The Stone Roses ‘The Stone Roses’

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#916 in the Series) is the self-titled debut from The Stone Roses. (Silvertone)

With the recent news of The Stone Roses reuniting and touring, I thought back to my freshman year of college at Arizona State University twenty plus years ago, where I was first introduced to their self-titled debut. This was a great time in my life musically, considering I was away at college and free to spend as much time as I wanted scouring the record bins at Tower Records or listening to live music at Long Wong’s, the venue that launched The Gin Blossoms. Additionally, that fall both Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten were released. Not to mention my spending countless hours with Out of Time, the last R.E.M. album of my childhood idols I would ever buy.

College was a time for intellectual growth often exercised in meaningless conversations on a Tuesday night, hanging around with friends, drinking Keystone Lights, and discussing things as obscure as the greatest bass line of all time. Some people would argue such tracks like Queen’s “Under Pressure,” The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and, of course, the haunting mysterious bass line from the Zeppelin classic “Dazed and Confused.” In this hypothetical argument, the answer would have to be the bass line from “I Wanna Be Adored”, as played by “Mani” Mournfield the first track off The Stone Roses stunning debut. The simple fact is that when you heard it you knew that no matter if you were doing something as mundane as studying for a Psychology 100 exam you were in for a great musical experience for the next fifty plus minutes plus.

The second track,”She Bangs the Drums” is not quite as formidable, but great nonetheless, with lead singer Ian brown singing that whoever should “Kiss me where the sun don’t shine. The past was yours. But the future’s mine. You’re all out of time.” A sentiment I could totally relate to at this point in my life.

Next on the U.S. version comes “Elephant Stone,” a song that wholly demonstrates John Squire’s signature layered melodic guitar riffs and Reni’s (Alan Wren) unbelievably tight drum playing. Alan Wren was such a well-regarded drummer in fact that Rhythm Magazine called him the “single most important drummer in UK indie circles” in 2004. (See the video for “Elephant Stone” and Reni’s unmatched drum playing skills. Here’s a link.)

The fourth track, “Waterfall,” is a song so serene it simply embodies everything that is beautiful and possible in this world.

That said, I could go through this album song by song never running out of superlatives for every individual track. That’s the point. This album is so good it could actually survive in today’s digital musical climate. Every song is genius or teetering on the brink and could work as a standalone single.

To that point, growing up I had been a big fan of what many people would call new wave or synth pop (The Cars, New Order, Depeche Mode) and had often wondered who Ian McCulloch was singing about in Bring on the Dancing Horses with the lyric “Bring on the new messiah. Wherever he may roam.“ Himself? Richard Butler? Robert Smith? Morrissey? Hearing Ian Brown croon “I am the resurrection.” on the last song of the album, this question, at least for the time being, had been definitively answered.

This album is so well regarded in England that in 2006 New Musical Express named it the greatest British album ever. Needless to say, this is high praise considering England is the birthplace of Black Sabbath, The Beatles, The Who, The Smiths and The Rolling Stones. Would I go that far? Probably not. What I could argue for is that it is the greatest rock and roll debut album ever: Although, Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced, The Doors own self-titled debut, Led Zeppelin 1 and The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, all might have something to say about that.

What I do know is that it was the one of the most soulful albums of my generation and the soundtrack for the best years of my life. A time when the possibilities were endless. I was attending a school, with an overabundance of beautiful women with nothing to do but hang out and listen to records and drink at night while playing pickup basketball during the day. It was a wonderful time that was made that more special because it was underscored by the brilliance of The Stone Roses.

Clint Corey, Arizona USA

Track listing

All tracks written by Ian Brown and John Squire.

1989 UK release

  1.  “I Wanna Be Adored” – 4:52
  2. “She Bangs the Drums” – 3:42
  3. “Waterfall” – 4:37
  4. “Don’t Stop” – 5:17
  5. “Bye Bye Badman” – 4:00
  6. “Elizabeth My Dear” – 0:59
  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

Released 23 July 1989.

  1.  “I Wanna Be Adored” – 4:52
  2. “She Bangs the Drums” – 3:42
  3. “Elephant Stone” (UK 7″ single version) – 3:04
  4. “Waterfall” – 4:37
  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


  • John Squire – guitars, paintings
  • Ian Brown – vocals
  • Mani – bass
  • Reni – drums, backing vocals, Piano


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Posted by Larry Carta


  1. coachmaddog (01 Nov 2011, 6:46)

    Cool band, cool album. Let the reunion tour hit Chicago!

  2. Lisa (06 Nov 2011, 2:03)

    Really Cool

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