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What’s The Story 25 Years Later. Still Morning Glory For Oasis?

Mike Peters

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Oasis what's the story morning glory image
Creation Records

Let me say right off the bat, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? is is a cultural landmark. Not because of what it is necessarily, but because of what it represents. Today the Oasis album celebrates 25 years.

Setting the scene

When it was released, it received some pretty sniffy reviews. All based on it’s perceived inferiority to the predecessor, Definitely Maybe. Critics complained of “banal lyrics” and the album being “generic classic rock”. Nonetheless, it marks a time of change in attitude here in the UK. Emerging from a period of economic recession and into a new era under New Labour. Premier League football was an exciting new ball game. Before it became the all-conquering financial juggernaut of today. Also, we were in thrall to some brilliant TV – Shooting Stars, Father Ted and The Fast Show to name a few.

It’s when the dominance of American rock bands was on the wane after the rawness & introspection of the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam & Soundgarden. So it reminds us here of a time of resurgence for British music, renewed and full of fun, attitude & innocence.

25 years ago Oasis were the standard-bearers for a lot of that fun, attitude & innocence. Without question, they were a conduit for people to rediscover some of the great British bands of the 60’s, which is no bad thing.

The Gallagher brothers overtly oozed bravado & attitude in a way none of their contemporaries did. The likes of Jarvis Cocker & Brett Anderson wore their coolness in a more understated way. Most importantly, Noel had the ability to write some fantastic pop songs.

Cultural impact

To me, Oasis are so special that the day ‘Be Here Now’ came out was also the day of my school results. I was more concerned with getting to the shop that morning to buy the new album than I was about getting to school to get my grades.

25 years ago the Oasis classic (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was the first album I learnt word for word. It was because of the entire Britpop scene and BBC Radio playing Oasis, Blur, Pulp et al every morning, that I decided that my career of choice was in radio. 25 years on, having spent the vast majority of that period as a professional radio presenter & DJ, I still love it.

But, has the intervening 25 years changed our perspective of the songs on the album. Let’s revisit and rank them to see which ones truly provide the ‘Glory’ in 2020?

11. Hey Now

Probably the only song on the album that you could genuinely argue is filler.

Hey Now is a plodding, MOR tune. It’s overly long at nearly 6 minutes which is a sign of things to come on the much maligned (unfairly in my opinion) Be Here Now. And more so what is undoubtedly the low point of Oasis’ canon, Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants.

It’s not a bad song by any means but is nowhere near the quality of the rest of the album.

10. Swamp Song

This is only at No.10 because they didn’t put the whole song on the album. In fact, it’s not even named on the sleeve.

The full version was only deemed good enough for the magnificent collection of B-Sides that was The Masterplan. It also featured on the Wonderwall single.

If the full version had been included, this would definitely have been one of the best tracks on the album.

It’s synonymous with the iconic gigs at Manchester City’s Maine Road in April 1996, with the new Kippax stand looming over a band at the peak of their powers.

These concerts were documented in the ‘There & Then’ concert video. It included a live version of The Swamp Song, that they opened with each night, on the accompanying CD.

The Swamp Song is also something that Blur & Oasis have in common as Blur released a song with the same name on ‘13’.

9. Hello

This is a really strong album opener. But the mists of time have made the use of a Gary Glitter sample highly unfortunate. The connotations of that refrain are deeply uncomfortable, which undercuts what is a great marker to indicate how good the rest of the album is. I’m sure that in the much-desired event of an Oasis reunion that the lyrics for this would sit atop The Swamp Song beautifully if they chose to include it in their set.

8. Roll With It

Enshrined in pop music folklore as the song that went toe-to-toe with Blur’s ‘Country House’ in the UK, and lost. In the Teutonic battle to be Britpop’s supposed kings by getting to No.1 in August of 1995, but other than that, what is memorable about Roll With It? Not a lot really.

Noel Gallagher himself even said the song was “sh*t” in an interview with Dermot O’Leary last year. It’s not a song that’s aged well, and after the initial riff, it kind of bumbles along.

Looking back on that battle for the chart top spot now, it’s pretty easy to see why Blur won it. Not least because of the superior video, which featured a Shooting Stars-era Matt Lucas & Keith Allen, amongst others. That said, Blur may have won the battle but, by their own admission, lost the Britpop war to the bolshy Mancunians.

7. Don’t Look Back in Anger

I know this is won’t be popular but Don’t Look Back In Anger is a blatant pastiche of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.

