Breaking Into Heaven

I've been casing your joint for the best years of my life*
Like the look of your stuff - outta sight
When I'm hungry and when I'm cold
When I'm having it rough or just getting old

Listen up sweet child of mine
Have I got news for you
Nobody leaves this place alive
They'll die here join the queue

Better man the barricades
I'm coming in tonight
Had a line of my dust - yeah - outta sight
When I wander and when I roam
I'll find a soul I can trust, I'm coming home**

Listen up sweet child of mine
Have I got news for you
Nobody leaves this place alive
They'll die here join the queue
Sing it

I - I'm gonna break right into heaven
I can't wait anymore

Heaven's gates won't hold me
I'll saw those suckers down
Laughing loud at your locks when they hit the ground
Every icon in every town
Hear this, your number's up, I'm coming round

Listen up sweet child of mine
Have I got news for you
Nobody leaves this place alive
They'll die and join the queue
Sing it

I - I'm, I'm gonna break right into heaven
I can't wait anymore

How many times will I have to tell you
You don't have to wait to die
You can have it all
Any time you want it
Yeah the kingdom's all inside

Lyrics by:

Music by:


John Squire (guitar)
Ian Brown (vocals)
Gary Mounfield (bass)
Alan Wren (drums, backing vocals)
Brown & Wren (recording of running water)

Simon Dawson & Paul Schroeder.

Simon Dawson & Paul Schroeder. Intro recorded by John Leckie.

Available on:
Second Coming (11.21)
The Very Best Of The Stone Roses (7.01)
Crimson Tonight Live EP: Daybreak (8:38) / Breaking Into Heaven (7:03) / Driving South (4:50) / Tightrope (4:39) (September 1995, Geffen, catalogue number of Japanese release: MVCG-13029)

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



"Backbeat, the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out..."
Top: Grunge had been and gone and The Stone Roses now returned to a flourishing Britpop scene. The band had helped lay the foundations for Britpop, but their blues-inflected rock comeback LP sat uncomfortably in a laddish, hedonistic scene. The Stone Roses distanced themselves further from the Britpop movement by criticising many of its leading lights. "I had no interest at all in any of the music of Britpop", Ian recalled, speaking to The Guardian in June 2010. In conversation with Dave Simpson in February 1998, Ian recalled his main influences in the late 80s: "I was listening to Prince Far I, loads of black music. There was this tune called 'War on the Bullshit' by Osiris, which I used to play all the time, along with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Hendrix and Love's Forever Changes." Reggae ('Til Shiloh by Buju Banton) and hip-hop (Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G.) dominated Ian's playlist in 1994 / 95 and, upon the release of Second Coming, the singer was heavily critical of bands such as Suede for trying to bring music back to the '70s Glam era. The Stone Roses themselves were in no position to criticize, given that their own 1994 offering was seemingly trying to bring music back to about 1971.
Second row: "'cause the years are falling by like the rain...". As The Stone Roses retreated into the shadows, who would fill their shoes ? The Rain (forming an Oasis) would drift on by.... Shown here are Ian and Mani near Bury Rehearsal Studios, in 1993. Much had changed in the period that The Stone Roses were away from the limelight, not least, Ian's adoption of the 'Darth Vader' coiffure.
Bottom: "So Sally can wait, she knows it's too late as we're walking on by...". Oasis' June 1994 debut appearance on Top Of The Pops was the moment that The Stone Roses sat up and took notice of their Mancunian protégés. The Gallaghers had been recording Definitely Maybe at nearby Monnow Valley, and proudly proclaiming in the music press that they were the Roses' spiritual offspring. "We all watched it," John Squire later recalled to Q magazine in February 2005. "I didn't think the tune [Shakermaker] was that great, but they just looked right. It was like archive footage of a great '60s band you'd never got round to hearing."

The Stone Roses eventually managed to extricate themselves from their Silvertone contract and signed to Geffen Records in May 1991. In December 1994, more than five years after their debut LP, the band released their follow-up LP, Second Coming. Written mostly by John Squire, the music now had a dark, heavy blues rock sound, primarily influenced by Led Zeppelin. Overall, the album was considered to have fallen well short of the standard set by their iconic debut: "The hype was so great that we were never going to be able to fulfil it. Everyone wanted Electric Ladyland and Sgt Pepper rolled into one." (Mani speaking to Mojo magazine, Autumn 2001). During their absence, The Stone Roses had left a gap in the British music scene and they returned to find it filled by a new wave of eager Britpop bands. The Stone Roses, along with The Smiths, The Jam, The Kinks and The Beatles, were hailed as founding fathers of this new scene. Having a tendency to speak well of their history and low of their peers, The Stone Roses were generally positive about Oasis, but held most of the scene in contempt; "Oasis are real, not like Blur or any of those other Kensington art school tossers", Mani commented to the NME in March 1995. Several challengers for their crown had emerged during those five years and The Stone Roses were now stepping back into the ring. The band's longest ever track, this soaring opener to Second Coming has sights set on storming heaven and reaching the empyrean beyond.

