The Stone Roses’ debut album was released 30 years ago today… [May 1989]

There’s no evidence that the stars actually aligned on 2 May 1989 (30 years ago today), but, musically at least, there was magic in the ether: The Stone Roses’ self-titled debut album was released.

Following on from the singles Elephant Stone (in October 1988) and Made Of Stone (in February 1989), the Roses’ debut married elements of pop psychedelia, acid house euphoria, rock swagger and the ‘northern poetry’ of bands like The Smiths and The Fall, like no album before or since.

What other debut album, for example, could make such a bold statement as “I am the resurrection, and I am the light”, as the album’s final chorus goes, and get away with it? Not to mention the baroque whimsy of Elizabeth My Dear?

Perhaps the band’s arrogance played a part. As album engineer John Leckie told NME back in 2016, “They didn’t seem to feel any pressure other than that they were a band making their first album and didn’t want to lose the opportunity to make it good. 

“So there wasn’t any pressure to prove themselves – they knew they were good”.

The Jackson Pollock-influenced cover… with added lemons

There are times, such as on Bye Bye Badman, where Ian Brown’s voice doesn’t quite hit the mark, and you could argue that the backwards-masked Don’t Stop is an unnecessary extravagance.

But name me a better opening trio of tracks than I Wanna Be Adored, She Bangs The Drums and Waterfall, and I’ll call you a liar. Album closers This Is The One and I Am The Resurrection also can’t fail to get the blood pumping, with or without chemical assistance.

Still groundbreaking, still incomparable, still… adored.

So, as The Stone Roses enters its fourth decade of existence, there is little else to add, except to exhort the reader to PLAY… IT… F**KING… LOUD. 🙂

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