By the standard of the rest of Noel Gallagher’s songwriting canon, there are many songs that are far better musically than this one.

Don’t misunderstand, I love singing along to this as much as anyone. I’ve lost count of the number of DJ gigs I’ve finished by playing this. But it’s now so firmly established as almost the default Oasis song to play, it almost borders on cliche. In short, overkill & overuse has ruined this song after 25 years.

6. Morning Glory

The start of the final 3-song salvo of the album, as it flows into the reprise of The Swamp Song & on into Champagne Supernova.

Those last 3 songs complement each other beautifully and the title track stands alone. Just as Oasis letting rip in a way they didn’t really do elsewhere on the album.

Thanks to some class guitar work from Bonehead and some thunderous drumming from the then newly hired Alan White. This is Oasis at one of their more visceral moments. Producer Owen Morris helped the elements meld together to create an absolute belter of a tune.

5. She’s Electric

It’s a guitar-pop classic, an unashamedly catchy & uplifting tune that, despite only being an album track in the UK, it’s an Oasis song I can comfortably play at gigs without any risk of quizzical looks from punters asking “What the hell is this?”. In fact, you can almost see the relief on their faces when I don’t pay Wonderwall or Don’t Look Back In Anger.

4. Some Might Say

The bridge between ‘Definitely Maybe’ and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. It’s the only track on the album that original drummer Tony McCaroll played on.

It’s the song that retains the raw energy of Oasis’ debut album, yet shows the development of Noel’s songwriting.

It was their first UK No.1 single, and if you bought the single, you were also treated to two outstanding B-sides in Acquiesce & Talk Tonight. It was a sign of the chart dominance of Oasis that was to come over the next couple of years.

3. Cast No Shadow

Oasis, unlike some of their contemporaries such as Manic Street Preachers, weren’t generally known for their lyrical depth. There were some notable exceptions in the back catalogue. Look at Live Forever, Whatever, Talk Tonight & Champagne Supernova for example.

Cast No Shadow was a heartfelt love letter to The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. The man who, for a while at least, took on the mantle of Britpop’s standard-bearer when ‘Urban Hymns’ was released to such rightful acclaim in 1997.

25 years on, this song not only holds up from the time, but has actually improved with age, and is one of the best songs Oasis ever produced.

2. Wonderwall

Quite simply, an era-defining song. An absolutely monstrous anthem for anyone under the age of 50.

Wonderwall is one of the great anomalies of UK chart history that it was held off the No.1 spot by Robson & Jerome, remember them? Jerome played Bronn in Game of Thrones if that helps.

Even if you hate Oasis, you have to respect this song as a timeless classic, and it is their biggest selling single in the UK, clocking up over 1.3million sales. Even Alex James of Oasis arch-rivals Blur has admitted that he wished that he’d wrote it.

You may not have realised it yet, but you do know all the words to this as somewhere deep within your psyche they’re lying, possibly dormant. You may never have sung it before but, maybe, today is gonna be the day…

1. Champagne Supernova

They saved the best for last.

A sprawling, uplifting, majestic, 7 and a half minute epic. Not only the best song on WTSMG, but it’s also a perfect crescendo to the high-watermark of Oasis’s career.

It’s so iconic, that Noel named his London home, Supernova Heights after it. Its a song at home being played to 60,000 people in a stadium. But also at sunset on a beach. Or sitting on your own in a moment of introspection. It’ll still send a tingle down your spine and make you look at the song in a different way, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. That is the mark of a truly great track.

Revisionists might well argue that (What’s The Story) Morning Glory isn’t the best album of the 90’s, and with some justification. There’s no taking away from the fact that it was the biggest selling album of the decade. It has now sold 5 million copies in the UK, and 22 million worldwide.

(What’s The Story) Morning Glory is the emblem of the last great musical movement the UK produced that genuinely affected the culture and the mood of the nation. But 25 years on from this Oasis banger you can clearly hear a band at their absolute peak, heading towards their iconic Knebworth gigs the following year.

This Story was Glory-ous.


And that’s our ranking of songs from (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis after 25 years as a retrospective. What do you think? Did we get the order wrong? Let us know in the comments below.


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Music News

9 Musicians Who Nearly Died On Stage

Aaron Phillips

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Dave Grohl Foo Fighters in plaster image
RCA

Going on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans doesn’t sound like it should come with a health warning. But there have been many instances of a musician who nearly died on stage. Here are nine that almost ended up as toast.

There are many jobs that should come with a health warning. Bomb disposal expert and skyscraper window cleaners come to mind. You would expect some elements of danger with those roles. But what about a musician?

