Love Spreads



Love spreads her arms
Waits there for the nails
I forgive you boy, I will prevail
Too much to take, some cross to bear
I'm hiding in the trees with a picnic
She's over there, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

She didn't scream
She didn't make a sound
I forgive you boy, but don't leave town
Coal black skin, naked in the rain
Hammer flash in the lightning
They're hurting her again

Let me put you in the picture
Let me show you what I mean
The Messiah is my sister
Ain't no king man, she's my queen

Let me put you in the picture
Let me show you what I mean
The Messiah is my sister
Ain't no king man, she's my queen

I had a dream, I've seen the light
Don't put it out, yeah she's alright
Yeah she's my sister

She didn't scream
She didn't make a sound
I forgive you boy, but don't leave town
Coal black skin, naked in the rain
Hammer flash in the lightning
They're hurting her again

Oh, oh, oh
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Let me put you in the picture
Let me show you what I mean
The Messiah is my sister
Ain't no king man, she's my queen (x8)

I had a dream, I've seen the light
Don't put it out, yeah she's alright
Yeah, she's my sister


Lyrics by:
Squire

Music by:
Squire

Written:
1992

Personnel:
John Squire (guitar)
Ian Brown (vocals)
Gary Mounfield (bass)
Alan Wren (drums, backing vocals)
Simon Dawson (Yamaha acoustic piano)
Nick (tambourine)

Producer:
Simon Dawson

Engineer:
Simon Dawson

Format:
Released November 1994:
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine (Geffen, GFS 84, 7" Jukebox release)
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine / Breakout (Geffen, GFSTD 84, CD)
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine (Geffen, GFSTD 84, cassette)
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine (Geffen, GFS 84, 7")
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine / Breakout / Groove Harder (Geffen, GFST 84, 12")
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine / Breakout (Geffen, GEFDM-21885, Australian CD in cardboard sleeve)
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine (Geffen, GEFCS-19210, Australian cassette)
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine / Breakout (Geffen, GED 21885, German CD)

Released December 1994:
Love Spreads / Your Star Will Shine / Breakout (Geffen, MVCG-13012, Japanese CD)

Released 2nd July 1995:
Love Spreads ('Version 2') (Geffen, No catalogue number, US promo video)

Released September 1995:
Help! LP (feat. specially recorded studio version of Love Spreads) (Go! Discs, 828 682-1, LP)
Help! CD (feat. specially recorded studio version of Love Spreads) (Go! Discs, 828 682-2, CD)

UK chart details:
Love Spreads entered the charts on 3rd December 1994, spending 8 weeks in the charts and reaching a highest position of 2.

Also available on:
Second Coming (5.46)
The Very Best Of The Stone Roses (5.48)

First live performance:
Oslo Rockefeller Music Hall (19th April 1995)

Artwork details:
The Love Spreads artwork is from 'Love Spreads' (1993).

Details:

 

 

