The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

The Stone Roses: Bigger Than the Band that was Bigger than Jesus?

Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor



IN THIS CORNER: We have The Stone Roses, legendary 90’s band from Manchester

IN THE OTHER CORNER: We have The Beatles, Icons, 60’s trendsetters from Liverpool

(ringing bell)


HISTORICAL LEGACY: The Stones Roses brought guitars back into style in 1989, saving music, kicking off Brit-Pop. The Beatles were great, but they created rock-n-roll pretentiousness, adding violins and cellos and other such crap, kicking off the age of the Self Important Rock Star.

            EDGE: The Stone Roses

ORIGINALITY: The Stone Roses ushered in a distinct new sound, a pastiche of all the right influences. The Beatles ripped off Chuck Berry in their early days, then Bob Dylan, then Brian Wilson.

            EDGE: The Stone Roses

PERSONNEL: The Stone Roses had John Squire, an actual Guitar Hero, a great drummer in Reni, a good bass player in Mani, a good singer in Ian Brown. The Beatles had good-to-great singers, a great bass player in Paul, adequate guitars and drums.

            EDGE: Draw

VISUALS/STYLES/CLOTHING: The Stone Roses wore pants, psychedelic shirts, and Reni had a great hat. The Beatles had facial hair, scarves, great early suits.

            EDGE: The Beatles

DRUG USE:   The Stone Roses consumed grass, booze, coke. The Beatles consumed all of the above, plus heroin, acid, Hamburg speed.

            EDGE: The Stone Roses (healthier)

POST-BAND ANTICS: The Stone Roses’ Brown has had a successful solo career, Mani was in Primal Scream. The Beatles have 2 dead, plus are responsible for “Silly Love Songs” and The Plastic Ono Band.

            EDGE: The Stone Roses

DANCEABILITY: The Stone Roses have plenty of funky, hip-shaking grooves, “Love Spreads,” “Fool’s Gold,” etc. The Beatles have “Twist and Shout,” a few other early ones, that lean towards dancing-dorkiness.

            EDGE: The Stone Roses

LYRICS: The Stone Roses wrote words that were mildly obscure, interesting (“Come with me to a place no eyes have ever seen”). The Beatles were mostly obvious, in the beginning (“She loves you”), mostly impenetrable, at the end (#9).

            EDGE: The Stone Roses

MUSIC: The Stone Roses have a high % (90) of tremendous material. The Beatles, while also having a high % (75), have less so.

            EDGE: The Stone Roses



Ok, so not really convincing. Let’s try it this way: I love the Beatles. I always have. Anyone who says they don’t like the Beatles is an idiot. Their importance cannot be overstated. But what makes music great, really great, is the chill degree, the X-factor, like when your hair stands on end. It’s rare, for me. The Beatles have one song that does that, “And Your Bird Can Sing.” The Stones Roses have at least seven (“Sugar Spun Sister,” “Where Angels Play,” “Breaking Into Heaven,” “Good Times,” “I Am The Resurrection,”  “Fool’s Gold,” “She Bangs the Drums,” I could go on). It’s a wonderful feeling, that rush you get when everything lines up right, a certain perfection, it’s what makes art crucial to a full life, it’s what makes you glad to be awake and breathing.

Yeah, the Beatles were special, four lads who shook the world. But the Stone Roses, well, they shook MY world, and we can only judge things by how they affect us. It’s not heresy to suggest there actually is or was or could be a band better than the Beatles.

Throw off the shackles, my pretties! It’s ok to admit that “Sergeant Peppers” really isn’t that good (“Lovely Rita” is the best song). It’s ok to love the Beatles, to appreciate them, to marvel at them. But it’s also ok to be MORE blown away by another band. And for me, that band would be The Stone Roses.

Listen to ‘em, and find out.