It needed saying. He had it all with The Roses, then lost it all. Then he started again in a council flat with nothing, launched his solo career, and got it all again. There’s always hope of improvement and escape. “The reason I was in a group was to get out of Manchester, because it rains every day, it’s industrial, there’s nothing to do,” he once said.
Background drives character. Pre-Stone Roses Ian was into northern soul, going to all-night dance and music events. He doesn’t like fighting, despite taking beatings from others on many infamous occasions. And in December 1999 he was sent to Strangeways for two months, and while there he wrote three of the songs for his album. Even when you’re inside you have a choice as to how you spend your time and what you achieve. Nothing can take your mind’s freedom away.
The album was gold: no surprise that there would be a follow up, and it would be called Golden Greats.
Extract from page 342 of 2000 Tunes: A History of Manchester Music by M. H. Rees; used with permission. Read the whole series (25 extracts) here; or my summary post. Readers might be interested in my forthcoming novel about a man obsessed with Manchester music - confusingly, it is also called 2000 Tunes!