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Top Twenty Albums Nine: Oasis (What’s the Story) Morning Glory 1995

The finale to the excellent, if flawed BBC2 series The Seven Ages of Rock aired on Saturday night with an epic effort on the British Indie scene which morphed into Britpop, and these days bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys who carry the flame into the 21st Century.

Many of the conclusions drawn I agreed with, especially the modern trend for slagging off current Bands as “derivative”. That’s just bone idle lazy writing dressed up as “journalism”.

When the Beatles did tape looping on Tomorrow Never Knows, or Hendrix used ear splitting feedback and Joy Division devised their unique sound, no one had ever heard anything liked it, so logically it is going to be hard for new bands to be totally original.

Your surroundings influence your style, be it as a writer, artist or musician, so I don’t have a problem with it.

You can hear the Libertines in the Arctic Monkeys, ska in the Kaisers and New Wave rock in Franz Ferdinand, but if the listener gets that inexplicable frission of excitement which turn gigs into emotional an connection between the band and the audience, that’s all that matters.

That’s why rock is so great. It unifies people in a shared experience and anyone can have a go. If they have talent it will get recognised, as the MySpace phenomenon proved with the Arctic Monkeys, who as an unsigned band had literally hundreds of thousands of people getting the idea of their ethos and music online.

I am knocking on 40 and I guess there are those who think I’m sad for following new bands, but when I heard the Editors I saw the spirit of Joy Division and it just clicked.

Same deal with Dirty Pretty things and how I felt seeing bands in the ‘Eighties and early ’Nineties with the same connection to the audience. The Levellers spring to mind. Not for the musical style (obviously) but for the ethos where the artist means it.

As with Oasis. I loved that Band and indeed a great deal of the stuff around that time.

October 1994 I was in Our Price in Farnham minding my own when I heard "Cigarettes and Alcohol". I went up to the counter and said "Whose that? Can I buy it now?"

It was that instant. Raw in your face Rock and Roll.” Definitely Maybe" did as much for UK music as Punk did. Fresh and basic. The ultimate "Three Chords and the Truth".So simple.

Bear in mind the previous week I’d been to see Pink Floyd. One of my favourite bands but hardly world changing stuff. The thing with Oasis is, like U2 they appeal right across the class boundaries. The best music brings people together and can reflect change in society.

John Major and The Tories were just clinging on. “In Office but not in Power”, as Lamentable Lamont put it. And everyone knew liberation was around the corner.

Especially for my age group (26 at the time) who had been through the Thatcher era.

Me and most of my mates were lucky, but plenty of our age hadn’t been. Never worked and marginalized. Parents had lost their homes or been made redundant at least once with all that goes with it. Especially up North.

How we hated Thatcher and her Party, and Oasis seemed to encapsulate that this dark period was lifting and that the Northern Young Male Working Class had not been beaten and was still there with aspiration and hedonism.

Then we were not in our leafy middle class Kirk Ella ghetto. We both had crap paid jobs and literally every penny mattered. Years of living in rented awfulness with bastard landlords who wouldn’t fix even basic stuff. Six weeks with no shower. And at the mercy of some Rackmanite.

As a teacher I was driven by my hatred for the Tories and all they stood for. Low wage/high profit economy.

Keep people scared by unemployment, poor and addicted. Families ground down by it all. Partners turning on each other. Booze, domestic violence. All because of lack of money, opportunity and above all aspiration.

Meanwhile the consumer economy goes into overdrive. Aspire to this but you’ll never get it you sad failures.

This album seemed like the antidote.Angry,loud,hopeful.

"Live Forever" says it all. What a belter.Great songs. Just so optimistic and simple.

” You can have it all if you want it".

The gig I went to in November 1995 at Earls Court was all I ever hoped from an event like this.15,000 a cracking system that meant you could have a loud but crisp sound. And a band on the cusp of greatness.

I’ve never known an audience to go so mental but then Noel played a four song acoustic set and had everyone rapt. You have to have some balls to do that and make it work. But the songs were the king.

What’s the Story had just been released and was just as good as the debut.

For three albums ( if you count the Master plan) Oasis were the best band in the world and a symbol for the end of the Tory era and a new optimism epitomised by Tony Blair and the Labour Party. For the Many, Not the Few.

I though it was the best thing I’d heard recorded by a British band in my lifetime. Some good old rock and roll ("Some Might Say") allied to some well crafted song writing of maturity ("Cast No Shadow").Is it over familiarity but if I hear "Wonderwall" one more time…

Having said that there isn’t a "weak" track. I like "She’s Electric". Humorous. Shows a songwriter at ease with himself.

However the Beatles influence is obvious and later became a serious Achilles heel. Noël isn’t the sharpest tool in the box and I reckon he’s the sort of bloke who knows what he likes and hasn’t got too many influences or much of an open mind .

"Hey Now" is the genesis of his fall. Too clever by half lyrics set to Beatley music. Contrived.

By contrast the debut "Definitely Maybe" is raw and unpretentious. Not trying to write for anyone else. Makes it a totally honest effort. And it has Oasis’ best ever song “Live Forever” (below).

But What’s the Story Morning Glory? gets my vote and is Number Nine on my (ever so interesting) Top Twenty Albums of All Time list.



About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


3 thoughts on “Top Twenty Albums Nine: Oasis (What’s the Story) Morning Glory 1995

  1. I thought you was going to start your top 20 again.As you realised some of your previous choices were a bit rubbish. ;)Anyway remind us avid readers of the top 20 so far.

    Posted by Richard | July 1, 2007, 10:22 pm
  2.  Excellent prog. by the Beeb on Sat.  Some of the archive Smiths footage was particularly good.
    Still don’t get The Arctic stuff, but have a better understanding of where The Libertines were coming from now.

    Posted by Michael | July 3, 2007, 8:45 am
  3. The soundtrack of my generation, just awesome.

    Posted by Ian | July 6, 2007, 7:37 pm

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