(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis

Buy (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

(Whats the Story) Morning Glory by OasisThe second blow of the potent 1-2 punch by Oasis at the start of their career was the 1995 album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which fully propelled the group towards worldwide accolades and fame. On this album, primary songwriter Noel Gallagher employed a richer array of compositional influences while thick production techniques were used in what would come to be known as the inception of the “Loudness wars”. These were some of the reasons why critics were initially lukewarm in response to this album, albeit they have reversed course by offering great acclaim for the record in more recent years.

Oasis released their debut album, Definitely Maybe, in September 1994 and it became the fastest selling debut album ever (to that point) in the UK. This sudden rush of fame did have some negative consequences, as lead vocalist Liam Gallagher (Noel’s brother) exhibited some bizarre behavior on stage and original drummer Tony McCarroll departed from the band. McCarroll was replaced by Alan White, who came with an impressive studio resume.

Recording sessions for (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? were in a Welsh studio during the Spring of 1995 with producer Owen Morris. The album was recorded quickly, especially early on when the group claimed they averaged almost a song per day. However, tensions broke out between the Gallagher brothers when Noel suggested he provide lead vocals for a few tracks, a move that Liam viewed as a leading indicator of his potential ouster as front man. This led to an altercation that ultimately suspended recording for three weeks. However, Morris has since stated that the sessions overall were “the best, easiest, least fraught, most happily creative time (he has) ever had in a recording studio” and that the resulting album is “dripping with love and happiness.”


(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis
Released: October 2, 1995 (Creation)
Produced by: Owen Norris & Noel Gallagher
Recorded: Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales, March–June 1995
Album Tracks Group Musicians
Hello
Roll with It
Wonderwall
Don’t Look Back in Anger
Hey Now!
The Swamp Song (Excerpt 1)
Some Might Say
Cast No Shadow
She’s Electric
Morning Glory
The Swamp Song (Excerpt 2)
Champagne Supernova
Liam Gallagher – Lead Vocals, Percussion
Noel Gallagher – Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Paul Arthurs – Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
Paul McGuigan – Bass
Alan White – Drums, Percussion

(What's the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis

The opening track “Hello” is the only composition not credited solely to Noel Gallagher, as Gary Glitter and Mike Leander are given co-writing credits. After a false start of strummed acoustic, the song abruptly gives way to a heavier rock arrangement with a thick, opaque sound and heavy use of guitar processing with White’s rolling drums buried deep in the mix. “Roll with It” has a solid structure of straight-forward rock with a heavy emphasis on the hook and an interesting, echoed guitar lead. The song was released ahead of the album and climbed to #2 on the UK pop charts. The worldwide hit song “Wonderwall” starts as a simple acoustic, strummed folk track. However, it quickly evolves into a much more complex and original arrangement musically, which strikes the perfect vibe which finds the seam between romance and desperation matches its rich and philosophical lyric;

And all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead us there are blinding – there are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how…”

“Don’t Look Back in Anger” is the best song overall song by Oasis and is fittingly delivered by its author, Noel Gallagher who proves he is every bit the lead vocalist as his younger brother. The song features complex passages that soar at times with underlying riffing and fine piano riffing by Paul Arthurs as well as potent bass by Paul McGuigan. The song’s title, lyric and sound pays homage to classic artists like David Bowie, The Beatles and John Lennon in particular (with the line “Gonna start a ‘Revolution’ from my bed….”) in an approach that legitimately feels like it was spawned in a bygone era. Released as a single in early 1996, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” became Oasis’s second song to top the British charts.

The album’s momentum continues with “Hey Now!”, a strong rocker with heavy seventies pop/rock elements and consistent slide guitar throughout. Through is five minute duration, this track employs differing rhythms (which sometimes seem clunky but never quite off-putting) as well as a fine melody by Liam Gallagher during the verses and a terrific, double tracked guitar lead later. The long, repetitive final chorus drives home the entertaining elements as the song concludes. The first of two short, untitled link tracks which feature a heavy blues, ZZ-Top style rock with alternating guitar and harmonica by guest Paul Weller, leads to the blues heavy “Some Might Say”. Featuring another cool lead section with some wild synth sounds tossed in for effect, “Some Might Say” was Oasis’s first UK chart-topper and it sold nearly a half million copies as a single upon its release. The final song written for the album, “Cast No Shadow” throws in the kitchen sink of sweet effects – strummed acoustic, slight electric overlays, slide guitar, mellow synths, steady yet strong rhythms, weepy lead vocals, rich background harmonies and deep lyrical lines;

As they took his soul they stole his pride…As he faced the sun he cast no shadow…”

Coming down the stretch, the album’s quality never relents. “She’s Electric” is a happy-go-lucky pop track with bright, hard rock music, chanting, lyrical rhymes and slightly Southern layered guitars. The title track, “Morning Glory”, closely resembles a popular R.E.M. song with its metallic, textured guitars pumping out a strong riff to complement the shouted and repeated vocal hook. “Champagne Supernova” is the perfect album ending, as it comes in subtly with strummed guitar, accordion and electric textures before White’s drum beat crashes in with the glue for the thick arrangement of the track’s body. This is a nice lead up to the guitar lead section, which is slight but potent, before the song goes through the initial verse again much more quickly and intensely and with a less organized outro riff section. After one final verse, the track fades out slowly, maintaining the overall feel of the song and album and sealing this record as a classic.

