Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of classic Oasis album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and today continuing that celebration I’m looking at if there are there some Oasis B-sides better than the A-sides? We know for a period of time in the late 1990s Oasis were the biggest band on the planet. From their creation on a housing estate in Manchester in 1991 to their tumultuous break-up in 2009. They have sold over 75 million albums worldwide. They have also played all over the globe to millions of adoring fans.
The band released twenty-eight singles over their career, which means there were a healthy number of B-sides released as well. Oasis released The Masterplan B-side compilation album in 1998, but there are over a decade’s worth of musical gems to explore since that release. This begs the question: which B-sides were better than the A-side?
It’s no secret that Oasis had some absolute crackers as B-sides, so let’s run down the top ten that trumped their A-side counterparts.
10. Shout It Out Loud (2006)
This was released as the B-side to Stop Crying Your Heart Out, which was the second single taken from Heathen Chemistry in 2002. You may not have heard Shout It Out Loud before, but I’d seriously recommend you lend it your ears. Not only is it a beautiful slice of melancholy, but it was also written by bassist Andy Bell. That’s a very rare thing in camp Oasis. It’s a magical piece of music that sweeps over you like a warm duvet and delivers a chorus that will have you humming for days. It’s in stark contrast to its A-side counterpart which plunders and carves its way through your head like a blunt cheese-grater.
9. Those Swollen Hand Blues (2008)
This is perhaps the most ironic listing. That’s because Oasis were often labelled as a Beatles tribute band, but they never really sounded like the Beatles. Until they released this B-side. Accompanying Falling Down – which was the bands final release from Dig Out Your Soul – it could easily have been lifted from Magical Mystery Tour. It’s full of soft psychedelic melodies and keys, that is the opposite of its siblings quite forgetful and dreary offering. The double-irony was that it was the bands parting gift to their fans as they split not long after.
8. Pass Me Down the Wine (2006)
This acoustic gem was written by Liam and was the B-side to the bands 2005 single release, The Importance of Being Idle. I know this may cause some readers to throw their hands up in the air in disgust but have a close listen to this musical nugget.
Liam’s vocal melodies are spot-on – and an obvious hint at his future solo album – and the arrangements are perfect. Although the A-side made it to number one in the UK, it doesn’t have the beauty; panache or wistfulness of this Liam-penned ditty.
7. (You’ve Got) The Heart of a Star (2002)
Continuing the trend of superior B-sides is this magical slice of acoustic brilliance. This track accompanied Songbird from 2002’s Heathen Chemistry. Although Songbird is well known as the first Oasis song that Liam penned, the B-side has more substance and depth to it. With a haunting Noel-sung chorus that permeates into every pore, it’s a great song that should have made the album.
6.Full On (2006)
This absolute monster of a song was the B-side to Sunday Morning Call. Taken from 2000’s Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. It’s a true return to the classic stadium rock sound of Oasis that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Definitely Maybe. Featuring chugging riffs and an infectious chorus, it’s a step above Sunday Morning Call. The latter which sounds lacklustre and devoid of any excitement. The only thing that would take this B-side into the stratosphere was if Liam had sung it instead of Noel. Then it would have truly been a ball-breaker.
5. One Way Road (2006)
Taken as the B-side to Who Feels Love, this track is everything that its big brother isn’t. It has a chorus that will stay ringing in your ears for days. Lyrics that come straight from the heart, delivered with meaning and passion from Noel. It still has the guitar crunch to give it a sharp edge but without losing any of the underlying sensitivity that Who Feels Love lacks. This is a punchy song that deserves a lot more credit than it has. It certainly deserved a place on Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
4. D’yer Wanna Be a Spaceman (1994)
Now we get the top four and we’re really uncovering some stunning musical gems. D’yer Wanna Be a Spaceman was the B-side to Shakermaker; taken from the band’s debut album, Definitely Maybe. It’s a pure acoustic offering, sung by Noel, but it already shows the songwriting genius of the man. The lyrics showcase a youthful optimism and determination to break away from working-class life that Noel is so famous for. It also contains an energetic hook that’ll stay with you for days. It’s in stark contrast to Shakermaker that feels like it’s one hundred per cent album filler. It plods along not really knowing where it’s going and by the end, you’ve lost the will to live. The B-side is definitely (not maybe) the winner here.
