“Mark my words…this band will be the biggest thing since The Beatles.” Unknown, 1994
It was a Saturday in 1994 when I strolled through the doors of my friend’s music store. I was eager to purchase a CD, just not quite sure what. Preferably something refreshing and new. My friend handed me OASIS, ‘Definitely Maybe’.
I asked, “What’s this?”. He lifted his eyebrows in a sly manner, chewed on his gum and replied, “The next big thing”. Fear of missing out, I eagerly handed over the cash, ran home, and loaded the CD into my TEAC Stereo.
Of course, I had the biggest, loudest speakers in the neighbourhood so it was no surprise that when the first track ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’ started playing, not only did the foundations in my bedroom start to shake, but an angry mother was very quick to break down my door and demand that I ‘turn it down!’
I knew from that moment on there was something special about this band. I was actually listening to something nobody had heard before. And I had this band all to myself. Or did I? Well, for a couple of months at least. I was able to introduce to my friends this great new band that I had found but my time was short-lived. Within two years OASIS became one of the biggest bands in the world and everyone knew who they were.
Now before we start I must confess that the bulk of my favourite songs from OASIS derive mainly from their first two albums, Definitely Maybe (1994), and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (1995). It would be remiss of me, however, to not have considered all seven studio albums (and various other compilations and live albums spanning across their 18-year career).
Let it be known, this was a painstakingly hard, meticulous exercise watching and listening to both studio and live performances as I embarked on the arduous process of trying to condense 18 years into 20 best songs. So, in the spirit of the Gallager brothers and the OASIS legacy, I suggest you mix yourself a gin & tonic and turn the volume on this playlist up to eleven!
20. Stand By Me (Be Here Now)
Stand By Me was the Stand out in my opinion from the third album Be Here Now.
Not the most well-received album from the die-hard fans but it is nice to hear Liam singing something other than “nah-nah-nah-nyah.”
19. Lyla (Don’t Believe the Truth)
The ‘annoyingly catchy’ first single from their sixth studio album reminds me a little of one of my favourite Australian bands, Even.
I am a fan of this sound and drummer Zak Starkey (The Who) adds a subtle layer of finesse to the song.
18. The Masterplan (The Masterplan)
Written and sung by Noel Gallagher the song was first released as a B-side to the CD version of their hit single ‘Wonderwall’ in October 1995. I can’t help but scratch my head as to why this song did not feature on one of their studio albums.
In my opinion, it was one of the best songs Noel has written and recorded. But I guess Noel ‘doesn’t write crap songs’ now does he?
17. The Shock Of Lightning (Dig Out Your Soul)
The final studio album had the band still experimenting with psychedelic rock. This had been going on from their previous last few albums, and to be honest, I had to dig deep into this album to find the gold.
That said, this is a solid track and will certainly get your foot tapping.
16. The Hindu Times (Heathen Chemistry)
The lead single from the band’s fifth studio album was well received by critics and fans alike. The song has an Indie rock feel to it which I like. I tossed a coin over this song and the track ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ which did remind me of their earlier masterpiece, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’.
I think what won me over, in the end, is the quirky sounding Hindu Guitar riff. This album was certainly not their best with many of the songs sounding like rehashes of the earlier stuff. However, in Noel’s defence, he does appear to have read a dictionary since coughing up a multitude of boring cliches and dull rhyming words on his previous two albums.
15. Go Let It Out (Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants)
The much anticipated fourth studio album promised a lot although in retrospect was very predictable. Beatles references galore. Not that I mind, in fact, this particular track could have easily been written by Lennon/McCartney.
However, it does provide a certain ambience while cutting the carrots in preparation for dinner. I recommend a vintage Shiraz for this track.
14. Whatever (Definitely Maybe)
Have I mentioned the Beatles yet? Ah yes. This track is very Beatle-ish. And that’s okay because this entire debut album is a bold statement to the band’s influences.
The album went on to sell 8 million copies worldwide. Need I say more?
13. Hello (What’s The Story Morning Glory?)
Big guitar sound, catchy chorus hooks. Not released as a single but could have been.
I am sure this song would have sounded even louder live.
12. Cast No Shadow (What’s The Story Morning Glory?)
What can I say? In 1995 peeps were going stir crazy for the band’s musical arrangements and vocal prowess of Liam Gallagher on this second studio album.
A well-written song with meaningful lyrics. The kind of song you want to whip the acoustic out and play along to.
11. She’s Electric (What’s The Story Morning Glory?)
I can’t help but feel I might have heard this song in a past life. Wait. What? Gallagher allegedly borrowed the chorus melody from the 1970s UK preschool tune ‘You and Me’.
Oh well… that happens and thank God for appropriation because this is a great track.
10. Slide Away (Definitely Maybe)
Raw and energetic. Liam and the band were at their creative best during the recording of this album.
I suspect they didn’t have much else to do other than to get on with each other and record a cranker debut album.
9. Where Did it All Go Wrong? (Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants)
They were standing on the shoulders of giants when they wrote this track. There is something about Noel that catches my attention when he is singing.
I just love the live acoustic version recorded on Jools Holland:
8. I’m A Rock N’ Roll Star (Definitely Maybe)
Can I please have your Gibson when you have finished with it, Noel? I am sure Johnny Marr would do the same for you.
And yes, you are a Rock N Roll Star!
