Their story is one of the great rags to riches stories in all of rock & roll. A band that had been bouncing around since 1983, never quite making the jump to the big leagues, finally taps into something visceral with the addition of Mani in 1987. Suddenly, their live shows become massive events and their popularity skyrockets just as their first album comes out due to the groundswell of media covering the new "Madchester" scene.
It takes another three months to notch their first Top 40 single when "She Bangs The Drum" catches fire while we in the States are spoon-fed "I Wanna be Adored". Once "Adored" goes Top 20 in the UK on its second go-around as a single, both the album and the band are the talk of the UK as the most recognizable faces of the Madchester scene.
The right thing to have done would have been to continue riding the wave, but the Roses seemed to set out to not only rock the boat but to rock themselves out of it in the process. First they tried signing to another label despite being under contract to Silvertone for seven more albums. Next, they divorced themselves from the entire Madchester scene.
Then they took four years to record The Second Coming, by which time the kids who'd been moved to start bands after seeing them perform had formed bands of their own and were now storming the charts.
By 1996, both Reni and John Squire had left the band, leading the rest to throw in the towel. Ian, of course, went on to enjoy a reasonably successful solo career (9 Top 20 UK singles), although that has never translated to any sizable traction in the US. John Squire, arguably the creative heart of the band, formed the Seahorses. Mani, quite perfectly, went on to join Primal Scream, with whom he stayed until 2012, when he rejoined a reconstituted Stone Roses.
|"One of us is legally obligated to be dating Drew Barrymore at all times."|
This New York City band born of privilege and preferential treatment rose to the top of the local NYC scene long before they'd ever truly earned the right to be mentioned at all. Ah, but when the singer of the band is Julian Casablancas, son of modeling agency mogul John Casablancas, doors that would not have been otherwise available to most bands suddenly swing wide open.
Their debut album, Is This It featured everything a great first album should have: catchy tunes performed with workmanlike precision by as photogenic a band as you could ask for. While the album rose to #2 in the UK, it stalled at #33 in their homeland.
Ah well, we thought at the time, this is just the beginning. The band will tweak the template here and there and become worthy of the tsunami of adulation they received early on. Instead, the band has released only four albums in fifteen years and seen only one single ("Juicebox" ) chart in the US.
Right around the time the Stone Roses were top dog on the UK rock heap, but soon to write their own chapter in the book of rock disasters, the La's were still working feverishly to properly record the batch of songs Lee Mavers had written back in 1986 and 1987. In doing so, they hired and fired the likes of John Leckie (who'd produced The Stone Roses), Gavin MacKillop, Bob Andrews, John Porter and Mike Hedges, to name but a few.
It was finally Steve Lillywhite who was able to cobble together an album of material after Mavers and the rest of the band had walked away in frustration. "There She Goes" became a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to a successful tour, but the band eventually broke up in 1992 over the frustration of still playing the same songs they were in 1986, with John Power going on to form the much more prolific Cast.
Mavers, meanwhile, has been part of numerous la's reunions beginning in 1994 and running to the present. Even Power returned briefly in 2005 to make a go of it, but, to date, no new La's music has
seen the light of day.
Fine Young Cannibals
Whereas the La's and Stone Roses may have been unwilling to release the labored results of "life after THE HIT". the Fine Young Cannibals didn't even try.
After setting things up beautifully with a debut album that featured a rather remarkable take on Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" as well as their own gem "Johnny Come Home", they disappeared for three years only to return with the delightfully bonkers The Raw And The Cooked.
The album spawned monster hits "She Drives Me Crazy", "Good Thing" and "Don't Look Back", also going #1 itself in the process. The band dominated radio and MTV playlists for a huge chunk of 1989 and 1990.
And then tumbleweeds.
Not only did the band eventually cease to exist by 1992, the individual members maintained an absolutely puzzling radio silence. Of the three, only Roland Gift ever got around to putting another album out, although it wouldn't arrive until 2002.
What can we say about William "The Stroke" Squier's televised career suicide that hasn't already been said? We're talking about Squier's ill-advised seductive dance routine that culminates with a slo-mo "ripping of shirt to expose bare chest". Unfortunately, the chest belonged to Billy.
Sure, the song was a smash - his biggest hit in a career full of Camaro anthems like "In The Dark", "Lonely Is The Night", "My Kinda Lover", and "Everybody Wants You" - but, by the hundredths or so time you saw the video on MTV, you'd kinda had enough.
Billy, of course, got the message, or so it seemed, by calling his next album Enough Is Enough. The album bombed, bringing his platinum run to an end once and for all.