Oasis album (What's The Story) Morning Glory? - 20 things you never knew about the Britpop record on its 20th birthday

Can you imagine a world without 'Wonderwall' and 'Champagne Supernova'? Us neither, and we're feeling old too

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Believe it or not, it was twenty years to the day that Britpoppers Oasis dropped their bestselling album (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory into our lives and changed the face of Nineties music.

Without the Gallagher brothers and co’s second offering, there would be no “Wonderwall”, “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, tunes that remain timeless and make us feel both nostalgic and really, really old.

This milestone anniversary is particularly poignant now that Oasis have parted ways, seemingly never to reunite despite fans holding out hope for a future Glastonbury. Over 20 million people own copies, but what younger fans might not remember is the coldness of the initial reviews were and the awesomeness of those Knebworth gigs. 

Here are 20 things you might not know about (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory?:

It sold a record-breaking 347,000 copies in its first week of sale

London HMV shops were selling two albums per minute at one point. At the time, it was the second fastest-selling album in British history, only falling behind Michael Jackson’s Bad. 

They debuted it with an intimate gig…

London’s former Virgin Megastore played host as Oasis performed the album to 300 fans at midnight on 2 October 1995.

…but Liam was drunk

Still, the lead singer remembering all the words is a bonus, right?

The album sleeve designer appears on the album sleeve

Brian Cannon is seen with his back to the camera, walking towards London DJ Sean Rowley on Berwick Street in London’s Soho. Producer Owen Morris can be seen in the background, holding up the master tape. 

Oasis.jpg

It took a while to convince the critics

Fans loved it and it proved a commercial smash, but the album initially received lukewarm, widely mixed reviews from music critics, who believed it inferior to Oasis’ debut Definitely Maybe. Opinions swung round in the group’s favour and it is now rightly considered a seminal record.

Seriously though, some of them hated it...

“The lyrics scan, they fill a hole, end of story. They say nothing much about anything.” - Q

...really, really hated it

“Laboured and lazy. On this evidence, Oasis are a limited band. They sound knackered.” - Melody Maker

Those Knebworth gigs really were amazing

This lucky crowd of 250,000 music-lovers were present for Oasis’ two concerts in August 1996. There were more than 2.5 million applications for tickets. Pretend you were there by watching this video:

One song was recorded every 24 hours

On average, which is pretty fast for an album.

"She's Electric" was the first song Noel wrote for the album

No, it wasn't about Blur, but more of a homage to The Kinks and Small Faces.

“Step Out” was dropped for legal reasons

Stevie Wonder demanded Oasis pay him 6 per cent of the royalties because of how similar it was to the chorus of his song “Uptight”. They didn’t want to do that, so it was omitted from the album.

Sales were no doubt helped by the Battle of Britpop

This famous chart battle saw Oasis’ “Roll With It” fight against Blur’s “Country House” for the number one spot in August 1995. The British press absolutely loved this, deciding it symbolised the working class of the north versus the middle class of the south, and it even reached the BBC News. Blur won, but Oasis went on to have bigger US success.

oasis.jpg
The Battle of Britpop displayed in a music shop in 1995

Noel sparked outrage with his hatred of Blur

The month before the album came out, Noel was quoted as saying he hoped Blur musicians Damon Albarn and Alex James would “catch AIDS and die because I f**king hate them two”. He had to write an apology letter after his “world came crashing down” amid the controversy.

Tensions ran high over who would sing what song

Sibling rivalry is a problem when you work with your brother. Songwriter Noel wanted lead vocals on either “Wonderwall” or “Don’t Look Back in Anger” but Liam took exception to this and thought it meant he was exiled from the band. Liam eventually took the former and Noel the latter. Oh the drama. 

It won Best British Album at the 1996 Brit Awards

Then won Best British Album since 1980 in 2010 to top it off.

oasisbrits.jpg
Oasis accept one of many Brit Awards and inevitably mock Blur

Noel revealed what the album is actually about in a 1995 interview

“Whilst Definitely Maybe is about dreaming of being a pop star in a band, What’s the Story is about actually being a pop star in a band,” he told Rolling Stone.

The supporting world tour was massive

That’s 103 gigs to promote the album, from 22 June 1995 to 4 December 1996.

oasis.jpg
Fans go crazy for Oasis at one of their 103 gigs

Liam insisted that the songs did all have meanings

Even if he didn't know what they were. “There's s**tloads of meanings in the songs,” he said. “I don't know what they mean, but there's still meaning there. They mean things but I just don't know exactly what.”

But what even is a “Wonderwall”?

“It can be anything, it's just a beautiful word.” So there you go, use your imagination.

Noel thinks the album made Oasis bigger than Jesus

"I think it's fair to say Oasis are taller than Jesus Christ", he said. Confidence runs high.

So there you go, feeling as old as us yet?

Comments