For those concerned with the well-being of British guitar music, the summer of 1989 was the domain not just of glorious 25-30 degree temperatures but of a redoubtable Madchester juggernaut that loomed on the horizon. Featuring an anticipatory hi-hat/bass intro, anthemic chorus and overall hedonistic swagger, “She Bangs The Drums” provided The Stone Roses with their first top 40 chart position and, as the catalyst for their rapid rise to stardom, is of seminal importance as an embryo of the Britpop explosion of the 1990s.
Containing the lyric “Kiss me where the sun don’t shine/The past was yours but the future’s mine,” the song encapsulates the cocky ebullience of youth while portending to the emergence of a generational shift that culminated in the band’s legendary appearance at Spike Island in May 1990. Despite technological failings and major problems with the sound being blown all over the River Mersey peninsula that bank holiday weekend, The Stone Roses had their victory even before a note was struck: In something akin to a Woodstock for the “baggy” generation, they had amassed a congregation of nearly 30,000 people and delivered indie music into the mainstream.
Within the jubilant whirlpool of pot and pill induced celebration that day was a 22 year old Noel Gallagher who viewed both The Stone Roses and the magnitude of the Spike Island gathering as a blueprint for his very own band. Six years later, indie music and the Britpop movement reached a zenith, surely never to be repeated, when Oasis played to 250,000 people over two nights at Knebworth Park in August 1996.
“She Bangs The Drums” was arguably where it all started.