Virgin EMI managing director Clive Cawley has hailed The Stone Roses’ “fantastic” comeback as the band debuted its first hit single in 21 years.
All For One entered the charts at No.17 on Friday, selling 27,323 copies, according to the Official Charts Company. The track was a surprise release, debuting at radio and digital services at 8pm on May 12, with prior knowledge restricted to just a handful of executives. The legendary band announced a deal with Universal soon after they first reformed in 2011, although credits for All For One suggest the band owns the copyright for the new song.
Cawley said the decision to drop the single with little prior notice apart from a stealth poster campaign featuring the band’s trademark lemons came from a “joint conversation” with the band.
“They very much wanted it to be a ‘We’re back’ thing,” said Cawley. “They’ve got the new song for their gigs which is a nice touch for the fans. We were expecting a lot of buzz but I don’t know if we were fully expecting it to be as massive as it was.”
Cawley says sales of the single were strong across downloads (19,656 sales) and streaming (7,668), suggesting the band has successfully transitioned into the modern era, with a limited edition seven-inch vinyl single set to be released later for hardcore fans.
“We’re very pleased because we didn’t know what the appetite [would be] in the streaming world,” said Cawley. “Streaming is flying on it, but we’re also the most pre-ordered seven-inch single, which is important with a band like the Roses – you need a physical thing.”
The Stone Roses play four massive shows at the Etihad Stadium in their native Manchester next month (June 15-19), but Cawley played down expectations that a new album – their first since 1994’s Second Coming – will be arriving any time soon.
“There’s no sign of an album as of yet unfortunately,” he said. “But hopefully this is the start of them doing something good. Maybe, in this day and age [we should] end up just doing occasional singles into an album. I’d love to get more and more songs out of them but I’m not holding my breath. With one [song] after 21 years, by that work rate I think we’ll have an album in 2214!”
Meanwhile, the band’s 1989 self-titled debut recently sold its one millionth copy since 1994, the year the OCC system goes back to. It’s now sold 1,015,885 copies since then, with 26,671 sold in 2016.