Oasis

TrackSingle / Album
SupersonicDefinitely Maybe
The MasterplanWonderwall B-side
Alive (demo)Shakermaker B-side
D'Yer Wanna Be A SpacemanShakermaker B-side
Bring It On DownDefinitely Maybe
Fade AwayCigarettes and Alcohol B-side
One Way RoadWho Feels Love B-side
Round Are WayWonderwall B-side
Those Swollen Hand BluesFalling Down B-side
To Be SomeoneFire and Skill: The Songs Of The Jam

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Contributor: Ash Wheeler

Sometime towards the back end of 1994, I heard a piece of music which changed my life forever. I was only 11 years old. Before that fateful day I spent a lot of time listening to my dad’s music collection, which consisted mainly of Bowie, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc. Then everything was changed by a song called Supersonic. I still have very clear memories of hearing my first taste of Oasis; listening to the radio in my bedroom (Atlantic 252 LW), and then out of nowhere, “I need to be myself, I can be no one else”. That was it – hook, line and sinker – Oasis had me.

Pocket money was saved, Definitely Maybe was bought. And still to this day I believe Definitely Maybe to be the greatest album ever recorded, ‘Some Might Say’ I’m misguided (can you see what I did there) but that’s not important. As I grew in to my teenage years anthems such as Live Forever, Don’t Look Back In Anger and Champagne Supernova, to name a few, became fond drinking friends. Even though in the early half of the new millennium the quality of the music dropped in places, I still loved every last note that came out of my stereo (apart from Little James, from the album Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants). In the latter half of the 00s, Oasis were once again at their best, a different kind of best than the 1994-1997 best. Their last album Dig Out Your Soul is my 3rd favourite album behind (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. And then it all came crashing down in 2009, in a hail of plum throwing and guitar smashing. Out of the ashes came other greatness, but that is a story for another time.

I was introduced to other bands through songs that Oasis covered, such as The Jam and The Smiths. To say Noel Gallagher has had an influence on my music taste would be a massive understatement.

So here I am, 20 years later, trying to figure out what 10 songs I’m going to pick for Toppermost. I would imagine if you asked me to do this again next week there would be some changes. I’m going to try and stay away from the hits and maybe introduce you guys to some B-sides you may not be aware of. So here we go. I’ll keep it short, let the music do the talking.

Now I said i was going to stay away from the hits, but considering Supersonic was the start of this journey I could hardly leave it out. The story goes that Oasis were recording Bring It On Down as their first single, but it wasn’t working out. After a jamming session, Supersonic was written and recorded in the studio that very same day, and became their debut single peaking at No.31, but it went on to outsell their 2002 No.1, The Hindu Times.

The Masterplan should have been a single, as many of those early B-sides could of been. Noel Gallagher has even admitted that he regrets not releasing it as a single. It did come out as a double A-side on the 2006 Stop The Clocks EP though.

Noel Gallagher has said that Alive is a terrible song. I couldn’t disagree more, there’s such a raw sound to it. I love the opening bass riff.

D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman is a catchy little acoustic number about looking back at the dreams you had as a kid.

An all out rocker, I read somewhere that Bring It On Down was an attempt at sounding like the Sex Pistols. Although it’s a great song, Supersonic was definitely the better choice for the debut single.

Fade Away is another head stomper, although Noel does a fantastic stripped down acoustic version which can be found on his live album, The Dreams We Have As Children, which is only available digitally.

Very interesting lyrics on the next choice, “like a one man band clapping in the pouring rain”. One Way Road is from the Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants era. This was a strange time for Oasis. The band were on a comedown from the success and excesses of the 90s, and two of the original members of the band left during the recording of the album. Taking that into consideration along with the lyrics to this song, it makes you wonder where Noel’s head was at the time. One Way Road was also recorded by Paul Weller for his covers album, Studio 150.

Round Are Way is a proper feel good tune. Sounds great in a beer garden with the sun shining. You may be thinking I’ve misspelt the title but I haven’t, some people from Manchester pronounce ‘our’ as ‘are’. For those that don’t know, minging means gross or ugly.

Those Swollen Hand Blues. To me, the lyrics make me think of the frustration of learning to play the guitar. No idea if it is about playing the guitar though, strange but great.

For the tenth in this toppermost I’ve gone for a cover because I believe this is one of the few occasions where the cover is better than the original. To Be Someone was recorded as part of a tribute to the work of The Jam and I highly recommend the album, Fire and Skill. Liam does a great cover of Carnation too.

So there you go, I could have easily made this a top 25. I think this list proves there’s far more to Oasis than just Wonderwall. A lot of Oasis B-sides are better than the singles. How some of them ended up as B-sides is beyond me.

The official Oasis website and fan community

The official Noel Gallagher website

Oasis biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #197

16 Comments

  1. Keith Shackleton
    Feb 14, 2014

    WHAT? No ‘Acquiesce’? 😉

    • Ash Wheeler
      Feb 14, 2014

      Yeah I know, it was a difficult choice. On another day Acquiesce would have been there.

      • Keith Shackleton
        Feb 14, 2014

        It’s tough, I know. I’d have to have Acquiesce and Whatever though. Good spot re: Dig Out Your Soul, I think that’s a very decent and underrated record.