3. Rockin’ Chair (1995)
This was the B-side to Roll with It which was the song that brought to a head the battle of Britpop with Blur in the UK in 1995. Although Roll with It has become an iconic song of that decade, Rockin’ Chair is certainly the superior song. Not only is Liam’s voice at the absolute best it’s ever sounded, but the arrangement and choruses on the track are also sublime.
Noel’s lyrics are also far more interesting and inspiring than its A-side brother. “I’m older than I wish to be, this town holds no more for me “just sums up Noel Gallagher as the voice of a generation. The track is also beautifully layered with a mix of electric and acoustic guitars with an added sprinkle of keys. It makes for a listen that is both exciting and melancholic. Don’t be fooled into thinking Roll with It is the better song, as Rockin’ Chair is an absolute gem.
2. Acquiesce (1995)
Now we are really hitting the gold standard of Oasis B-sides. Acquiesce was released in 1994 as the B-side to Some Might Say. Some Might Say was the A-side to this track and reached number one in the UK singles chart and the top ten across Europe with its rock ‘n’ roll swagger. Although that is some feat on its own, it’s the B-side that takes the glory. Acquiesce is a piece of pure songwriting brilliance. It kicks off with a guitar riff that will erupt any stadium. It then ploughs its way through to a chorus that is right at the top of Noel’s vocal range, but it pays off perfectly.
What is rare about this song is that it is sung by both the Gallagher brothers; Liam taking the verse duties and Noel hitting those choruses. It sounds like they are having a real-life vocal punch-up and the contrast between the two voices works better than you would expect. This is about as raw and exciting as it gets from the Gallagher brothers, and that’s not said in a flippant fashion. That’s’ not to say that Some Might Say is not a great song, as it is, but Acquiesce is up there as one of the greatest songs they have ever written. Just go and watch any live footage of them performing this song. It’s biblical.
1. The Masterplan (1995)
We’ve reached the end of our countdown of the Oasis B-sides that were better than their A-sides and it may be no surprise to see which is number one. The album of B-sides was released under this name because it’s a song of such magnitude that it deserves its own album. Ladies and gentlemen, the number one B-side is…The Masterplan.
Originally released as a B-side to Wonderwall in 1995, The Masterplan is often quoted by Noel as the greatest song he ever wrote. It’s hard to disagree with him. The former head of Creation Records Alan McGee even told him at the time that the song was too good to be a B-side. But Noel admits now that he was “young and stupid” when it was released.
The song itself could be described as an avalanche of aural pleasure. It builds slowly with a bed of acoustic guitar and strings, up towards a chorus of vocal interplay that is truly anthemic. Add in some brilliant guitar solos and varying degrees of strings, and you have a song that is quite possibly one of the greatest ever written. That’s not a facetious comment either as The Masterplan has everything you could want in a song. It has sublime arrangements; anthemic choruses; solos; strings and piano. It also has lyrics that are penned from one of the greatest songwriters of the past fifty years.
Yes, Wonderwall is a great song and synonymous with Oasis, but The Masterplan is the best song that Oasis ever wrote and it’s one of their B-sides. It’s a masterclass on how to write a perfectly crafted, epic, a monumental song that will go down in history as one of the greats.
And that’s our ranking of Oasis B-sides better than the A-sides. What do you think? Did we get the order wrong? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out more of our Oasis articles HERE.
9 Drummers That Became Lead Singers
It’s widely regarded that drummers are the most important members of a band. That’s what a drummer will tell you anyway. Sometimes though, they move from the drum stool to the front of the stage. Here are nine drummers that became lead singers.
9. Dave Grohl
The often labelled ‘nicest man in rock’ is the first on our list. Starting life as a drummer in hardcore bands he then joined Nirvana and changed music history. His drumming with them was solid, and perfectly complemented the chaos of Kurt Cobain’s manic guitars. You’d think the legacy he left with Nirvana would be enough. But after Kurt’s tragic suicide, he set up Foo Fighters and departed the drum stool for lead vocals and guitars. And what a fine job he does as the Foo’s are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. Imagine being that talented and nice. We’re not jealous. Ok, maybe a little.
