Some tunes for you today! The Stone Roses remain our favourite band, but there’s a lot more to them than many folks realise.
The band’s 1989 eponymous debut album is widely regarded as one of the finest albums of all time.
But after that, legal issues caused by record labels curtailed their output. So, for those who aren’t aware, we’d like to flag up a few of the band’s finest, lesser-known moments.
Obscure Stone Roses Songs
One of the erroneous arguments against The Stone Roses’ brilliance is the band didn’t record many songs and only released one album of any worth.
That’s totally incorrect as the band wrote scores of songs, recorded most of them, but many simply didn’t make it onto an album.
In fact, the band abandoned its real debut album (Garage Flower) in 1986 after recording it with Martin Hannett. The band wasn’t pleased with the album, so decided not to release it to focus on new material.
Now that’s a hell of a confident and mature approach for any upcoming band to take. Its eventual record label, Silvertone Records, released Garage Flower in 1996 against the band’s wishes.
The Stone Roses members were, in fact, so prolific there will be many other tracks they recorded now sadly lost to time.
But their definite peak was around 1989 and the years surrounding that, with many incredible songs released as B sides to singles and almost forgotten to obscurity.
So we’re wrapping a bunch of them together here for you to have a gander at. Why? As the songs are very bloody good.
Pearl Bastard was recorded around the time of The Stone Roses’ eponymous debut, but didn’t make the album as it sounded too similar to Song For My (Sugar Spun Sister).
And so it lay forgotten for 20 years, until in 2009 it was revealed for the first time on the 20th anniversary release set.
At the time, bassist Mani expressed surprise no one knew about the song at all.
But it’s classic Roses at their best—beautiful, melodic, mysterious, and brooding. Nice, eh?
I’m Without Shoes
The Stone Roses had a habit of taking songs they already had, then reversing them and adding lyrics over the top of an already great song.
Here’s an early example of this process in action. But you can also hear arguably their best effort with Waterfall becoming Don’t Stop.
This was included as a B-side to the CD and cassette single version of She Bangs the Drums in 1989.
We’re not 100% sure, but we think it may be Where Angel’s Play reversed.
That was another fantastic Stone Roses song in its own right that never got an official album release. And if we’re right, then it’s also fabulous when reversed.
The Sun Still Shines
The Sun Still Shines came about around 1987 along with Sally Cinnamon, marking the band’s total musical about-face from post-punk hellish noise to proper melodies.
So you can can compare and contrast, below is The Stone Roses in 1985 when drummer Reni was the main star of the show.
The Sun Still Shines was never officially released by the band and certainly hasn’t been played live since circa 1987. It’s available on bootlegs only.
Sugar Spun Sister
Here’s an early demo from one of the band’s most underrated songs.
From 1986, it layers on the psychedelia a great deal more than the eventual 1989 album version. But, again, very pretty and melodic!
This version features different lyrics, with the final version titled Song For My (Sugar Spun Sister). And a glorious little number it is.
Going Down (early demo)
Going Down was another B-side single release, although it eventually made it onto The Complete Stone Roses Album (1995). A collection of the band’s many single releases.
However, this is an early demo that puts the song in acoustic form.
It’s odd listening to it without Reni’s drumming, and Squire’s electric guitar, over the top. We think it works better that way. Still, it’s a fine acoustic number as well.
Recorded as a B-side to a single from the Second Coming (1994) album, it’s quite ridiculous Ride On wasn’t one of the main songs on the album.
Although the album received mediocre critical responses, with this one you can hear the band at their best.
The usual enigmatic lyrics, Squire’s fantastic guitar work, Reni at his best on the drums—and with his amazing, soulful backing vocals.