1. James Hetfield – Metallica

Metallica have always put on hard-hitting shows, particularly frontman James Hetfield. Although he has entered rehab many times over the years, it was an on-stage incident that nearly caused his demise. During a 1992 show in Montreal, Hetfield walked into one of the many stage pyrotechnics that was going off. The mistake left him with second-and three-degree burns. Miraculously, he wasn’t seriously injured and was back on stage within a few weeks.

2. Wattie Buchan – The Exploited

Legendary Scottish punk band The Exploited are known for their hi-energy shows. Frontman Wattie Buchan is also one of the most vocal and antagonistic figures in punk. Not afraid to take potshots at fellow musicians and politicians, his persona is as famous as the band he fronts. It almost ended in 2014 when Wattie had a heart attack on-stage in Lisbon, Portugal. After surgery and a few months off, he was back writing with the band. A true punk hero.

3. Keith Moon – The Who

Although Keith Moon ultimately met his demise in 1978, he almost went to the band in the sky in 1973. The story goes that he took what he thought were tranquilisers backstage before a show in San Francisco. Unfortunately, it was PCP, which made Moon pass out on the drum kit. Twice. The crew couldn’t wake him after the second time, so he was rushed to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. It was good news for Scott Halpin, who was plucked from the crowd to take Moon’s place to finish the show. Lucky guy. As for Keith Moon, he managed to survive for another five years before an overdose finally killed him.

4. Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters frontman has had quite a few slips and trips on stage over the years. One that went viral recently was when he ordered a beer from the stage, but slipped off on his way back, guitar in tow. One that could have been much worse happened back in 2015 at a show in Gothenburg, Sweden. The band were two songs into their set when Dave misjudged a ramp and fell from the stage into the security area. After going to the hospital to get bandaged up, he returned to the stage an hour later and finished the show. Albeit sat down with his leg in a cast. He even did the next few shows in a wheelchair. A true rock and roll legend.

5. Till Lindemann – Rammstein

If you’ve ever been to a Rammstein show, you will know that there is enough pyro to fuel a small country. It’s actually surprising that none of the band has met a fiery demise so far into their career. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some close calls. Frontman Till Lindemann is the force behind the band’s pyro effects. He’s actually a qualified pyrotechnician nowadays, but in the mid-90s it was trial and error. There were a couple of instances in those early days where he and several of the crew suffered burns from wayward pyro. And more recently he suffered a serious knee injury when keyboardist Flake crashed into him on stage with a Segway. He looks indestructible on stage, and past incidents prove as such.

6. Nick Lowe – Brinsley Schwarz

Singer-songwriter Nick Lowe actually did die in this incident. Albeit briefly. During a show in London’s Soho, Lowe went to pick up a microphone that was ungrounded. The following electric shock sent him flying across the stage into the amplifiers. The fact that the amps blocked the access to the power and the fact Lowe still had hold of the mic made it an impossible situation. It was his keyboardist who tried to kick the mic off but ended up kicking Nick in the ribs. According to medics, this restarted his heart, thus saving his life. He was taken to hospital but returned a few hours later; joining his bandmates in the bar. A typical British response to almost dying on stage.

7. Ariana Grande

There’s something magical about an artist appearing through the floor and on to the stage. Not quite so when something goes wrong though. During her 2015 Honeymoon tour, Grande rose on an elevator from under the stage. Unfortunately, a plank of wood snapped meaning she was trapped under the stage. Her guitarist helped her up through the gap, but it could have been much worse.

8. Chris Rea

The legendary musician actually collapsed on stage during a tour in 2017 and nearly died on stage. He had had a stroke the year earlier so wasn’t in the best of health. Fans were shocked to see him fall backwards mid-song and collapse on stage. He required hospital treatment but was soon back out again and touring. Apparently, it was due to the effects of his stroke and not any faulty equipment. Still, it could have turned out differently, and who would have driven us home for Christmas then?

9. Meat Loaf

Musician Meat Loaf has collapsed on stage a few times over the years and nearly died. More recently in 2016 during a show in Edmonton in the US, although that was put down to dehydration and exhaustion. It could have been a lot more serious in 2003 when he collapsed on stage during a show in London. He was rushed to hospital and ended up having a heart procedure but was given a clean bill of health not long after that. He’s still playing shows now which just goes to show you can’t keep a good man down.


That’s our list of nine musician and artists who nearly died on stage. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out five famous actors that were in bands HERE.

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