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There was once a time when Oasis would put out a single every 3 months, a classic track backed with great B-sides, sometimes even better than its A-side. Who can forget the track listing of Cigarettes And Alcohol? Listen up, Fade Away and I Am The Walrus, you just wouldn’t dream of that happening today, not least with Oasis. 1994-1997 was a period when Noel Gallagher had the world in his hands. Anthem after anthem, there seemed to be no stopping him. You couldn’t avoid Oasis even if you tried, “What’s a Wonderwall anyway?” Fran Healy sang on Travis’ single ‘Writing To Reach You‘. Their songs had become part of the fabric in our society. As the title of their new single’s compilation rightfully suggests, Time Flies, and here we are celebrating their singles catalogue with a compilation that feels like the true marking of the end for Oasis.
Modfather Paul Weller to Design Clothes For Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green Label
Paul Weller is to team up with Liam Gallagher to design clothes for the former Oasis frontman's Pretty Green label.
Weller, who is set to finish his five-night residency at London's Royal Albert Hall tonight (May 28), has already been in touch with Gallagher about joining the clothing label, according to Prettygreen.com.
"I've got designs for suits, jackets, shoes - I've been talking to Liam about them," he explained. "It's the same principle as what he's [Gallagher] doing, really - stuff I'd wear myself."
Weller also revealed that he has been wearing a Pretty Green suit made especially for the gigs this week.
"Nick [Holland], Pretty Green's creative director measured me up and it turned out top," Weller enthused. "It's double-breasted, grey with a chalk stripe. Almost like a gangster suit, but with a little kick to the trousers."
Gallagher named Pretty Green after Weller's song of the same name, which was recorded by his first group The Jam.
The Faces will no longer wait for Rod Stewart to reunite, announcing on their website yesterday that three of the original members of the legendary British band — guitarist Ronnie Wood, drummer Kenney Jones and keyboardist Ian McLagan — will team up with Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall and Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.
The group is set to perform as the Faces at this year's Vintage at Goodwood festival in England on August 13th. "It's exciting to be on this path again and I hope that the Faces fans are excited as we are," Wood said in a statement. "I'm just really looking forward to seeing them this summer — bring it on!"
As Rolling Stone previously reported, the Faces, without Stewart but with Hucknall and former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, reunited in October 2009 to perform at London's Royal Albert Hall. (Wyman, who will be replaced by Matlock, filled in for Faces bassist Ronnie Lane, who passed away in 1997.) In 2008, a Faces reunion with Stewart nearly took place: the group rehearsed to see if they "still remember[ed] the songs." But Stewart quickly quashed reunion talk by saying there would be no Faces concerts in 2009 as he was busy with other commitments. After the Royal Albert Hall gig, Wood, Jones and McLagan all expressed a desire to keep the reunion going, with or without Stewart.
"The timing is just right, we can feel the excitement and we cannot wait to be back on stage playing to a live audience again," Jones said in a statement. "It's going to be lots of fun." In an interview with the BBC, Wood also revealed that the band is in talks to bring special guests out on stage, including Noel Gallagher, Slash and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson. "There's loads of people that have said, 'Please, let us sing with you.'" Wood said. The newly reunited crew is currently drawing up their schedule for a tour.
Noel Gallagher: Cigarettes & Alcohol is a Social Comment
Noel Gallagher has spoken about his love for early Oasis single 'Cigarettes & Alcohol', describing the track as a "social comment".
In a new video interview (above), Gallagher explains that the track, which is included on Oasis' new singles collection 'Time Flies... 1994-2009' (released June 14), is "a proper youth anthem".
He said: "Right up until the last gigs, that's when people go fucking apeshit, for that song. It mentions drugs and shagging birds, social comment, boozing and drinking and listening to tunes. You know, what more do you want?!"
Noel Gallagher recently explained the logic behind the 'Time Flies...' tracklisting, suggesting he wanted it to feel like a gig.
Noel Gallagher Beheads His Brother Liam in New Spartacus Fresco
A celebrity artist has created a modern-day version of a traditional Roman fresco, casting Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and the warring Gallagher brothers as gladiators.
