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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
10th Anniversary of "Be Here Now"
Be Here Now - was it really so bad?
The next issue of Q, onsale 1st May, celebrates the 10th anniversary of Oasis' controversial third album, Be Here Now. Hailed as a masterpiece upon its 1997 release, its reputation swiftly deteriorated. Today it's usually dismissed as a disastrous, overblown folly - the moment when Oasis, their judgement clouded by drugs and blanket adulation, ran aground on their own sky-high self-belief. Noel Gallagher himself remembers is as "the sound of five men in the studio, on coke, not giving a fuck."
Our cover feature, in which we both reappraise the album and explore the remarkable events surrounding its recording, recounts a tumultuous tale of loathing and excess. This is how producer Owen Morris remembers the sessions: "The only reason anyone was there was the money. Noel had decided Liam was a shit singer. Liam had decided he hated Noel's songs. So on we went. Massive amounts of drugs. Big fights. Bad vibes. Shit recordings."
But was Be Here Now really all that bad? We came across this footage of Noel Gallagher performing Don't Go Away on an obscure Japanese TV show in 1997. Stripped of the dense layers of distorted guitars that cluttered the album version, it emerges as a heartfelt, affecting ballad - easily the equal of, say, Slide Away, or Cast No Shadow. OK, the lyrics are excruciating, but that hardly makes it unique in the Oasis canon.
Whatever you think of the song, the clip is worth watching for Noel's visible embarrassment at performing the song in such bizarre circumstances, surrounded by baffled studio guests and backed by cheesy video footage. Of course, the original version was sung by Noel's brother Liam. Are we alone in thinking Noel actually delivers it with more soul and sensitivity?
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