"Grandbaby mescherschmidt blowing Church minds with converse overtime manoeuvres..."
The race and appearance of Jesus have been discussed on a number of grounds since early Christianity. The New Testament includes no description of the physical appearance of Jesus and its narrative is generally indifferent to racial appearances. For two millennia, a wide range of artistic depictions of Jesus have thus appeared, often influenced by cultural settings, political circumstances and theological contexts. Beyond being Jewish, there is no general scholarly agreement on the ethnicity of Jesus. The prevailing opinion among historians is that He was most likely a Galilean Jew, and thus would have features which resemble modern-day persons of Middle Eastern or Semitic descent. The question is complicated further by the Christian belief that His birth was a unique miracle, an incarnation in flesh of divine substance.
Top left: Madonna's blasphemous take on Catholic iconography in the 1989 'Like a Prayer' video made the skin colour of Jesus a topic of popular debate (although the figure Madonna prays to - and kisses - in the video was actually a black saint). On this theme, Suede were covering similar ground to The Stone Roses in 1994, with My Dark Star.
Top right: Mural painting from the Catacombs of Commodilla, Rome, late 4th century. This is one of the first bearded images of Christ; during the 4th century Jesus was beginning to be depicted as older and bearded, in contrast to earlier Christian representations, which usually showed a young and beardless Jesus.
Bottom left: 'The Shadow of Death' (1871) by William Holman Hunt (1827 - 1910), portraying a Middle Eastern Jesus. It depicts Jesus as a young man, prior to His ministry, working as a carpenter. He is shown stretching His arms after sawing wood. Positioned as with nimbus, the shadow of His outstretched arms falls on a wooden spar on which carpentry tools hang, creating a shadow of death, prefiguring the crucifixion. His mother Mary is depicted from behind, gazing up at the shadow, having been looking into a box in which She has stored gifts given by the Magi.
Bottom right: A mural depicting the baptism of Jesus, Cathédrale de Sainte Trinité, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Geffen A&R representative Tom Zutaut confidently announced to the press that Second Coming would be released in spring 1994 and that a single, Love Spreads, was being considered for a Valentine's Day release. Love Spreads eventually hit the shelves in November of that year, peaking at Number 2, the band's highest chart position. In conversation with Melody Maker in July 1997, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream rather over-excitedly hailed the single as "one of the greatest comeback records ever". Described by John Squire as a "hijacking of religion", Love Spreads was partly inspired by the Rosalind Miles book, 'The Women's History of the World', which examines the roles of women, and their representation, throughout history. The song has a strong Gnostic quality, in its presentation of a syzygy of Christ (The Messiah is my sister. Ain't no king man, she's my queen). The female divinity of Gnosticism is Sophia, of which Mary Magdalene is considered to be the embodiment. Gnosticism generally taught that the Earth was ruled over by a lesser 'god' called Yaldabaoth, also known as the Demiurge, after Plato (Gr. demiurgos - 'one who shapes'). The Demiurge was the head of the Archons, "petty rulers" and craftsmen of the physical world. But human bodies, although their matter is evil, contained within them a divine spark or pneuma that fell from the Source, or Nothingness from which all things came. Knowledge (gnosis) enables the divine spark to return to the Source whence it came. Gnosticism taught that from God emanated other Aeons, pairs of lesser beings in sequence. The Aeons together made up the Pleroma, or fullness, of God, and the lowest of these pairs were Jesus Christ and Sophia. In the Gnostic creation myth, Sophia sought the unknowable One. She saw a distant light (I had a dream, I've seen the light) which was in fact a mirror image, and thus drifted even farther away from the Pleroma. Sophia's fears and anguish of losing her life, just as she lost the light of the One, caused confusion and longing to return to it. Jesus returns and lets her see the light again (Don't put it out, yeah she's alright), bringing her knowledge of the spirit. As a footnote, though perhaps purely coincidental, the lyric I know sis', from Daybreak may have an intended duality: A gnosis. Speaking to a Canadian publication in 1998, Ian Brown stated that he and John Squire would "deliberately try to cover things up so they'd have hidden meanings."

Top: Fitting with the crucifixion theme of the song, Squire toys with the religious imagery of Palm Sunday in the U.S. Love Spreads video, by sitting on a donkey. Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus entered Jerusalem not as a warrior king arriving on horse, but on a lowly colt.
Bottom: In the U.K. Love Spreads video, as the main body of the song comes to a close, the sky is filled with darkness. "From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land." (Matthew 27: 45)

This dialogue from a Dave Simpson interview with The Stone Roses for Melody Maker (13th May 1995) features a succession of misjudged claims about Christianity:

 

 

Top: Geffen and MTV were unsatisfied with the quality of the first Love Spreads video, and so a second video was shot by Propaganda Films for American audiences in January 1995. In the U.S. version, the band perform on set in front of oil-well pumpjacks, not unlike the 'Rock the Casbah' video (middle), a Top Ten hit stateside for The Clash.
Bottom: Steve Hanft, director of the U.S. Love Spreads video, had directed Beck's breakthrough Loser video a year earlier. Beck makes a cameo appearance in the Love Spreads video, as a gold prospector who gets thrown out of the bar: "A friend of mine was directing it and I came down to visit. They had a shot where they needed someone sitting in the river with a big beard trying to pan for gold so I did that. I had to wear a three-foot long beard." (Beck speaking to Uncut magazine, October 2006). Beck once came top in a Select magazine '100 coolest people in rock' special, and the issue featured an interview with John Squire, about why he is deserving of the accolade.