Oasis in 1995

(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? sold 350,000 copies in its first week and spent 10 weeks atop the UK Albums Chart. Following its release, Oasis went on an extensive world tour, which included shows in front of hundreds of thousands in their home country.

~

1995 page images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

Definitely Maybe by Oasis

Buy Definitely Maybe

Definitely Maybe by OasisA tremendous commercial success, Definitely Maybe is the 1994 debut album by Oasis. This album was instrumental in revitalizing the bright and optimistic “Britpop” movement in the midst of an era dominated by the deeper and darker grunge sound. Although portrayed at the time as a collection of largely spontaneous tracks, many of the songs were actually composed years earlier by guitarist Noel Gallagher, some predating his 1991 arrival joining up with the band. In any case, the themes of things said plainly and for the very first time really struck a chord in Britain and beyond as Definitely Maybe provided the fuel for Oasis’s rocket dominance of the mid 1990s.

In the early 1990s, guitarist Paul Arthurs, bassist Paul McGuigan, and drummer Tony McCarroll formed a group called The Rain. Unhappy with their original vocalist, the group auditioned Liam Gallagher as front man, who in turn suggested the name Oasis for the band. When the band started playing live in 1991, Liam invited his older brother Noel to see the band. Noel decided his brother’s group would be a good vehicle for the songs he had written and joined Oasis as a fifth member.

The group began recording the album at Monnow Valley Studio. The Stone Roses were about a mile down the road, recording Second Coming, the follow-up their own brilliant debut, and the two groups bonded. However, the sessions proved unsatisfactory, as the group found the sound to be “thin, weak, and too clean”, despite the high cost of these sessions. In February 1994, the group began re-recording the album at Sawmills Studio with producer Mark Coyle and replicated their live sound by recording together without soundproofing between individual instruments.

The long recording process delayed the release of the album. In the interim, between April and August 1994, Oasis released three singles ahead of Definitely Maybe. This actually helped build anticipation for the debut and it shot straight to the top of the U.K. charts upon its release and went on to be certified eight times Platinum.


Definitely Maybe by Oasis
Released: August 30, 1994 (Creation)
Produced by: Mark Coyle, Owen Morris, Dave Batchelor & Oasis
Recorded: December 1993–April 1994
Track Listing Group Musicians
Rock n’ Roll Star
Shakermaker
Live Forever
Up In the Sky
Columbia
Supersonic
Bring It On Down
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Digsy’s Dinner
Slide Away
Married with Children
Liam Gallagher – Lead Vocals
Noel Gallagher – Guitars, Piano Vocals
Paul Arthurs – Guitars, Piano
Paul McGuigan – Bass, Vocals
Tony McCarroll – Drums, Percussion

Definitely Maybe by Oasis

 

The short, slow, droning guitar breaks out into the more upbeat song proper of the opener “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”. Released as a single, the song became a radio and concert favorite, as did the album’s second song, “Shakermaker”. Dominated by a slow jam with Liam Gallagher’s extra long, whiny vocals, the song starts somewhat interesting but gets annoying after a short while. Further, the song borrowed its melody from a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial and the band eventually had to pay $500,000 in damages.

The compositionally excellent “Live Forever” follows as the most indelible song on the album. Noel Gallagher wrote the song in 1991, and it contains a great chorus, overtone, and melody that was inspired by The Rolling Stones song “Shine a Light”, and was the first Oasis song to enter the Top Ten. “Up In the Sky” is a heavier track with interesting riff variations, almost sixties psychedelic, while “Columbia” has chanting lyrics and a rotating drone of three chords throughout its six and a half minutes, never really relenting but still the band’s favorite song to play live.

McCarroll’s drum intro with a long guitar pick scratch above the melodic riff introduces another radio single, “Supersonic”. The beat never deviates one bit, while overdubbed guitars make it all entertaining. This song was the band’s first single to chart in the United States, where it peaked at number 11. “Bring It On Down” is a more intense, almost punk song where the music overtakes Liam Gallagher’s voice for one of the rare times. McCarroll couldn’t quite get the beat, so a session drummer was brought in to show him how, and McCarroll was promptly discharged from the band once recording was complete, sparking lawsuits for years to come.

“Cigarettes & Alcohol” contains a more traditional, bluesy rock arrangement, almost like a cross between The Rolling Stones and T-Rex (which sparked the second accusation of plagiarism on this album). The vocal hook is also more traditional (and catchy) and lyrics more legible than most songs on the album. “Digsy’s Dinner” is like a short radio hit of the early sixties, except with heavy guitars and distant vocals, while “Slide Away” is a long track with little variation in guitars, souring vocals and complex, methodical choruses. The closer “Married with Children” is a rather refreshing change from the over-production of the rest of the album. Recorded partially on a hotel bed, the song contains a strummed acoustic with slightly overdubbed electric and low-key vocals, that warm down the album to a formidable end.

The critical and commercial success of Definitely Maybe carried over strongly to their follow-up in 1995, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which kept Oasis on top of the pop world for years to come.

~

1994 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of 1994 albums.