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The Stone Roses: War and Peace Paperback – 6 Jun 2013
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This is the one. It's the definitive biography of the band, stuffed with photos that have never been seen before. The writing feels really fresh and definitive. It's a classic (Alex Heminsley BBC 6 Music Book of the Month)
A comprehensive, no-holds-barred account... details with steely, forensic precision the story of the group's ascent, heyday and spectacular implosion. All the triumphs and disasters are here (The Sunday Times)
A forensic, detailed and beautifully researched history of the Stone Roses.... full of new stuff (John Harris)
For the casual listener, or die-hard fanatic, this is a genuine masterpiece (What Hi-Fi? Sound & Vision)
This is the one Stone Roses book fans will want to read. Copies of this superb biography will not remain on shop shelves for long (The Bookseller)
An era-defining, definitive biography (Q)
A loving and detailed biog (Mojo)
Cute on the machinations of the industry and internal band politics (The Times, Book of the Week)
Brilliant... forensically put together (Gordon Smart XFM)
Simon Spence's Stone Roses compendium has it all - interviews with the Manc group's closest confidants, unseen photos and a timeline that stretches all the way back to the group's inception . . . The definitive word on the band (NME Music Book of the Year 2013)
Succeeds as a cautionary tale: up-and-coming garage bands would be wise to study it and show it to their lawyers as a prophylactic measure to avoid being fleeced and exploited (The New York Times)
A thorough biography of the Stone Roses ... illuminates the bickering and court battles that led to their downfall (The Guardian)
Comprehensive retelling of majestic rise, shambolic fall and royal resurrection of the original Northern wags. Unseen photos include one of entire band pissing in a field (Esquire)
About the Author
Simon Spence collaborated with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham on the acclaimed memoirs Stoned and 2Stoned. He has written for the NME, i-D, Dazed & Confused and the Independent. He was at the Stone Roses' legendary Blackpool and Alexandra Palace shows in 1989 and covered their era-defining Spike Island show for The Face.
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Top customer reviews
As a life long fan of the band and as someone who was just about old enough to enjoy the unbelievable summer of 1989, I did look forward to reading this new piece of work on the band. The author had a tough act to follow - John Robb has already written the definitive work on the Roses. As a friend of the band and as someone who was right at the centre of what was happening at that time, Robb perfectly describes not only the rise of the Roses but also the chaos and the euphoric atmosphere that encapsulated that whole era. It's this colour that War and Peace is lacking in my opinion.
It's written in a very matter of fact way at times. Much is missed about the formation of the classic line up for example. The author also misses the essence of what was really happening around Manchester at the time, just how bad the UK music scene was when the Roses changed it for good and what it felt like to be around the band at that time. The house / e / hacienda revolution that marked that time in Manchester doesn't get much of a mention and actually it's really important in the story of the Roses. The reader is delivered a load of facts, there's not much wrong, but it lacks the warmth and atmosphere that Robb provides.
It really isn't a bad book by any means though. Hours of interviews with friends and associates provide a few new insights into subjects such as the signing of the infamous contract and there is some great stuff about the early recordings with Martin Hannett. There's also a bit of an insight late on into what it was like for Robbie Maddix to step into the shoes of the greatest drummer of his generation. A few previously unseen photos are always a bonus as well!
All in all, it's a really solid piece of work and one that clearly has had hours and hours of hard work poured into it. But in the end, this is only an above average rendition of an amazing story about a once in a lifetime band.
Although it relies heavily on old press cuttings, where most of the quotations from each member of The Stone Roses have been lifted, the author did actually conduct a mammoth 70 fresh interviews with other semi-key players which do provide insight. I would say that this was a fair biography, and free of bias, but Simon Spence isn't shy (and nor should he be) in revealing the less admirable side to the musicians' personal characters, whilst giving just as much space to the alternative, and reminding us all what they have all achieved. He also describes the settings of this particular period (1989-1991) of Manchester history whilst documenting the band's rise quite beautifully, and as it takes a look at what goes on behind-the-scenes in the music industry, should also appeal in parts to fans of pop and social culture as well.
Even though none of the band members directly cooperated with the author at any great length (which would obviously have enhanced the text), if you know next to nothing about their journey, then this is well worth a read. Avid fans will still wish to purchase 'War and Peace' anyway for the many (40 in total to be exact) never-before-the-seen photographs which illustrate this text-driven book. This is a very interesting tale, weaved together by a capable author.