Why The Stone Roses used a lemon as a logo
The Stone Roses lemon symbol has a political story.
A track on their debut album, titled Bye Bye Badman, was about the Paris riots of May 1968. The disturbance saw students, then workers protest the then-current government, capitalism and other political causes. Strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations all took place, which saw the police react violently to the protesters. The movement inspired art, writing and even music, with John Lennon’s song Revolution being one track that summed up the mood.
Ian Brown and John Squire watched a documentary about the riots on TV on the 20th anniversary of the original events and the imagery inspired a song. Speaking to Q magazine in 2001, Brown claimed that he imagined the words “Choke me, smoke the air, in this citrus-sucking sunshine I don’t care” was being sung by a student protester to the face of an armed policeman.
Squire told Q magazine: “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.”
So the lemon is actually a symbol of protest and defiance, and form a direct link to the track Bye Bye Badman.