The first time I heard the Stone Roses' 'Fools Gold' I simply assumed the main riff had been sampled. Like those brilliant hip hop records at the time I was certain that it had been lifted from an old Bobby Byrd track or James Brown number. It just seemed too authentic. Too liquid. Effortlessly the Roses had tapped into the heart of black American music and recreated it on their own terms. They'd locked it down as the saying goes and the world instantly sat up and took notice.
It was a spectacular time for British music. Tony Wilson standing up at an American music conference and uttering 'wake up America' you're dead' seemed to sum it all up. On these shores rock music had been loosened up by acid house and chartered effortlessly into new waters. The poster boys of this revolution were the Stone Roses. Mysterious. Aloof. Other wordly, they'd already dropped one of the greatest debut albums of all time and their momentum was spectacular. By the time 'fools gold' dropped they had a whole generation eating out of their hands. Wherever they went, people followed.
You could see it on dance floors at the time. Whenever those snaking drums of 'fools gold' kicked in over the speakers, people literally ran from the bar to get to the dance floor. Ian Brown was the pied piper of his generation in that respect, albeit with a better haircut and much cooler threads. It didn't matter that you couldn't work out what he was singing, you went with him. You felt it. The Roses' deeper meaning was never born out of being intellectual anyway. It was putting your good foot forward and leaving your troubles by the door.
There were bad times ahead for the Roses of course. Recriminations. Inactivity. A band slowly crumbling behind locked doors. 'Fools Gold' however was never a history lesson. It was the blue touch paper for living in the moment, an energy flash where rock and dance came beautifully together. For a brilliant moment in 1989, it shook the entire world and it's dancefloors.