Whole Lotta Love is a dominating influence here, from Squire's swampy riff to the guitar slide and fade out leading into the cymbal tap (just before the coda). This is Simon Dawson speaking to Sound On Sound magazine in May 1995 about the song's construction:

"I'm hiding in the trees with a picnic, she's over there." ... Does this lyric emanate from the Édouard Manet work (top), 'Le déjeuner sur l'herbe' (1862 - 63), in which a male figure picnicking among the trees, gestures towards a nude female ? Or is it in reference to Zacchaeus the Tax Collector (portrayed here in a work entitled 'Zacchaeus' by Niels Larsen Stevns), who climbed up a sycamore fig tree so that he might be able to see Jesus (Luke 19: 1 - 10) ? On this theme, Reni cleverly formulates an entirely new chorus by merging the lead words from each line of the verse: "Let me, let me show you, the Messiah." Brown's husky preacher vocals and Squire's liquid metal guitar dominate, but the key component in the song - like so many others in the Roses' canon - is Reni. Tight yet elastic, driving and cajoling, effortlessly powerful, his drumming drives the song forward from the back.

A feature of Mark's Gospel is Messianic Secrecy - Jesus often tells people not to reveal who He is, or what He has done. In Mark 1:39-43, Jesus heals a leper. In Mark 5:39-43, He raises Tabitha from the dead. In Mark 7:32-36, Jesus heals a deaf man. In Mark 8:20-26, he heals a blind man. In each of these four cases, Jesus enjoins the faithful not to speak of the miracle. After the Transfiguration, Jesus tells Peter, John and Andrew to say nothing of the event, in Mark 9:1-9. This shows the humility of Jesus and also His desire for faith and trust on the part of His followers as He desires that men believe in Him without visible miracles. Only progressively did Jesus reveal His Divinity (I forgive you boy, but don't leave town). In the Old Testament, the slain paschal lamb could not bleat. Our Lord in His Passion was led as a sheep to the slaughter; His skin taken from Him, He would not utter a sound. His silence redoubles the satanic rage of His executioners.

 

 

 

 