8. Don Henley
Not content with being a founding member of one of America’s greatest bands, The Eagles, Don decided to go solo in 1980 after the band split. Ok, this one is a bit tenuous as Don shared vocal duties with fellow Eagle Glenn Frey, but bear with me. In 1980 he went out front into the bright lights of a solo artist and released a slew of cracking songs. Boys of Summer being his most well-known, and what a gem that was. It was a wise choice to leave those sticks behind.
7. Phil Collins
Perhaps one of the most famous names on our list, Phillip David Charles Collins started life behind the kit with prog-rockers Genesis. Although he did lead vocal duties whilst drumming after the departure of Peter Gabriel in 1976, it’s his solo career that really took off. Genesis had some big hits throughout the 80s with Collins’s drumming and singing. But the bigger hits came with his solo career from 1981 onwards. There’s no denying he has some great chops behind the kit, but his voice is as familiar as your favourite shoes. And so are his hits. ‘In the Air Tonight’ was his debut solo single. It doesn’t get much better than that.
6. Roger Taylor
The legendary Queen drummer is known for his ability to hit those falsetto notes on many a Queen hit throughout their career. But he also had a string of solo albums don’t you know? Since 1981 he has released five solo albums. His last being from 2013, so maybe there are more to come? He sang and played most of the instruments on the albums as well. That’s impressive. They are also pretty good albums too. Although he still performs behind the kit with Queen and Adam Lambert, he’s shown he can be centre stage as a lead singer.
5. Todd La Torre
If you’re not a fan of progressive metal, then this one may have passed you by. Todd La Torre is the current singer for the progressive metal band Queensryche. But it wasn’t always that way as he started off in his career behind the kit. Having started playing at fourteen, he spent the next twenty-four years playing in a variety of local original and cover bands. It was only in 2010 when he joined Florida-based metal band, Crimson Glory, as their lead singer. He then replaced Geoff Tate as the frontman of Queensryche in 2012, continuing to this day. Although he’s been at the front of the stage for twelve years, he says that he still feels like a drummer who likes to sing. You can take the drummer away from the kit, but he’ll always be a drummer.
4. Karen Carpenter
Although Karen sadly passed away at aged thirty-two, she managed to achieve a lot of success in such a short space of time. There had been various musical iterations with her brother Richard, but success came when they settled on The Carpenters. Karen was a very accomplished drummer and played live during the early years of the band. It was the success of her vocal abilities that ultimately took away from the kit and to the front of the stage. Not to mention the fact her small stature made it hard for fans to see her behind the kit on stage. If you want to be reminded of her drumming prowess, just have a look on YouTube. An incredible talent taken too soon.
3. Taylor Hawkins
Most famous for being the man behind the kit for the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins has recently gone to the front. I wonder where he got that idea from? He’s released solo efforts with his own band Coattail Riders, and more recently, The Birds of Satan. There’s no denying Hawkins’ love of Queen and Roger Taylor, and his solo albums reflect that. He has a rather good voice and is certainly a showman. That is obvious from his energy behind the kind. I guess the natural progression is to take that to the front. I’m sure Mr Grohl gave him plenty of advice about going solo.
2. Ringo Starr
Ok, so John Lennon once said that Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles, but that’s a bit unfair. Ringo was great at what he did, holding the beat and keeping that groove. Serving the song is one of the most important things a drummer can do. And Ringo did that perfectly. He’s also gone on to release an astounding sixteen solo albums. Yes, his vocal range is limited, but a discography that big is impressive. He also secured two back-to-back number one hits in the US. Go Ringo!
1. Levon Helm
Levon Helm was the drummer in the critically acclaimed American roots rock band The Band. They backed Bob Dylan in the 60s but went on to have success under their own name. An innovative and creative drummer, Levon also had a deeply soulful and country-tinged voice. He used that voice to good use with six solo albums through the ’70s, ’80s and 2000s. He won not one, but two Grammy awards for his albums and was also a film actor. Sadly, he died in 2012, but what a musical legacy he leaves behind.
That’s our list of nine drummers who became lead singers, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about seven underrated rock albums that defined the 2000’s HERE.
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