it in 1992 when it reached number thirty-three on the UK singles chart. The track sees the band veering into almost progressive rock territory. It is among their longer songs at eight minutes long, with the second half of it being purely instrumental. Over the years, it has come to be regarded as one of the band’s standout moments.
# 6 – Sally Cinnamon
Here is another early pre-album single released in 1987. Released before Mani joined the band, like many of the early tracks it was written by Brown. Although this track was out before the band hit the mainstream, this song did peak at number three on the British indie charts where it remained for thirty-nine weeks. However, it did chart on the main British chart when it was re-released in 1989 where it reached number forty-six and remained there for seven weeks.
# 5 – Ten Storey Love Songs
This is a track from Second Coming written by Squire. It charted on the UK charts at number eleven where it remained for three weeks. One thing about this track which makes it stand out from much of the rest of the album is the fact that it does not have the heavier rock influence, instead having a more melodic feel which would make it fit well on the first album. However, filming the promo video for this track marked a point where the band was starting to break down. Reni did not show up for it and Brown did not until the second day.
# 4 – Waterfall
Here we have one of the band’s greatest songs from the first album The Stone Roses which was released as a single two years later in 1991 where it peaked at number twenty-seven. This song truly shows how the Roses can make beautiful melodies, with the guitar riff being sublime. The song in general has a brilliant relaxed atmosphere which is done a lot more justice by the twelve-inch version which is two minutes longer than the standard single version, featuring a fantastic instrumental mid-section.
# 3 – She Bangs the Drums
Here we have the second single from the first album The Stone Roses that signified the band’s true breakthrough, being their first top forty UK hit reaching number thirty-four. When it was re-issued in 1990 it moved up two places to number thirty-two. The version that was released as a single differs slightly from the one featured on the album, being slightly heavier and more commonly used for radio airplay. It was written by Brown and Squire and is another one of the band’s most celebrated tracks.
# 2 – Fools Gold
Just off the top spot is a song that at its time of release in 1989 became the band’s first top ten hit in the UK reaching number eight. Very much one of the most iconic British alternative rock songs of the 90s, when it was released it signaled not only the rise of the Stone Rose’s career but also the advent of the Madchester scene. The song has often been hailed as a dance rock classic due to Mani’s hypnotic bassline along with Reni’s funky percussion. Not to mention Brown’s whispered vocal delivery which makes the song a truly unique listening experience. The song was released on the album The Stone Roses
# 1 – I Wanna Be Adored
At the top spot is the iconic opening track from the first album entitled The Stone Roses. It was released as a single and charted at number eighteen on the US Billboard Modern Rock Chart. As far as album openers go, it does not get much better than this. The riff is one all time greatest in indie rock and the song just sounds really epic as a whole. Over the years, it has appeared on many all-time greatest lists usually peaking at the top of this lists. We couldn’t agree more.
Updated May 23, 2023
Top 10 Stone Roses Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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