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The Stone Roses LP was recorded between June 1988 and Febuary 1989 by the Stone Roses with producer John Leckie. It was then released on the 13th of March 1989 on the Silvertone music label. The artwork for the album was inspired by American artist Jackson Pollock. The album was then released in the United States on the 2nd of May 1989, following a release in Australia in December that year. The album has since seen various re-releases, in September 1991, then in 1999 for the 10 year anniversary edition and just recently it was announced their would be a 20th anniversary edition also. It cemented the band's reputation among critics, even today, as one of the most important albums ever. In 2006, the writers of NME declared the album the greatest British album of all time.

As with most Stone Roses releases, the cover displays a work by John Squire. It is a Jackson Pollock-influenced piece titled "Bye Bye Badman," which makes reference to the May 1968 riots in Paris.

The cover was named by Q magazine as one of "The 100 Best Covers of All Time." In the accompanying article, Squire said: "Ian had met this French man when he was hitching around Europe, this bloke had been in the riots, and he told Ian how lemons had been used as an antidote to tear gas. Then there was the documentary—-a great shot at the start of a guy throwing stones at the police. I really liked his attitude." This story was also the inspiration for the lyrics to the song of the same name. The background of the piece is based on the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The band visited the causeway while playing a gig at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.

In 1989, the critical response was generally positive, and today the album is widely considered to be one of the very best British albums ever released. In 1997, it was named the 2nd greatest album of all time in a "Music of the Millennium" poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 29 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever." In 2008, it was named the 5th "greatest British album ever" by a Q magazine/HMV poll.

The music weekly NME initially gave the album 7 out of 10, but lavished praise on it in later years. In 2000, it received the "greatest album ever" award at the NME Premier Awards show, and in 2006, the album topped the magazine's "100 Greatest British Albums Ever" list. In summer 2009, NME released a special issue about the album's 20th anniversary, labelling it as "the greatest debut album ever."

In 2005, Spin magazine ranked it 78 on its list of the "100 greatest albums of the past twenty years." In the same year, when revising the "500 Greatest Albums" for book format, Rolling Stone included it as one of the eight new entries placing it at #497. In 2006, Time named it one of "The All-TIME 100 Albums." In 2003, Pitchfork Media named it the 39th best album of the 1980s.

Last.fm's tracklist is almost entirely wrong. The original UK release of the album is as follows:

1. I Wanna Be Adored - 4:52
2. She Bangs the Drums - 3:47
3. Waterfall - 4:41
4. Don't Stop - 5:21
5. Bye Bye Badman - 4:07
6. Elizabeth My Dear - 0:56
7. (Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister - 3:27
8. Made of Stone - 4:15
9. Shoot You Down - 4:14
10. This Is the One - 4:59
11. I Am the Resurrection - 8:14

The original US release of the album adds "Elephant Stone" (3:04) in between tracks 2 & 3 and "Fools Gold" (9:53) at the end of the album. A different 1991 UK release includes the same mix of "Elephant Stone" in between tracks 5 and 6, and a shortened single mix of "Fools Gold" (4:15) at the end of the album. A 10th anniversary releases uses the original UK track listing and features a bonus disc with the following four songs, plus an enhanced portion with bonus video content, a discography, lyrics, and a photo gallery:

1. Fools Gold - 9:53
2. What the World Is Waiting For - 3:55
3. Elephant Stone - 4:48
4. Where Angels Play - 4:15

A 20th anniversary reissue includes a disc containing early demos for the album, including the following tracks:

1. I Wanna Be Adored - 3:45
2. She Bangs the Drums - 3:49
3. Waterfall - 4:47
4. Bye Bye Badman - 4:08
5. Sugar Spun Sister - 3:32
6. Shoot You Down - 4:28
7. This Is the One - 4:03
8. I Am the Resurrection - 6:41
9. Elephant Stone - 3:16
10. Going Down - 2:42
11. Mersey Paradise - 2:50
12. Where Angels Play - 3:19
13. Something's Burning - 3:05
14. One Love - 6:23
15. Pearl Bastard - 3:43
20. Something's Burning (hidden track) - 3:39

Several editions have an additional bonus disc containing singles, B-sides, and various other outtakes from the era of the album (in particular, including the entirety of the band's rarities collection Turns into Stone, though in a different order):

1. Elephant Stone - 4:53
2. Full Fathom Five - 3:05
3. The Hardest Thing in the World - 2:44
4. Going Down - 2:48
5. Guernica - 4:23
6. Mersey Paradise - 2:46
7. Standing Here - 5:09
8. Simone - 4:25
9. Fools Gold - 9:55
10. What the World Is Waiting For - 3:51
11. One Love - 7:46
12. Something's Burning - 7:45
13. Where Angels Play - 4:14

Additional releases contain LPs of the album and bonus material, a USB flash drive, and various other items.

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