The influence of Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987) is evident in aspects of the first Love Spreads video. The scene where an infinite number of Love Spreads cherub logos are seen filling the screen (third row, left) has strong parallels with Warhol's '100 Campbell's Soup Cans' (1962, second row, left). The same visual image is replicated later in the video, except on this occasion, the logos are shown in a distorted black and white colour. This is a trademark of numerous Warhol works, for example, 'Marilyn Diptych' (1962, second row, right). Warhol explored the impact of cropped images taken out of a journalistic framework and re-presented in an alien context. He understood that America treated celebrities just as it treated products, as objects replicated for mass consumption. Here, he 'cheapens' a cultural icon by distorting the appearance of several Marilyns, thus sabotaging her uniqueness. A single image, screen printed over and over, evokes a row of magazine covers, the frames of a film, a stack of television screens. Warhol transposed the labels 'high culture' and 'popular culture', in an art of numb repetition that mimicked the production line. He takes the mundane, a Campbell's soup can, and lifts it to exhibition status in an art gallery, where it is considered to be 'high' art; at the same time, it is being reproduced in various mediums which have mass circulation. In a reversal of this process, Squire is taking a piece of 'high' art (the sculpture of a cherub from Newport) and mass-producing it in order to bring it into popular culture. A badge featuring this emblem (top left) was an item of merchandise during the Second Coming tour. Noel Gallagher can be seen wearing this on his Jonathan Ross show appearance with Ian Brown (10th September 2004, top right), to promote the release of Keep What Ya Got. On this note, Love Spreads clearly informs 'Better Man', from Oasis' 'Heathen Chemistry' album. Warhol took America's most familiar mass produced objects and re-presented them as art; A later artistic piece by Squire magnifies an iconic British food brand, HP Sauce. 'Ingredients 4' (2004), seen here in Squire's Manchester exhibition from May 2004 (third row, right), bears the strong influence of the art pop pioneer. This work displays the ingredients for HP Sauce on a two-by-three-metre canvas. Speaking to AnOther Magazine in 2011, Squire's analysis of his Celebrity artwork series uses Warholian vocabulary, identifying an intertwine between celebrity and death. Warhol was obsessed with these two concepts. In theory, they are in entirely different realms of existence: Death is concrete and eventually experienced by all humans, while Celebrity is the reserve of the elite. But in post-war America, Death began to take on the same mythical qualities of Celebrity, and Celebrity began to posses some of the finality of Death. Through the proliferation of mass media and cultural commodities in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Death and Celebrity began their unified trajectory to a plane of an all-American 'other' reality. Warhol's fascination with the two subjects generated some of his most striking work - the Death and Disaster series and the Celebrity silkscreens. It is not coincidental that these two Warhol series were created during the same time period, an era in which Death courted an immortality in Celebrity. The jump to a voyeuristic Warholian synergization of celebrity and death from a Ballardian base (The Atrocity Exhibition, Crash) would have been a very short one for Squire. Speaking to the Biased Broadcasting Corporation about his Celebrity series in June 2011, Squire wasted no time going into virtue signalling mode: "I also countered the inevitable male and American bias inherent in such a list with the selection of some British female characters, such as Alison Steadman, Tracey Emin, Keira Knightley and Vivienne Westwood." This is vapid gender contrariness in the name of liberty. Celebrity is hardly a male stomping ground. If anything, the celebrity-industrial-complex is a largely female domain (certainly in terms of audience and consumption; frankly, men don't give a damn). One need only look to Warhol's celebrity source material to refute Squire's claim (Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor...). From a broader perspective of celebrity (movies, media...), it would be more accurate to speak of the predominance of a male gaze. As John Berger observed, "Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at." (Ways of Seeing, 1972)
Bottom row: Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009) is perhaps another influence on the first Love Spreads video. Imagine a view from within the Wyeth painting, 'Winter, 1946' (bottom left) from on top of the hill. In the first Love Spreads video, Ian is filmed at a beach. He looks up at the person filming him, then jogs away from the camera for a few seconds. Filming ends at the exact moment at which he looks to his right, creating a freeze frame of the action. The UK Love Spreads video, directed by Mike Clark and The Stone Roses in November 1994, featured various Super 8 footage of the band. The 1513 Albrecht Dürer engraving, 'Knight, Death and the Devil', here becomes Chicken, Death and the Devil, with John in a chicken costume, Ian dressed as 'Death', and Mani stalking the territory in a devil outfit. Death (Ian) pulls the devil (Mani) in a handcart in a Bruegel-esque landscape. Interspersed within is Super 8 film of the band's excursions to various luxurious French resorts in 1991. It also features footage of jets recorded by Squire at an air show, the audio from which, would be layered into Begging You. Squire told Q magazine in February 2005 that there was "a reticence about coming back. Ian and Reni didn't want to be photographed. There was talk about not doing videos." These Super 8 films were a means by which the guitarist could nurse the band back into the daylight.

Love Spreads was used in a Red Cross commercial in America, and this exposure helped the song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (at number 55), the band's only single to have a presence on this chart in their entire career span. It features in a season 4 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ('Invisible Evidence') and in a season 5 episode of Entourage ('Return to Queens Boulevard').

 

Left: Love Spreads CD front cover.
Right: Love Spreads CD back cover.


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