Steps v Stone Roses: Whose reunion is more significant?

Indie legends The Stone Roses have announced their comeback in the same week that recently reformed 1990s pop stars Steps went back to number one. So which reunion should we get more excited about?

Steps (left) and Stone Roses singer Ian Brown

Who are they?

Five insufferably cheesy and cheerful stage school graduates from a more innocent age in pop, who ruled the school disco by taking the 1970s hit song formula and adding a Fisher Price backing track.

Four insufferably moody and messianic Mancunian blokes who mixed the psychedelic guitar pop of the 1960s with a dreamy, mood-morphing groove that appealed to indie kids and ravers alike.

Influenced by

Abba, The Spice Girls, Jive Bunny

The Smiths, The Byrds, Love


Manufactured through an ad in The Stage newspaper to record a novelty line dancing song.

Schoolfriends Ian Brown and John Squire formed a band and built a following by playing gigs in warehouses.

Greatest hits

Tragedy, Love's Got A Hold On My Heart, Stomp

I Am The Resurrection, Fools Gold, One Love

Number of chart-topping albums

Step One by Steps

Three (Steptacular, 1999; Gold, The Greatest Hits, 2001; The Ultimate Collection, 2011).

Stone Roses album cover

None (They peaked at number four with Second Coming in 1994 and The Complete Stone Roses in 1995).

Number of platinum albums (each award marks 300,000 sales)



Number of times played on UK radio in the last 30 days



Career highlight

Sold out 120 UK arenas in 2001 and were presented with a commemorative disc by Sir Tim Rice to celebrate their entry into the Rock and Pop Hall of Fame top 100 acts of all time.

Gig for 30,000 people at Spike Island, opposite a cement factory on the banks of the River Mersey, in 1990. As legendary for the drug intake of the audience as the performance.

Place in NME's list of the 100 greatest British albums ever



Place in NME's list of the 100 best albums of 1989



Signature dance move

Still image from Steps' video for Tragedy

Hands raised to the temples, signifying the immediate aftermath of an horrific tragedy, accompanied by curiously happy facial expression.

Stone Roses on Top Of The Pops, 1989

Staring at the floor. Shuffling forwards a bit then backwards a bit. Head should bobble about like a nodding dog in a cheap car.

Sample concert review

"Steps at Wembley is the kind of event where you feel a little left out if you're not wearing flashing neon antlers. The punters know what they are getting. At no stage is there any sign of anyone playing a musical instrument," Tim De Lisle, Mail On Sunday, 9 December 2001.

"Songs advanced jerkily as guitarist John Squire and bassist Mani repeatedly missed each other's cues... More problematically, vocalist Ian Brown stumbled distractedly through the set, missing both the pitch and the beat of his notes with increasing frequency," Steve Kuhn, Washington Post, 22 May 1995.

What they said when they split

"After five incredible years, we all decided it is time to move on. We have always said that when the time came we would leave as good friends and go out while we're on top."

"Having spent the last 10 years in the filthiest business in the universe, it's a pleasure to announce the end of the Stone Roses."

The fall-out

Ian "H" Watkins and Claire Richards quit, hours before they were due on stage, by handing their bandmates a letter. "Did you really hate us?," asked Faye Tozer, blinking back the tears, when they reunited for a reality TV show this year.

Ian Brown called John Squire's decision to quit, via a phone call, an "absolute betrayal". Squire branded his former best friend "tuneless" and a "paranoid mess". The pair did not speak for more than a decade.

What they did next

As H & Claire, Watkins and Richards signed a record deal worth a reported £4m but were dropped after one album. Otherwise - panto, reality TV and West End shows.

John Squire formed a short-lived new band The Seahorses before turning his back on music to be a visual artist. Ian Brown went solo, scoring 13 UK top 40 singles.

Tribute bands

Step by Step, Step On Up

Fools Gold, The Clone Roses

Eat your words

"I can't really see myself up on stage in one of those bright costumes doing what we did... I'm happy with what I'm doing and trying to build a career of my own. To drop all that to go back seems a bit silly," Claire Richards in July.

"I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses," John Squire in 2009, insisting the band would never reform.

Musical influence

S Club 7

S Club 7 (pictured), 3SL and a thousand boy-girl X Factor groups who are driven to wearing fewer clothes and jerking their elbows ever more violently in order to get noticed.

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans

Oasis, The Charlatans (pictured) and a thousand Mancunian indie bands who have tried and failed to emulate The Stone Roses' imperious aura and musical impact.

Sources: BPI,, Digital Spy, Mail On Sunday, Washington Post, NME.

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