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.
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’.
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.
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.
Check our more of our music articles HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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