        • Ash Wheeler
          Feb 14, 2014

          I do wonder how good the next album after Dig Out Your Soul could have been given the strength of that album and what both Noel and Liam have produced since.

  2. Ian Ashleigh
    Feb 14, 2014

    Many thanks Ash for your insights into Oasis. Was the band’s name spelt in capitals at the beginning or is that my aging memory? I do have a few of their albums and would put a bid in for Hello with its unashamed ‘borrowing’ from Slade and Gary Glitter. Sean Rowley is the guy walking away from the camera on the cover of What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

    You have inspired me to visit my own early teens and revisit the aforementioned Slade for a topper ten. Unless anyone objects or has beaten me to it.

    (No sooner the word than you’re listed and enlisted for Slade, Ian. Bit of a queue at the mo as you know but we look forward … Ed.)

    • Ash Wheeler
      Feb 14, 2014

      I think it may have always been in lower case but to be honest I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed. Look forward to the Slade topper ten.

  3. David Lewis
    Feb 14, 2014

    Oasis was the first band in which I saw the trick… Beatles redos… Had I been 2 years younger, I mightn’t have seen it. It didn’t mean I thought them a bad band. Far from it. Gallagher’s arrogance (I wrote a hit single, and it was easy) was always going to wear with the fans, but it was honest. Good list. Well done.

    • Ash Wheeler
      Feb 14, 2014

      I think Oasis pushed the Beatles comparison thing more than anyone else did. I don’t think there are many tracks where I would say they are totally Beatles-ish, but I definitely understand why people make the connection. I love the Gallaghers arrogance, “we are the best band on the planet, that’s not arrogance that’s just a fact” … classic.
      Cheers.

  4. Peter Viney
    Feb 15, 2014

    Wouldn’t you say that the Beatles thing is rather a Lennon thing? It’s a vocal styling to me. My Oasis story is a tangent. We were on holiday at a hotel in Majorca, and everyone was excited because Liam had one of the villas next to (but owned by) the hotel. We were on the beach and my wife was reading a Douglas Coupland novel which has a long list of 20th century icons. Look at this she said, and as I saw the name Liam Gallagher in the list, I looked up and he was staggering along the beach with two minders and he was holding a can of lager. He gobbed on the ground, missing her foot by about three inches. Given the appearance of the minders, I decided not to remonstrate. Very rock star, I guess.

    I think Noel was 99.9% the talent.

    • Ash Wheeler
      Feb 17, 2014

      Without a doubt Noel was the main talent. All you have to do is look at how well he has done compared to Beady Eye since the split. But I don’t think Oasis would have been as big without Liam, his voice is unique.

      • Peter Viney
        Feb 17, 2014

        Yes, I overstated the balance … Liam had a voice Noel could write things for. Incidentally, to finish my story, we went to see Douglas Coupland talk on synchronicity about a year later, and we told him about the read about Liam in the book / look up / see Liam in person tale. As he said, that’s exactly what he’d been talking about.

  5. David Lewis
    Feb 15, 2014

    Of course they’re not just Beatles. Peter’s Lennon comparison is, as always, apt. But they were a bit of Kinks, a bit of the Who, a touch of the Jam, just a touch of early Costello. You could see all of them. I venture to suggest synthesisers rather than originators?

  6. Glenn Smith
    Feb 16, 2014

    Noel is the last of the great skint Northern bedsit songwriters. A stutterer who suffered at the hands of a violent dad, he found the Fabs, Weller, Johnny Marr and Burt Bacharach at the right time, in the right place. When he was a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets he listened to all the Beatles tunes through the sound desk and worked out what they were doing: then he checks out Marr’s work and he’s off. From the moment he put on the capo for Strawberry Fields he knew how to write, G-sharp minor has never had such a workout. Listen to If I Had A Gun on the solo record, then Dont’ Look Back, Wonderwall and then Fields, brilliant. And David Lewis is right about The Kinks too, The Importance Of Being Idle and Death Of You And Me are pure Ray Davies. Time for a toppermost on Noel.

    • Ash Wheeler
      Feb 17, 2014

      I might look at doing one for Noel at some point.

  7. Calvin Rydbom
    Feb 16, 2014

    Hmmmm, perhaps a re-evaluation time for me. Peter mentioned how the Kinks were perceived in the UK after my piece on them and in a way Oasis is the reverse. Looking at their chart success in the UK surprised me quite a bit as I had no idea they were scoring No 1 singles there, while here in the U.S. those same singles werent even breaking the top 100 and No 1 Albums weren’t getting into the top 20. Actually, looking at some charts results, a compilation album (Time Flies) went No 1 in the UK in 2010 and peaked at 131st here in the US.

    So in my mind Oasis was such a minor band who had a flash of success 1995-1996. Probably an interesting topic why a band/artist can be huge in one english speaking country and a minor act in another. You could throw Canada in the conversation as well. I’m guessing it’s more management and business decisions than taste, but still it’s odd as Oasis is hardly an anomaly as this sort of situation goes.

    Regardless, I’ll give them another listen.

    • Ash Wheeler
      Feb 17, 2014

      I think the biggest problem is that every time Oasis went to America, they always seemed to mess it up during the tour. I suppose there is only so many gigs that can be cancelled before people lose interest.

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