Breaking Into Heaven was written by John over a 'Paid in Full' beat. An original lyric in the song was "I'm gonna leave this life alive, I'll die here join the queue" before being altered to "Nobody leaves this place alive, they'll die here join the queue". The first of those two is from the Christmas 1993 Schroeder mix of the song, and thus the lyric must have been changed at some point during 1994. If you listen carefully to 1.24 - 1.42, you can hear a tape player playing a snippet of Breaking Into Heaven being swung in front of a mic, giving the listener a taste of what is to come. The snippet played is the earlier mix of the song (at the lyric, "I'm gonna leave this life alive..."). A Jungian individuation is crystallized with a strong Gnostic emphasis ("...Yeah the kingdom's all inside") on Christ's message in 'The Coming of the Kingdom of God':

Something greater than the temple is here. Where Jesus Christ is, there is the kingdom, because where the Son dwells, the Father and the Spirit are fully present. Of the 122 times the phrase "Kingdom of God" appears in the New Testament, 99 are in the Synoptics, and 90 of the 99 are predicated of Jesus. In performative speech, this is God's final self-revelation, His salvation breaking into human history. "Kingdom of God" has three dimensions: 1. Christological 2. Mystical 3. Ecclesiastical. 1. A veiled, self-reflexive Christological term alluding to the king, God's holy pavilion among men. Jesus is the enshrinement of the Kingdom, in whom the fullness of divinity dwells. In Him, God Himself is present among them; He is God's living presence, power and rule in person. Origen called Jesus the autobasileia, that is, the Kingdom in person. Not only is the Kingdom present in Him, but the Kingdom shows up when He acts - if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons then the divine ruling has come upon you. Through Jesus' presence and action, God is actively present in our midst, working His will on earth as in heaven. In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by "kingship" (abstract noun), "kingdom" (concrete noun) or "reign" (action noun). 2. The Kingdom of God resides in the heart of man; In the list of the Beatitudes, the very first reward spoken of is the kingdom of heaven. Origen wrote of this radical interiority, "those who pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God pray without any doubt for the Kingdom of God that they contain in themselves, and they pray that this kingdom might bear fruit and attain its fullness." 3. An externalization, where the Church is the Kingdom present in mystery, the embodiment of the Kingdom. The Body of Christ is the body of the king. The Kingdom of God has real presence in the here and now, in and through His Mystical Body, the Church. Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia. This is the theatre of redemption. The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. The secular and utopian vision of the Kingdom, a divinization of self, pushes God not merely to the periphery, but off the stage entirely. The religion of God made man is here replaced by a religion of man made God. The message here is one of vital immanence, the divine within. In this storming of the gates of heaven, the kingdom is there for the taking in the here and now.

With echoes of the opening title track of Can's 1973 LP, 'Future Days', numerous portable DAT recordings can be identified in the intro here: baby crocodiles; giant otters (that live mostly in and along the Amazon River and in the Pantanal) at 1.56; jungle excerpts; a recording of running water taken by Ian and Reni from a little stream near the studio; over the top of this are dubs, recorded by John Leckie before the Roses came to Rockfield. On Second Coming, Leckie had recording sessions with The Stone Roses at Ewloe (25th March - 22nd April 1992; 6th July - 13th August 1992) and Marple (1st June - 30th June 1993), before quitting on 27th July 1993, just as the band were due to begin recording at Rockfield. He recorded 8 songs with the band: 1. Breaking Into Heaven, 2. Drivin' South, 3. Beggin' You, 4. Ten Storey Love Song, 5. Love Spreads, 6. Tightrope, 7. Severed Head, 8. Tears. Tracks 5 - 8 were attempted at Marple and Rockfield with a basic line up of guitar, bass and drums and guide vocals. Some percussion was overdubbed on tracks 5, 6 and 7 and various versions were recorded of each of these latter four songs. Leckie's Breaking Into Heaven (10.00) from Ewloe (1st sessions) opens with a 4:30 collage of sound FX, wild electric guitar and assorted percussion broken up by bursts of heavy drum loop. The song was unfinished when Leckie left, although the bass, vocal, main guitar, piano, effects, introduction and arrangement were all usable. The slave reel was made at Parr Street Studios (21st June 1993).

Track Sheet:

1. Bird FX
2. Bird FX (2)
3. Crickets FX
4. Jungles FX
5. Zulu Warriors
6. Drone (1)
7. Drone (2)
8. Gtr Echoplex (1)
9. Gtr Echoplex (2)
10. Gtr Echoplex (3) high
11. Percussion (1)
12. Percussion (2)
13. Congas
14. Drum Loop
15. Drum Loop (2) Heavy
16. Bass
17. Drums
18. Drums double track
19. Guitar (1)
20. Guitar (2)
21. Vocal
22. Vocal double track
23. Piano

Producer Simon Dawson said that they wanted the intro to sound like a boat trip along the Amazon River. The first five minutes of the song sets the scene for the battle between God and his challenger; the end to the intro portrays the journey reaching a climactic, unavoidable end, with the repetitive noise conjuring up the image of a waterfall. It is a relief when Mani's bass dive-bombs in like an attack helicopter, locks into a groove with Reni's snare and the song proper begins. Brown huskily rambles some clichés while Squire dementedly solos into oblivion. Ian's hushed ominous growl signals the beginning of a battle which will take seven minutes to decide. The flashes of guitar heard in the intro can be interpreted as the challenger 'warming up' for the contest, and the back to back pyrotechnic guitar solos and swaggering riffs constitute its critical stages.



