Another Roses number and I’ve chosen what is possibly my favourite track on their debut album – ‘Bye Bye Badman’. Trivia fans may also know that John Squires cover art for the debut also goes by this name.

Apparently, the line in the song “Choke me, smoke the air, in this citrus-sucking sunshine I don’t care” refers to French students who carried lemons during the riots of 1968. This was because they believed that sucking on them would be an antidote of sorts to the effects of tear gas.

So, to the music. John uses a capo at the second fret for this track I suspect, otherwise it would be very tricky to play the runs at the end of the song and also the tasty country-inflected hammer-ons during the chorus. During the verses, the G major – G minor change followed by the resolution back to D major brings a definite Lennon and McCartney vibe to the track. The change in rhythmic emphasis for the chorus and outro section is a great example of how the Roses were able to use dynamics in a very subtle way. Reni’s doubled up drum part is completed by John’s riffing over G and D. At the end of the chorus, the Bsus4-Bm-Gm change provides a cracking and unexpected turnaround – its moments like this in the Stone Roses catalogue that set them apart from others. Again, it suggests a nod to Macca and Lennon.

Finally the outro sees John start off with a great part that mirrors Ian Brown’s melody before letting rip with some Roddy Frame-esque runs.

I’m using my 80’s ‘Bitsa’ MIJ Fender Strat on this one. Although John was often seen using a Gretsch Country Gent during this period, he did also use a 60’s Strat both live and in the studio.


Stone Roses – One Love

November 17, 2011

John Squire – possibly the last great British guitar hero?

I am old enough to have purchased the Stone Roses debut album not long after it was released (’88/’89), just before they started to break into the UK charts. As a 20 year-old aspiring ‘the-next-Johnny Marr’ at the time, armed with a Rickenbacker (a 250 El-Dorado), it was clear after a few listens that Mr Squire was a cut above the rest of the indie-rock brigade. I therefore set about attempting to learn all his parts on that album, spending hours wondering why tracks like ‘Waterfall’ were so tricky to get right. As with the aforementioned Mr Marr, John was also fond of using a capo from time to time.

The other thing that Roses had was a very funky musicalĀ  ‘undercarriage’; the combination of Reni, Mani and John on tracks such as ‘I Am The Resurrection’ and the later singles ‘Fools Gold’ and ‘One Love’ was particularly explosive. This capability was very unusual at the time for a band that was still considered, by the music press, to belong firmly in theĀ  ‘indie’ genre – although during interviews the band themselves made it clear that they hated this categorisation.

When playing ‘One Love’ it feels a bit like one long solo from start to finish. It’s clear that John has been listening heavily to Hendrix and is attempting to capture Jimi’s unsurpassed ability to juxtapose lead and rhythm playing into one cohesive part that runs continuously throughout a track.

So to the technical bit. The verses are basically E minor pentatonic Hendrix-isms with a switch to more of a major pentatonic feel for the chorus which is just E-A-B. Theres also a nice key change on the outro where the Roses move up a tone to jam around F# minor. I don’t have the longer 12-inch version which contains an extended solo.

In the video for ‘One Love’ John is seen playing some type of custom Jaguar hybrid. I’ve no idea if this was used for the studio version. The guitar is also heavily processed so i’ve had a stab at the sound using my Pod v1.0.