7. Don’t Look Back In Anger (What’s The Story Morning Glory?)
But who doesn’t love this little ditty?
6. D’You Know What I Mean? (Be Here Now)
Released as the first single from their third album and achieving Platinum status, this song was a defining moment in their new experimental sounding direction. Some fans and critics would argue this was not a great album and OASIS had lost their way due to sibling rivalry and drug abuse.
Regardless, of all the punch-ups, overdubbed guitars, and sampling, the band did manage to get this one right. BTW, I just love the wha pedal, Noel.
5. (What’s the story) Morning Glory? (What’s The Story Morning Glory?)
“You need a little time to wake up”… uhuh.. yep. I agree. The Stone Roses would be proud of this one.
4. Wonderwall (What’s The Story Morning Glory?)
I heard someone say Finally. Anyway, here we are. Wonderwall number 4 for me. Probably the most overplayed song in history from every beer garden to wedding to pub to backyard barby. But who cares right?
So put your capo on the second fret and let’s sing with Liam… (cue drums and bass guitar please)…
“Backbeat, the word is on the street… that the fire in your heart is out…I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but you never really never had a doubt… I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now… And all the roads we have to walk are winding… And all the lights that lead you there are blinding…there are many things I’d like to say to you but I don’t know how..”
Wow! Is it just me or is this song pure genius? So enchanting and very well written. Every band needs an anthem and this is it.. Let’s sing the chorus…
”Said maybe… you’re going to be the one that saves me… and afterall… you’re my wonderwall…”
Noel does write great songs.
3. Live Forever (Definitely Maybe)
Noel Gallagher wrote this song in 1991 before he joined OASIS. The song was the third single and became an instant success entering the UK top ten immediately. Noel commented on the praise given to the song:
“People said to me after ‘Live Forever’ – ‘Where are you gonna go after that?’ And I was like, I don’t think it’s that good. I think it’s a f@#king good song, but I think I can do better.”
Gallagher states he wrote “Live Forever”, not as a direct retort to Nirvana (being a professed fan of the band), but rather as a contrast to the lives of Cobain and his band at that point, saying,
“Seems to me that here was a guy, (Cobain) who had everything, and was miserable about it. And we had F@#K-all, and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest thing ever, ’cause you didn’t know where you’d end up at night. And we didn’t have a pot to piss in, but it was f@#King great, man”.
A simple G–D–Am–C–D verse progression that will Live Forever on guitars all around the world. Certainly my favourite and Noel’s most memorable guitar solo to date.
2. Supersonic (Definitely Maybe)
As a reporter (Ruaridh MacLennan, 2007) asked Noel,
“What was it like walking into Earls Court for the first time?
“It was like…F@#king hell.. You know… like wow… Is anybody sure we are going to fill this (stadium)? Then somebody walked up and said, “this show… it just sold out.”
I think this conversation sets the scene for just how big the band really were. Right from the drumbeat to the very first lyric:
“I need to be myself…I can’t be no one else… I am feeling supersonic …. Give me gin and tonic…”
You know you are definitely maybe in good company. This live version really showcases the band’s raw sound and energy. All I can say is I had a Les Paul Gibson Washburn and I wanted to play just like Noel.
A shout out also to my good friend and local legend (musician), Tony ‘Hales’ Haley. Thanks mate, for bringing this song back to the surface and back into my life.
And just for you, Tony Haley recorded his cover version of Supersonic. Check it out:
1. Champagne Supernova (Definitely Maybe)
Okay, so you know how songs remind you of a certain place in time. Well, this song reminds me of when I was just 20 something. I used to work in a reputable five-star hotel on the Gold Coast. When we had finished our shift, myself and the other staff would wander up the stairs of our local watering hole (SleepWalkers).
Just inside the entrance, there was a jukebox and I would routinely insert 3 dollars and select 3 songs, one of which was this song. I knew peeps loved it cause we would all join in on the chorus…
“Someday you will find me… caught beneath the landslide… of a champagne supernova in the sky”.
So there you have it. A playlist of great tracks and great memories. My only regret is that I wish I could add OASIS’s version of Hey, Hey, My, My (Neil Young) but that wouldn’t be right. I would also like to mention one of my other favourite UK bands, The Smiths.
Noel will proudly tell you one of his biggest influences was The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Johnny literally played a key part in the band’s early development by mastering their debut album in his home studio. He also lent Noel one of his prized guitars. Hope Noel gave it back??
However, the story I like best is that Noel started out as a roadie and technician for the rock band Inspiral Carpets. He later of course became OASIS founder, member and now has a net worth of 70 million dollars. Literally from rags to Rock n’ Roll Star.
In a nutshell. Not only have I really enjoyed writing this post but I fully recommend you watch the live concert at WEMBLEY STADIUM 2000:
It will give you a sense of what this band was really about and the actual impact OASIS had on people. If I had as many adoring fans (I only need one, my wife), I too would most likely have been full of drunken bravado and arrogance.
Luckily, I am not a member of OASIS. I am just a fan. And I continue to learn their songs on guitar. Long live Rock N’ Roll!
Now…where’s my Bombay Sapphire?
PS. thanks to Rach for the challenge!
What is your favourite OASIS song? Let me know in the comments below. Or you can read the top 20 Metallica songs.
This little Minion, when not binge-ing on TV series, loves to fill in his time by moonlighting as a freelance blogger and writing the occasional opinion piece for his best friend Lace.