Karslake’s new work depicting comtemporary heroes and villains shows the X-Factor judges fighting while Noel Gallagher beheads his Oasis bandmate Liam.
Geordie television presenters Ant and Dec watch and smirk from the sidelines as the carnage unfolds in the arena.
On the right of the 7ft by 5ft painting, actresses Joanna Lumley and Angelina Jolie pout while a surprisingly aggressive Rocket Man-era Elton John charges about wielding a shield and sword.
Karslake’s painting, unveiled at Camden Market, marks the launch of Bravo’s controversial TV show Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
At its centre is star of the show Andy Whitfield, who stands over two of his victims, one of them former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Welsh-born Whitfield is a man who epitomises courage both on and off-screen as he portrays the rebellious warrior slave Spartacus and in real life battles non-hodgkins lymphoma.
Describing his inspiration for the painting, Karslake said: “After watching several episodes of Spartacus, I was struck by how contemporary society holds just as much sex, violence and deception as it did in Roman times.
“We’re not arrogant, we just believe we’re the greatest band in the World.” (Noel Gallagher, 1995)
“The fact that we kept it together for so long is testament to our love of the music. It’s from the heart.” (Noel Gallagher, 2010)
Over the next couple of weeks Big Brother Recordings will be releasing a series of exclusive internet-only video interview clips with Noel Gallagher.
Speaking to veteran broadcaster Gary Crowley, Noel gives his take on writing and recording the tracks on the forthcoming singles collection 'Time Flies… 1994-2009', reminisces about career milestones such as the first time he heard Oasis on the radio, choosing the first Oasis single, fan and band favourites such as “lost single” 'Whatever' and much more.
There are a total of 23 clips featuring never-before-seen interview footage that will only be available to view online here at Oasisinet, the band's official YouTube channel and select partners. Each clip features Noel playing the raconteur and takes us on a charming, intimate and witty trip through the band's history.
Today also marks the start of a new competition over at the Oasis Facebook page. We've made up a quiz to test your knowledge about the band's history and the prize is a pretty special one. The fan who wins the competition will receive 'Time Flies... 1994-2009' album artwork, we'll frame it for you... and if that wasn't enough, we'll get the guys to sign it and personalise it to you! Check it out HERE!
Lord Noel Gallagher was on reliably mickey-taking form at the Ivors as he had a sly pop at Annie Lennox.
Eurythmics legend Annie presented Brit singer Imogen Heap with the International Achievement award.
And Annie used her time on the podium to say what a hard time female artists have in the male-dominated music industry. She said the most patronising question she was ever asked was about what it was like to be a woman in the rock world.
Later, former Oasis axeman Noel could not resist a dig at Annie as he presented Paul Weller with the Lifetime Achievement award.
He declared: "I am a man. A man in rock. People ask what it's like to be a man in rock and I say, 'It's aaaalllright'."
As previously reported, Oasis are releasing Time Flies…1994-2009, a lengthy compilation of their singles, on June 15. Legacy Recordings, which is handling the distribution of the set, issued a release detailing all the iterations of the set that can be purchased.
The set exists in three forms. The standard double-disc set will include 26 of the band’s U.K. singles plus U.S. hit “Champagne Supernova” (the U.K. edition will include all the proper singles, including “Sunday Morning Call” in place of “Supernova”). A four-disc edition will exist as an import, with the U.K. version of the set, a DVD of 38 promo videos and a bonus disc of the band’s final concert in 2009. Finally, the set will be released as a five-LP set with the U.K. track list intact.
