Long live rock, I need it every night

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Memories of Madchester

Below is a YouTube clip of the Stone Roses performing "Fool's Gold" on BBC's Top of the Pops in November 1989. Opinions differ but I think "Fool's Gold" was their best song and this performance took place just after it was released.

I was a college freshman in 1989 and I thought all the music coming out of Manchester was the balls. In a masterstroke, a group of dudes had thought to combine house music, electronica, and rock and roll, along with copious amounts of drug-taking. I jumped on the bandwagon with both feet and bought any release from the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, Charlatans, and many others besides.

Top of the Pops was a television show in the UK that ran from 1964 to 2006 featuring "live" performances from that week's chart toppers. Think Solid Gold, except not as good, as it did not feature all those choreographed dance scenes that always seemed to take place in a 1950s soda shop. We now know Top of the Pops best from the Art Brut show, where Eddie Argos* did a cool break/shout-out with it ("Art Brut--Top of the Pops, Jeff from the Spinto Band--Top of the Pops, Homeless Guy Outside Black Cat--Top of the Pops...).

This clip is interesting because Ian Brown, lead singer of the Stone Roses, had gotten into an argument with the producers of the show before the performance. Brown and the band wanted to do a live performance, but the producers insisted on them lip-synching to the track. The chimp-like Brown got the last laugh--at 1:40 of the video below, he "sings" the line I'm no clown/I won't back down/don't need you to tell me what's going down while holding the microphone above way over his head, in effect revealing that the "live" performance was anything but. Oooh, burn.

*By the way, Eddie Argos hates the Stone Roses. Here's what he said in a Guardian article about the most overrated "classic" albums in rock:

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
Nominated by Eddie Argos of Art Brut

They're totally overrated. Plus they covered Scarborough Fair. I don't understand why people still play their music in nightclubs - it makes me really angry. When I'm drunk in a club I usually end up arguing with the DJ who's playing them. The Stone Roses were an awful, awful band. They were uncharismatic, their lyrics are nonsensical and their music is dreary. Also, we have them to thank for Oasis, although at least Noel Gallagher is funny and Liam is a bit of a pop star. The Roses make me think of kids older than me swaggering around with bowl haircuts and affecting Manchester accents. It makes my skin crawl. And all their fans are so smug: "Oh, you don't understand it." I do understand it! It's ridiculous that it regularly gets voted in at the top of those "greatest British album ever" polls. They spawned a new thug-boy pop culture

1 comment:

Jumbo Slice said...

In college never got into the Manchester bands* and after seeing this video, I feel pretty good about that decision. I agree with Eddie - they're an awful band. Then again, I don't get into a lot of brit-rock so my opinion isn't that surprising.

* I was too busy listening to shitty grunge bands