Just Like Me, They Long To Be Close To You

So what do you do, when you have a chance to meet your heroes, either fleetingly, or if you’re lucky enough to be in the same room with them for a goodly period of time? You’re in a quandary, there are too many questions unanswered, there’s no time to think. Will I look like a gushing fanboy twit? Can my hero be arsed with the attention after so many years in the spotlight? Will my hero dash my expectations to the ground, because despite all my doubt, deep down I do really really want a word or two from him or her, and gad, they might be too tired, it might be the first few minutes they’ve had to themselves all day, and it might be the eightieth time that day someone’s pestered them, and.. what to do? What to DO? What to SAY?

Well, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, sometimes it’s.. strange.

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The Sacred Days You Gave Me – The Stone Roses

(The final album in a series of 10 albums that shaped my musical taste)

Our own particular brand of Northern Soul, the Roses were. Self-belief in bucketloads, strong instrumental ability and a staggering ambition to make their debut the next ‘Electric Ladyland’ or ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’.

The Roses railed against the pessimism of the post-Smiths years, ignored the London trendsetters, and stood up for what they thought was right in the face of media criticism. They had a sense of purpose rare in established bands, let alone those who are relatively wet behind the ears. They weren’t ‘Madchester‘, to me. Their music was, and is, timeless.

From the opening bass rumble and subsequent guitar chord shower of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ to the closing wig-out of ‘I Am The Resurrection’, the Stone Roses and producer John Leckie pull together the individual threads of spaced-out dance freaking, psychedelia, folk-rock and situationist lyricism and knit them together into something unique. Music for the head, the heart and the soul.

More than 20 years since The Stone Roses was released, and I’m struggling to think of a more significant musical¬†event during that time, or a better album. You’ll find a fair few who disagree with that point of view. But when I find fellow believers,¬†like-minded souls, The Stone Roses brings us together strongly. Nostalgic, yet forward-looking. Brethren.

Precious few bands can do that.

P.S. And a word about¬†Mani.. ¬†how good is Mani? The Stone Roses and Primal Scream.. not a bad CV when all’s said and done. Top bloke.

OK, folks, that’s it, I’m all done with listing my favourites.. until another excuse comes along. Find all ten of my ‘Sacred Days’ album selections here. ‘New music’ writing coming soon.

The Sacred Days You Gave Me – The Jesus And Mary Chain

(#9 in a series of 10 albums that shaped my musical taste)

I’d just like to say to all you young folks that if you’re playing in a band and your raison d’√™tre is complete indifference.. if you’re playing that card, “look at us, we’re chaotic and we don’t care about anything, least of all our fans”..

Don’t. Pack it in, think of something else. You couldn’t hope to do it better than The Jesus And Mary Chain, and if you wanted to try, you’d actually have to put some effort in. And of course you’re not supposed to care that much.

For Jim and William Reed, the blistering sound of distortion and feedback said everything they wanted to say. Rank amateur Bobby Gillespie behind the “drumkit”, slovenly vocals, murky bass, amplifier hiss.. an unholy racket.

Penetrating the murk, however, were proper pop songs. Echoes of Phil Spector. The classic sound of The Crystals, The Ronettes and The Beach Boys.

Played by lazy slackers.

Drowned in screeching sheets of white noise.

Lovely stuff. Twenty five years ago, I’d heard nothing like it.

I didn’t see The Jesus And Mary Chain live until much later. Less daunting a prospect.

P.S. The final part of The Sacred Days You Gave Me: 1989

The Sacred Days You Gave Me – The Smiths

(#8 in a series of 10 albums that shaped my musical taste)

We took a deep breath and held it, in the late post-punk era. Not much joy in serried ranks of earnest young men in long grey raincoats poking desultorily at synthesisers. And that’s definitely what we were missing.. delight, glee, abandon. But we got what we wanted in the end.

Seems odd to take joy from a band oft accused of plumbing the depths of miserabilia? You had to be there. It’s hard to imagine the sheer animal hysteria in a Smiths audience, but I’ve never seen.. devotion like it, before or since.

Peals of chiming chords torn from Marr’s Rickerbacker, Rourke tunefully locked in with Joyce. The stage strewn with gladioli, callow youths a-faint with adulation hurling themselves at Morrissey.. Morrissey flailing, arms aloft, dizzy, elusive.

A few short days after the debut album release, they played Brighton Polytechnic. An impossibly long wait for the band (wasn’t there always, in the 80s?). A rapturous howling response and a lucky thirteen songs [setlist], the stage besieged. I was thunderstruck, back out into the midnight air, dazed but euphoric.

Alas, you ruined the first album for me that night, gentlemen. Though the lyrical impact remained, it was no longer the sound of the majestic Smiths I’d seen, it was just too flat.. dry, distinctly un-thrilling. But¬†later that year, out popped Hatful Of Hollow – their true debut, for me.

Each time I listen to it, I’m half my age and back in that audience, rapt.

P.S. Part 9 of The Sacred Days You Gave Me: 1985