Oasis – Time Flies 1994-2009 (Big Brother Records/Legacy)
Supersonic Roll with It Live Forever Wonderwall Stop Crying Your Heart Out Cigarettes & Alcohol Songbird Don’t Look Back in Anger The Hindu Times Stand by Me Lord Don’t Slow Me Down Shakermaker All Around the World
Disc 2 *
Champagne Supernova Some Might Say The Importance of Being Idle D’You Know What I Mean? Lyla Let There Be Love Go Let It Out Who Feels Love? Little by Little The Shock of the Lightning She is Love Whatever I’m Outta Time Falling Down
Disc 3 – DVD **
Supersonic Supersonic (U.S. Version) Shakermaker Live Forever Live Forever (U.S. Version) Cigarettes & Alcohol Whatever Some Might Say Roll with It Wonderwall Don’t Look Back in Anger D’You Know What I Mean? Stand by Me All Around the World Go Let It Out Who Feels Love? Sunday Morning Call The Hindu Times Stop Crying Your Heart Out Little by Little Songbird Lyla The Importance of Being Idle Let There Be Love Lord Don’t Slow Me Down The Shock of the Lightning I’m Outta Time Falling Down Rock ‘n’ Roll Star Morning Glory Champagne Supernova Acquiesce (Live) Don’t Go Away Where Did It All Go Wrong? Gas Panic! (Live) Little by Little (Live) The Masterplan Acquiesce
Disc 4 – Live from the iTunes Festival, The Roundhouse, London – 7/21/2009
Rock ‘n’ Roll Star Lyla The Shock of the Lightning Cigarettes & Alcohol Roll with It The Masterplan Songbird Slide Away Morning Glory Half the World Away I’m Outta Time Wonderwall Supersonic Live Forever Don’t Look Back in Anger Champagne Supernova
* U.K. version of Disc 2 omits Track 1 and adds “Sunday Morning Call” as Track 14. Japanese version adds “Don’t Go Away” to the end of Disc 2.
** Each video features audio commentary from Noel and Liam Gallagher
Disc 1 Tracks 1, 3, 6 and 12 from Definitely Maybe (Creation, 1994) Disc 2 Track 12 is a non-LP single (Creation, 1994) Disc 1 Tracks 2, 4 and 8 and Disc 2 Tracks 1-2 from (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Creation, 1995) Disc 1 Tracks 10 and 13 and Disc 2 Tracks 3 and 14 (Japan) from Be Here Now (Creation, 1997) Disc 2 Tracks 7, 8 and 14 (U.K. only) from Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (Big Brother, 2000) Disc 1 Tracks 5, 7 and 9 and Disc 2 Tracks 9 and 11 from Heathen Chemistry (Big Brother, 2002) Disc 2 Tracks 3, 5 and 6 from Don’t Believe the Truth (Big Brother, 2005) Disc 1 Track 11 is a non-LP single (Big Brother, 2007) Disc 2 Tracks 10, 13 and 14 from Dig Out Your Soul (Big Brother, 2008)
Liam Gallagher Interviewed by The Guardian in Cannes
Liam Gallagher was speaking to the Guardian at the Cannes film festival about why he had chosen not to use the Beatles in the soundtrack saying, "We're gonna do it -- my new band's going to do the soundtrack. We can recreate that sound like that, you know what I mean? I think it will be more exciting if you have a sound that reminds you of that era, instead of the obvious, going, 'Oh, there's 'Let It Be.'"
Here's Bizarre lord Noel Gallagher as you have never seen him before - in a picture made from breadcrumbs.
Artist Lennie Payne came up with the technique after earning cult status for doing portraits by blow-torching toast.
Lennie has used the breadcrumb technique for portraits of Ian Brown and Howard Marks as part of a new deal with donnelly24.com, who are hosting an exhibition tomorrow at the Maverik Showroom in London's Shoreditch.
Liam Gallagher: The Beatles Aren't Goint To Be In This Film
Liam Gallagher jets into Cannes in his new guise as a movie mogul. He's got the smoky shades and the Superfly gait. His leather coat is buttoned to the throat and he lopes across the beachfront terrace wearing a pair of fluffy, leopard-print loafers he might have plucked from a pensioner's feet. The press aren't sure what to make of him. "He's become a caricature," one whispers to me. "He should be in a Mike Leigh film."
