Submitted by Robin Blackburn
Although to many outside Manchester it must have seemed that the Stone Roses appeared from nowhere in 1989, they had, in fact, been active around the city for many years. Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire had played together in various line-ups since the early 80s, initially under the name The Patrol. After the recruitment of Alan Wren (known as Reni) on drums, bassist Pete Garner and rhythm guitarist Andy Couzens, they released their debut single, ‘So Young’, in 1985. 1987’s ‘Sally Cinnamon’ was a step forward, establishing the band’s sound: a contemporary, dance-influenced rhythm section, on top of which Squire’s guitar blended Byrds jangle with Hendrix psychedelia. After Garner and Cousins left, the arrival of new bassist Mani (Gary Mounfield) completed the band’s classic line-up.
1988 saw the release of ‘Elephant Stone’, produced by New Order’s Peter Hook, which the band regarded as their first entirely successful recording. But it was 1989’s eponymous debut album that established the band, along with the Happy Mondays, as leading exponents of what became known as the ‘Madchester’ sound. Produced by John Leckie, it appealed to indie fans and ravers alike, and has topped many ‘best of’ polls in subsequent years. Towards the end of the year, a new single, ‘Fool’s Gold’, saw the band moving further towards a dance-oriented sound. The band played a series of large-scale concerts in 1990, culminating in May with the Spike Island outdoor gig in Widnes, which was attended by over 25,000 people.
After one further single, ‘One Love’, the band entered a lengthy legal dispute with their label, Silvertone, resulting in a four year gap before the release of their second album. ‘The Second Coming’ took a more ‘rock’ approach than the debut, and was seen as a disappointment by some. Shortly afterwards, Reni left the band, followed by John Squire in 1996. After carrying on for a few months, Ian Brown and Mani decided to call it quits and split the band.