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Clashmusic Reviews Epic Oasis Album (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Of all the albums by all the British bands in the last three decades, it could be argued that none has had a bigger impact on the UK’s musical landscape than ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’.
First, the stats: it is an album that has shifted fourteen million copies worldwide; is the third biggest-selling LP in this country after Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’; it won Best British Album at the 1996 BRIT Awards; and it was named the BRITS’ album of the last thirty years in February this year.
The build up to the album’s release wasn’t without controversy. Drummer Tony McCarroll was sacked by the group after he’d laid down first single ‘Some Might Say’, with Noel claiming that he didn’t think McCarroll was up to the job. Enter Alan White stage right to pick up the sticks for this and the following three Oasis albums.
Recording took place in Rockfield Studios in South Wales, and sessions were fast and furious. The band were tearing through a song a day, but sadly Noel and Liam demonstrated their usual tempestuous relationship by tearing into each other over vocal duties.
With Noel having declared a desire to sing on ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Some Might Say’, relations between the brothers were fractious. The situation developed into fisticuffs after Liam brought a motley crew of support from the local pub back to the studio following Noel’s vocal take for the latter song.
Sessions were abandoned, with the group escaping back to London until Noel had cooled off. (Both songs eventually saw Liam on lead.)
With the tracks eventually laid down and a release date of October slated, everything was set for a smooth ride for the quintet. Until the release date of second single ‘Roll With It’ was announced, leading to one of the most well-documented rock disputes of all time in the Battle of Britpop as ‘Roll With It’ was pitted against the release of Blur’s ‘Country House’. The tabloids had a field day; sales for both singles went through the roof. And Blur pipped Oasis to the post to become Top Of The Pops.
Oasis have had the last laugh, however, with an album that has stood the test of time over ‘The Great Escape’ in polls across the board.
Opening with ‘Hello’, a squall of guitars that morphs into a stomping calling card utilising the familiar refrain from disgraced child botherer Gary Glitter’s ‘Hello, Hello I’m Back Again’, ‘Morning Glory’ is an album stuffed with anthems.
It epitomised the swagger and strut of Britain at the time - a country riding high on the culture of ‘Cool Britannia’. The sneer of debut ‘Definitely Maybe’ had been maintained, yet Noel’s songwriting had reached its zenith in the form of anthems like ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Morning Glory’.
The instrumentation was more mature, with the subtle implementation of strings and more obvious use of piano to add further depth to Noel’s more contemplative songs.
Oasis have often been accused of wearing their influences too heavily on their sleeves, and it’s true to say that some of the songs are shamelessly derivative - ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ is Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ re-imagined, while the lyrical stream of consciousness in ‘Champagne Supernova’ appears to give a hefty nod to some of the more fantastical Beatles lyrics.
However, these comparisons have faded into the ether as the album itself has stood the test of time, and the songs have become karaoke mainstays in their own right.
If only the brothers Gallagher could manage to take their own advice and not ‘Look Back in Anger’… Words by Laura Foster
Released: 2nd October 1995
Producers: Owen Morris and Noel Gallagher
Liam Gallagher - lead vocals
Noel Gallagher - lead guitar, vocals, piano
Paul Arthurs - rhythm guitar, piano
Paul McGuigan - bass
Alan White - drums, percussion
2. ‘Roll With It’
4. ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’
5. ‘Hey Now!’
6. ‘Untitled (AKA ‘The Swamp Song - Excerpt 1’)’
7. ‘Some Might Say’
8. ‘Cast No Shadow’
9. ‘She’s Electric’
10. ‘Morning Glory’
11. ‘Untitled (AKA ‘The Swamp Song - Excerpt 2’)’
12. ‘Champagne Supernova’
1995 In The News
- Robbie Williams quits Take That.
- O.J. Simpson is acquitted for the murder of his girlfriend and her lover.
- John Major quits as leader of the Conservatives only to be re-elected again.
Paul Weller - ‘Stanley Road’
Leftfield - ‘Leftism’
Massive Attack - ‘No Protection’
Supergrass - ‘I Should Coco’
Red Hot Chili Peppers - ‘One Hot Minute’