It's unlikely Gallagher will act in a Mike Leigh film – he says his favourite recent movie is Avatar. Instead, the Oasis frontman has teamed up with Revolution Films to adapt The Longest Cocktail Party, the 1972 memoir by Richard Di Lello, an American teen who became the "house hippie" at Apple records; the story views the Beatles' break-up from the wings. "The Beatles aren't going to be in this film," cautions Gallagher. "There's gonna be no one auditioning for John, Paul, George and Ringo. And there'll be no wigs." I see a foreign journalist duly note this down: no wigs.
Apple, explains producer Andrew Eaton, was ahead of its time: a multimedia enterprise that branched into film, fashion and retail, before collapsing at the start of the 1970s. "But I like that," Gallagher says. "I like the failure, the sadness of something being so great. It's life – shit happens. You've got to pick the good bits and mix them with the sad bits, or the horrendous bits."
This project, he adds, is a one-off. The film business is just like the music business, full of people talking bullshit: he can't be taking it from two sides at once. "I'm doing this one thing and then that's it, I'm back on the dole. I'm not gonna be doing films about whales or unkempt eyebrows."
The reporter drags me aside. "Did he say whales or Wales?" he asks, notebook at the ready. It could conceivably be either. The singer has gone and he leaves us with a mystery. Whales or Wales? We stare blankly out to sea, pondering the profound implications of the film Liam Gallagher will never make.
Liam Gallagher has begun publicising his upcoming film project about The Beatles.
The former Oasis singer was joined by wife Nicole Appleton as they posed for pictures at the Cannes Film Festival today (May 14).
Gallagher is set to produce the as yet untitled movie, which will be based on a 1972 book which details the Liverpool band’s final years.
Richard DiLello's exposé, The Longest Cocktail Party, reveals all about his time at the Beatles' record company, Apple.
A cast or director have yet to be confirmed for the project. The movie is not expected to arrive until at least 2011.
Gallagher is also currently working on his debut solo album and has previously said he is planning to tour in the autumn.
source & photo gigwise.com
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Liam Gallagher has said the film he was producing about the Beatles' Apple Corps would not herald the start of a movie-making career.
The former Oasis singer's new production company, In 1, is set to make a biopic based on Richard DiLello's memoir The Longest Cocktail Party, which charts the "wild rise and fall" of the record company at the end of the 1960s.
But, speaking in Cannes alongside Andrew Eaton of Revolution Films, who will collaborate on the project, Liam said: "I'm not going into films, this is the last thing for me. I mean I'm not going to get sucked into that. I'm going to do this one thing because I like it, and I've got the opportunity to do it, and Andrew's going to make it happen, and that's it."
DiLello worked as the resident "House Hippie" at Apple, which signed artists such as James Taylor, Mary Hopkin and Badfinger, from 1968 to 1970.
Eaton said: "It was a brilliant time, there were a great bunch of people working around the Beatles, and inspired by the Beatles, they were working in one office all together.
"They kind of changed the world, because they were doing multi-media stuff, they were doing films, they were doing records, years before everyone else was - so we want to capture some of that."
Liam said the memoir had held "biblical" meaning for his former Oasis bandmates.
And asked if he was likely to put in an appearance on screen, Liam joked: "I'm too good looking."
Paul Weller will release the second single from his acclaimed tenth solo studio album ‘Wake Up The Nation‘ on June 14th.
The single will be a double A-side consisting of ‘Find The Torch, Burn the Plans‘ and ‘Aim High‘ and will be released digitally as well as on both CD and vinyl formats.
Speaking about the two tracks which make up the double A-side, Weller described ‘Find The Torch, Burn The Plans‘ as similar to the album’s title track, and also explained the writing process behind ‘Aim High‘:
Liam Gallagher 'Evades Iceland Volcano Ash Cloud By Boat
Liam Gallagher was caught up in the recent travel disruption caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland, it has emerged.
The former Oasis singer and his family, including wife Nicole Appleton, were left stranded in America after transatlantic flights were cancelled due to the ash cloud.
But Gallagher was able to navigate his way back to Britain by taking to the seas instead.
According to Travel Weekly, the singer and his family joined guests on the recently launched six-star cruise ship, Silver Spirit, on a journey from New York.
The website stated: “Reports from the ship suggest the celebrity family enjoyed their time on board and there was none of the more disruptive behaviour Gallagher became known for during the Oasis heydays of the 1990s.”
The ash cloud, which is still causing widespread disruption to flight travel, affected a host of bands last month, including Metallica and The Cribs.
To celebrate the launch of Rock Your Shades a one day event on Friday 14 May where people across the country will wear sunglasses and raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, we are auctioning off a cool pair of sunglasses, each signed by one of the star studded line up at this year’s Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.
The sunglasses were donated by the manufacturer, and all proceeds from this auction will go directly to Teenage Cancer Trust.
Bid for brand new Aviator Ray Ban sunglasses signed by Noel Gallagher and other rock stars by clicking on banner below:
Noel Gallagher, supported Teenage Cancer Trust and played at its annual concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2010.
Liam Gallagher's Film Production Company 'In 1 Productions' Confirms Beatles Film
Liam Gallagher’s In1Productions to develop, and produce, a feature film about The Beatles' Apple Corps
THE LONGEST COCKTAIL PARTY
May 7 2010: Liam Gallagher’s newly formed film Production Company In 1 Productions has confirmed that they will develop and produce a feature film about the rollercoaster ride that was The Beatles’ Apple Corps, adapted from the book by Richard DiLello – THE LONGEST COCKTAIL PARTY.
This will be a film with humour and affection providing an insider’s look at what it meant to be a young man caught up in the wild swirl of the music business, celebrities and the tail end of the swinging sixties' in London.
In 1 Productions will collaborate in the development and production of the film with Andrew Eaton’s Revolution Films, one of the UK's most successful and respected independent film companies.
Liam Gallagher is bringing his idols The Beatles back together on the big screen in a movie that will explore the ‘stoned’ years that led to the band’s demise.
The former Oasis frontman is developing a film, set between 1967 and 1970, based on an insider’s view of the circus-like atmosphere at the Savile Row headquarters of The Beatles’ record company, Apple.
Liam has the screen rights to Richard DiLello’s memoir of his years as Apple’s ‘house hippy’, where his job included working in the company’s press office.
DiLel lo’s highly personal account, The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider’s Diary Of The Beatles, Their Million Dollar Apple Empire And Its Wild Rise And Fall, published in 1972, details the comings and goings of Paul McCar tney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and their wives, girlfriends and hangers on.
It gives DiLello’s take on the personal and business problems that were to drive The Beatles apart.
His book recounts ‘stoned conversations’ and hilarious observations of the Apple office’s open bar and ‘other accommodations ’ with regards to recreational activities on offer.
The movie would feature actors portraying the Fab Four and cover the years when rock ’n’ roll was moving from its cool, ‘let it be’ vibe to the point where it was controlled by soulless multinational corporations.
Liam is developing a film based on an insider's view of the atmosphere at the Savile Row headquarters of The Beatles' record company, Apple
And that is how the music industry has remained - though Liam and his brother Noel, in their Oasis heyday, certainly knew how to emulate the crazy, heady early era when rock really rolled.
Liam and his partners at Revolution Films will officially launch the project during the Cannes Film Festival next week.
They are still looking for a screenwriter and director. Then comes the task of casting actors to portray The Beatles, their families and associates, though that won’t begin until there’s a completed screenplay at the the task of casting actors to portray The Beatles, their families and associates, though that won’t begin until there’s a completed screenplay at the end of this year, or possibly early next year.
The Longest Cocktail Party also features tales of various other artists on the Apple roster, including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Doris Troy, Badfinger and Billy Preston.
Both Gallagher brothers are fans of the book. Noel has praised it, using language that is too colourful to repeat in a family newspaper.
With the two siblings at each others’ throats, I can only wonder at the behind-the-scenes wrangling over the rights. I can see Liam digging out his soul on this movie. If it all comes together, it’s going to be a scorcher.
Noel Gallagher Will Be Voting For Man City Player at General Elections
Former Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher has claimed that he will be voting for a Manchester City player at the General Election.
When Labour won power in 1997's historic general election, they did so with the full backing of Oasis. At the BRIT Awards ceremony the year before Noel Gallagher declared from the stage that only six people were working to make Britain a better place: the members of Oasis and Labour leader Tony Blair.
Shaking hands with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, the meeting became one of the defining moments of 'Cool Britannia'. However in a new interview Noel Gallagher has insisted that he cannot bring himself to vote for anyone at the General Election.
Speaking in a video interview with the FA, Noel Gallagher claimed that he will not be voting Labour. "Me and the missus were talking about it because we've got to vote this week,” the songwriter joked.
"She was going, 'Who are you voting for?' and I said, 'I'm not voting for anyone'."
"I'm just going to take my voting card and I'm going to put in massive letters 'Tevez is God' and throw it in the polling station. I'm voting Tevez."
Carlos Tevez is the former Manchester United striker who has become a star at rivals Manchester City. Noel Gallagher's lifelong team, the striker has helped push City up the Premiership table this term.
On a more serious note, Noel Gallagher recalled the euphoria which swept the nation after Labour got into power in 1997. "When the Labour Party got in it was all about children and education and yet 10 years down the line there's people saying that kids are better off in Poland," he said.
The General Election is tomorrow (May 6th). Don't forget to vote - your opinion is vital!
Mick Jagger Feels Oasis Did Not Connect Enough with Crowds
Mick Jagger has criticised Oasis for not always connecting with their audience at gigs.
The Rolling Stones legend - famous for his enthusiastic dancing when on stage - told the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio he felt Oasis were known for not moving on stage, but they needed to connect with the crowd in other ways.
Jagger said: "Well that's what they do, they don't move - that doesn't mean to say they don't connect - they do connect sometimes, sometimes they're not always good ways."
He went on: "What was that famous story when they were in New York and they didn't think the New York audience was loud enough, and they said something like 'You're rubbish' or something, 'New York, you're a load of c**p' or something like that - which is not what you do anywhere really, especially in New York."
The 66-year-old singer was full of praise for the Kings Of Leon, who he said he felt had learned to connect well with their audience when on stage.
Jagger said: "The Kings Of Leon at the beginning, they didn't really do that successfully, but everyone has to do it in the end because otherwise it becomes kind of embarrassing, being in a room when you're not really connecting.
"But now they play arenas and they're really good and they're much more forthcoming. They still have their shy moments, but they seem to have cut down."
The Gallaghers dominate the top three spots in Xfm’s annual countdown.
You voted in your thousands, the Xfm DJs stuck in their oar, and we counted down the Best British Songs of all time yesterday. Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’ scooped the top spot, with ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and ‘Wonderwall’ claiming the second and third spots respectively.
A Manc clean-sweep of the top 5 also saw Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ reach number 4 and The Stone Roses’ ‘I Am The Resurrection’ hitting number 5.
Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis has revealed Oasis turned him down when he offered the chance to headline last year's event.
The Glastonbury Festival founder revealed the group - who split in August last year when Noel Gallagher left the band following a series of rows with his brother, singer Liam Gallagher- were asked to headline last year's event, but turned him down in favour of playing the double-venued V festival, when they famously cancelled the second of their headlining slots at the last minute.
Michael said: "They've all fallen out now. I offered them a chance last year but they didn't take it. So they did their own shows... and then they all bust up. To give them the opportunity to come back... they shot themselves in the foot Oasis last year didn't they? They should have taken me up on my offer. No-one's ever cancelled on me!"
Michael also revealed that singer Kylie Minogue - who pulled out of a headline spot after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 - will not be invited back to perform at the world-famous event.
He told BANG Showbiz: "Kylie Minogue was going to do it years ago, but then she was ill, we're over Kylie. We've all moved onto different things!"
Michael claims this year's festival - held in Somerset for three days at the end of June - which will be headlined by Stevie Wonder, U2 and Muse, will be a bigger success than ever.
He said: "It's going to be huge, well it's so big isn't it. We've got loads of new bands, like Vampire Weekend. We've got loads of stuff. It's really a fantastic line-up and it's not just the headliners either."
Fifteen years ago this summer, two of Britain’s most popular bands engaged in a battle to capture the hearts and the critical plaudits of the nation. Blur and Oasis decided to go head-to-head by releasing their latest singles, “Country House” and “Roll With It” respectively, on the same date. It was a marketing masterstroke, provoking coverage on the national television news, and luring the public into a debate of no little vigour, which is the symptom of a healthy popular culture.
The great chart showdown teased the imagination on a number of levels. There was a pleasing bipolarity to the affair. The fey, southern English college-boy pop of Blur against the raucous northern blasts of Oasis. Artful experimentation versus back-to-basics. Cute irony pitched against a primal scream.
Attempts were made to recall the golden age of British pop music: this was the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones all over again. Unlike the mutually respectful protagonists of that conflict, however, the frontmen of Blur and Oasis really did seem to hate each other, which made perfect sense for our ever-coarsening times, and great copy.
By the end of the summer, Blur were perceived as having won the battle – “Country House” outsold “Roll With It” – but lost the war: Oasis’s subsequent album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was universally adored, becoming one of the biggest selling British albums of all time and capturing the so-called Britpop moment with its arrogant swagger. It also managed to conquer the US market, the sine qua non of rock superstardom.
Critics, jaded by years of anodyne dance music and electro beats, generally enthused over the triumph of Oasis, overlooking the group’s execrable lyrics and blatantly derivative riffs. The simpleton je-m’en-foutisme of the Gallagher brothers further excited the nation over the next couple of years. Liam Gallagher made a string of ever more outrageous endorsements of the joys of drug-taking; Noel Gallagher found himself in Downing Street, chatting to a new prime minister in thrall to his atavistic charms.
It seems a long time ago. The new prime minister came and went, and the idea that the simultaneous release of two competing singles by “real” bands could provoke a national debate seems quaint. Manufactured pop stars – indeed the very manufacturing of them – are what capture the headlines now. The process has been deemed more thrilling than the end result. Manipulative and trite, the 2010 pop scene is a travesty of a healthy popular culture.
And what of Blur and Oasis? What does our distant perspective tell us of their skirmishes of 15 years ago?
Oasis never relived their moment in the sun. Subsequent albums became repetitive and tired. The band ran out of guitar riffs. The lyrics didn’t get any better. Their bellicose protagonists turned their ire towards each other, playing out their sibling rivalry in the tabloids. At the time of writing, they are not talking to each other. Liam Gallagher has a new group influenced, he says, by T Rex and David Bowie. Oh dear.
As for Blur, they retreated from the battle of the bands and made a series of increasingly complex, brooding works. Their front man, Damon Albarn, branched out. He recorded an album in Mali. He formed a virtual rock band, Gorillaz. And then he set about writing a Chinese circus opera that would be performed at the Royal Opera House. The band recently reformed, to great acclaim.
So there we have it: Blur were the band that moved with the times, while Oasis became imprisoned in theirs. Albarn responded to the world’s cultural changes to become arguably the most interesting British musician of the millennium’s first decade; the Gallagher brothers are still playing Punch and Judy. And yet ask anyone to pick out the soundtrack of those hot summers of the mid-1990s, and they will surely recall those surging Oasis singles. They possessed the quality that pop music confers better than any other art form: the reckless joy of being young and carefree.
Who, finally, won the war? A report by PRS for Music, the royalty-collection society, last year concluded that Oasis had received far more airplay over the years than their rivals. But that is a crude indicator. Truth is, it was never a war at all; more a tribute to the versatility of British culture, which has always managed to reconcile high thinking and low thrashing, lyricism and loutishness, pretensions to everlasting significance with cheerful evanescence.
Forget the battle of the bands: the Blur versus Oasis moment was at least one in which pop music seemed to matter. That in itself is cause for nostalgia, because if we do have a new prime minister this time next week, the pop charts will be far from his mind as he assembles the guest list for his first Downing Street party, and it will be all the poorer for it