Top: John Squire was rather obsessively viewing Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now circa Second Coming (a Spin article from May 1995 finds the guitarist watching it "for the 15th time"), and its mood pervades the LP. Noel Gallagher was soon to also heavily reference this film as a guiding snapshot for (What's The Story) Morning Glory ?, in a November 1995 Select feature (the opening of Morning Glory samples from the film).
Second and third rows: In a May 2011 Clash magazine feature, John Leckie reveals that the tribal drumming in the song's intro was recorded from the film, Zulu (1964). This historical war epic depicted the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. Leckie and the band were congregated around the studio TV on Easter Monday, 1992 in Clwyd, and became engrossed in the Boer War saga. "It was that Sixties war film set in South Africa, with Michael Caine. And we were really getting off on the music," Leckie recalls. "It was the Zulu war dance thing, and we said, 'Hey, we should use that !'" Leckie got to work on recording the tribal drum pattern directly from the TV with a microphone. "That was the drumbeat that comes in and fades up in the introduction. No one has ever said it, but that's exactly what happened. The drums and the atmosphere are an epic thing from an epic film. We'd use anything that inspired us."
Fourth row (left): The Amazon River. The intro of Breaking Into Heaven would make a fine soundtrack to the end of the 1972 Werner Herzog film, 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God'. The megalomaniac, Lope de Aguirre, leads a group of conquistadores down the Amazon River, in search of a lost city of gold, El Dorado. The characters become more and more mentally unstable as they go deeper into the jungle.
Fourth row (right): 'Future Days' (1973) by Can.
Fifth row (left): 'Appetite for Destruction' (1987) by Guns N' Roses. Upon hearing about the new rock direction of The Stone Roses, Geffen executives would have been hopeful of another 'Appetite for Destruction', and Squire duly delivers his own 'Welcome to the Jungle' with Breaking Into Heaven. "Listen up sweet child of mine" alludes to the biggest hit from that LP, the band's signature song, 'Sweet Child O' Mine.' Guns N' Roses manager Doug Goldstein was keen to manage The Stone Roses during the Second Coming era but nothing materialized from their meeting. Following the departure of John Squire, Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash offered to play guitar for The Stone Roses through Goldstein. In June 2006, Brown expressed regret that he had not given the offer more consideration: "I wish we'd taken him on, but at the time we were like, 'No, we hate Guns N' Roses, fuck off ! Is he going to bring his python with him ?' and all that. But now I think it would have been amazing." (Ian Brown speaking to Uncut magazine, June 2006). This epic intro to Second Coming witnessed The Stone Roses fully shedding the vestiges of their indie roots; they were now - much to the dismay of some of their fanbase - in territory that one would associate more with Guns N' Roses or Def Leppard ('Gods Of War').
Fifth row (right): 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' by U2.
Bottom: 'D'You Know What I Mean ?', the opening track of the woefully bloated 'Be Here Now' LP (August 1997), owes much to Breaking Into Heaven. The Tower of Babel of the Britpop era, this was Oasis' 'cocaine LP' and - to an even stronger degree than Second Coming - suffered greatly from over-indulgence on the part of its author. Tellingly, no tracks from the album made it on to the band's retrospective compilation, 'Stop the Clocks.' With limitless studio time and money at their disposal, the band piled guitars on top of guitars without a hint of melody or subtlety. This trundling LP is viewed by many as the beginning of the end for the Britpop movement, although this, of course, is open to interpretation; one critic notably wrote that 'Britpop died when Gareth Southgate missed his penalty in the Euro '96 football tournament in the summer of 1996', given the sport and Britpop's simultaneous appeal to many onlookers. Oasis would, in the main, continue to ply their trade in loud, uncomplicated rock 'n' roll, while rivals Blur - and so too Pulp - were to take a turn into darker, leftfield music.

Breaking Into Heaven's influence is strongly evident on 'D'You Know What I Mean ?' by Oasis, and the intro of U2's 'All Because Of You', from their 2004 album, 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'. 'Press Play', the instrumental opener to 'Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop' (1996) by Stone Temple Pilots also has traces of Breaking Into Heaven.

* On Stone Roses reunion shows, Ian would deliver this line as "I've been kissing your face for the best years of my life".
** At this time, Ian was putting some of John's lyrics through a solarization process, as he explained to Kirsten Borchardt in 1998:

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