Thursday 25 May 2023

One Love

Released during the heatwave of July 1990, Stone Roses One Love b/w Something's Burning was the sound of a band completely in the zone and out on their own. 

The band were streets ahead of their contemporaries, in fact they barely acknowledged them. They had DJ's rather than support bands at their landmark Spike Island and Glasgow Green shows that year. No other band could touch them.

Fully aware of this, the Roses turned down support slots with New Order in America and also The Pixies. Ian Brown also delivered a typically memorable quote when asked why they had turned down an opportunity to play with The Rolling Stones. "It's 1990, The Rolling Who? F**king hell they should open for us. It's obscene that they're even touring."

Following the release of their eponymous album and Fools Gold single, the Roses were the band of a generation; changing the way people looked, acted and spoke. Soundtracking the times with sublime guitar pop and providing visuals through John Squire's artwork.

Check the footage from Spike Island via the link below. It's electric. 

'The time, the time, the time, the time, the time is now' declared Brown, as the band sauntered onstage at their legendary show to the sounds of Small Time Hustler by The Dismasters on a loop. Brown grooves to the song, Mani pumps the air with his fist and Cressa is dancing behind a bank of effects. 

Mani described the event as 'a gathering of the clans'

Spike Island footage

Their time was now! Following on from 1989's Fools Gold 9.53, Stone Roses continued to push boundaries with their sound. Squire on guitar, Mani on bass and the effervescent Reni on drums stretched out blissfully to create almost 16-minutes of dreamy, groove based psychedelia on One Love and Something's Burning across the 12-inch single.

Riding in on some outrageous Squire guitar heroics, Mani and Reni fall effortlessly into a groove behind him, allowing Ian to come in with a hushed promise, sung in an almost menacing whisper.

Any time you want me

Any time at all

Any time you need me

All you gotta do is call

The bridge to the chorus is all kinds of trippy cool. Brown sings about being a dolphin who doesn't live in the sea, before the beautiful line you feel my flow and you flood my brain , slowing things down into a delicious groove ...

Show me your vision, your wild apparition

And sink to the depths of your soul

... before Squire delivers some star spangled riffs as the band hit the chorus;

One love, we don't need another love

One love, one heart and one soul

Reflecting on One Love in 1998, Ian Brown said "The chorus wasn't strong enough. We tried for an anthem. We wanted to cover all bases and ended up covering none."

Roses fans didn't agree, pushing the song to number 4 on the charts, their highest position until Love Spreads arrived over 4-years later. However, perhaps the chorus could have been hammered home through repetition. But after one run through, Brown then sings we can have it all, easy peasy. And they had it all; the talent, the looks, the artwork, the songs and enough cool to carry a generation.

After another run through the first verse and a slightly different bridge, the chorus is then extended, ending with a lyric that would become the title of their phenomenal Turns Into Stone compilation of non-album single and b-sides.

Your fruit's in season

And these feet fall surely sound

And what goes up must come down

Turns into dust, or turns into stone

Remarkably, all of the above (and more) is delivered in 2-minutes 45 seconds, leaving the Roses a full 5-minutes to play with on the 12-inch version. Mani's bass is central to the extended outro, allowing Squire ample room to play and Reni to jam along with some kind of sample/programmed beat. 

At times Mani's bass seems to be influenced by The Doors - ironic as they don't have a bass player, but they do have some incredible bass lines sprinkled throughout their back catalogue, played by Ray Manzarek on keyboards.

Tantalisingly, the song seems to have found another groove just as it ends. It could have gone on and on. The Roses look super cool in the video, playing and grooving as flames shoot up all around them

John Leckie is on production duties, helping to take the band in a different direction than their 1989 eponymous debut album. Paul Schroeder is on mixing duties. Leckie walked out on The Second Coming due to lengthy delays and Schroeder took over.

As always, the artwork is a John Squire creation. Although this wasn't without controversy. One Love was originally scheduled to come out to co-incide with the Spike Island show but was delayed due to the suggestion that a swastika was visible in the abstract artwork. Horrified, Squire tore up the proofs and created new artwork.

Stone Roses, 1990, photo by Mike Prior

Something's Burning is as fluid and trippy a song as the Roses produced. The first 70-seconds sound like the band just mucking around with programmed beats and some effects for inspiration, then Squire coaxes a gentle riff from his guitar and a whispered Ian Brown vocal comes in, singing proverbs through the first verse.

There is a lift into the chorus and I particularly love the flowing melody of the final line.

I can see the love and the hate in your eyes

Penny for the thoughts behind your disguise

What you gonna go and what you gonna day?

I'm not the only one believing there's an easier way

And then a little groove into the next section that ends with a classic Ian Brown line;

It doesn't pay to disorientate me

It doesn't cost to be someone

I am the vine 

And you are the branches

The band run through another couple of verses and choruses before finding the refrain 

What you gonna do with the rest of your life?

Penny for the thoughts behind your disguise

Something's Burning grooves on for another 97 seconds, a dreamy jam, some spacey keyboard effects over Squire's guitar and some cool beats. 

I've said it before on this blog and I'll say it again. The Fools Gold and One Love b/w Something's Burning singles are a glimpse of where the Roses could have gone if they hadn't got caught up in legal wranglings. Can you imagine an album full of blissed out psychedelic grooves, jams and beats? 

As it was, after Glasgow Green on 9th June 1990, the coolest band on the planet didn't play live again until April 1995. After the release of One Love on 2nd July, they didn't release any new material until Love Spreads in December 1994. What could have been?

One Love official video 

One Love live on Hit Studio International TV

No comments: