One of the most iconic figures in contemporary British cultural history Ian Brown sets the standard for cool amongst a host of bands and musicians to have emerged from the North West of England.
Himself inspired by such diverse role models as Muhammad Ali, George Best and Bruce Lee, Ian has influenced the style and careers of countless other artists including the likes of The Verve, Oasis, The Charlatans and the Arctic Monkeys.
Born in Warrington but brought up in Timperley near Altrincham, on the outskirts of Manchester, Brown was, of course, the lead singer of the The Stone Roses – a band that perhaps never quite achieved everything they were capable of.
Along with fellow Roses members John Squire, Mani and Reni, Ian helped create one of the greatest albums of all time, ‘The Stone Roses’, in 1989 – having originally formed the band in 1983. Featuring tracks such as “I Wanna Be Adored”, “Waterfall”, “She Bangs The Drums”, “This Is The One” and “I Am The Resurrection” it was the record which defined the Madchester era.
Over the subsequent years the band produced the memorable single “Fools Gold”, played to a massive crowd at the famous Spike Island gig on Merseyside, did their thing live at The Hacienda in Manchester and later released a second album ‘Second Coming’ in 1994.
They later disbanded and the Ian Brown story took another twist as he built on the legacy of the Roses years with a superb solo comeback album, ‘Unfinished Monkey Business’, which featured “My Star”, “Can’t See Me” and the brilliant “Corpses in Their Mouths”.
Seeing Ian perform live is an enthralling experience in itself. To become one of the most admired and successful singers this country has ever produced, without actually being that good at singing is something that only Ian Brown could do. And has done. He dominates the stage, is coolness personified, plays around with his audience, makes his fellow musicians giggle and takes everyone watching him perform up to another stratosphere.
Since his first solo album five more records have been produced, ‘Golden Greats’, ‘Music of the Spheres’, ‘Solarized’, ‘The World Is Yours’ and most recently ‘My Way’ in 2009.
Ian Brown certainly has done it his way, and the world is a richer, more interesting place thanks to the talents of Altrincham’s finest son.