The main inspiration for this song was the artist Jackson Pollock's death in 1956 when he crashed into a tree while driving drunk. Pollock's classic "Splash Art" painting style was a big influence on the band's trademark visual style; they wore Jackson Pollock shirts along with their baggy clothes.
Stone Roses guitarist John Squire is an accomplished artist with a love of modern art. Squire's Jackson Pollock-esque paintings and designs have adorned all the band's albums and singles.
Pollock is also referred to in the B-side "Going Down" in the cryptic line, "Yeah, she look like a painting, Jackson Pollock's, Number 5." In November 2006, Pollock's "No. 5, 1948" became the world's most expensive painting, when it was sold for $140,000,000. The previous owner was film and music-producer David Geffen.
In 1989, when asked what this song was about, John Squire replied, "Making a wish and watching it happen, like scoring the winning goal in a cup final on a Harley electroglide dressed as Spiderman." Squire was probably taking more about the feel of the song rather than its actual lyrical content.
This was originally released in 1989 but only made #90. It was re-issued in 1990, this time making #20.
The Stone Roses made their first appearance on national British TV in September 1989 when they performed this song live on BBC's cultural show The Late Show. Famously, there was a power cut and Ian Brown walked off shouting "Amateurs!"