I was nine years old when I first heard (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? I remember it clearly. Sitting in my friend Ryan’s bedroom, surrounded by posters of weird looking boys with weird looking hair cuts and listening to weird sounding voices singing weird sounding songs. The band was Oasis. Ryan was obsessed, and I just didn’t get it. I was far too busy being super cool, waiting for The Real McCoy or Merrill Bainbridge to come on the radio so I could press the ‘play’ and ‘record’ buttons simultaneously to make sure I recorded them on my latest cassette tape. Now, almost two decades later, having branched out and formed a general respect for music I think I owe Ryan an apology.
Those boys with the weird hair cuts and weird sounding voices were squabbling brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, as famous for their rivalry as they are for their music. But in 1995 they were high, in every sense of the word. Riding the success of their debut album Definitely Maybe, and ushering in a era of Britpop intrigue that hadn’t been seen since The Beatles. The infamous battle with their sworn adversaries Blur, added fuel to the fire of the juggernaut that was to be Morning Glory?. While Blur held favour early, taking the number 1 spot on the singles charts with their opening track Country House, and outselling Morning Glory?’s Roll With It by over 50,000 copies Oasis went on to become the undisputed champions of this musical equivalent to a street brawl, selling twice as many copies of their album and having it widely considered as one of the greatest records of all time. (Sorry Ryan.)
And not only that. Morning Glory? is the band’s crowning achievement, catapulting Oasis from indie rock bank to a worldwide phenomenon. It sold 347,000 copies in the first week, spent a collective 10 weeks at number 1 on the UK albums chart, didn’t leave the top 3 for seven months, won the Best British Album at the 2006 But Awards and in 2010 walked away with the title of Best British Album of the last ten years. Not only a success in the UK, Oasis pulled off the ever elusive success in the US, reaching number 4 on the Billboard 200, becoming the 2nd fastest selling album at the time behind Michael Jackson’s BAD and selling over 22 million copies worldwide.
Now we can get our hands on a remastered 3-disk deluxe edition as part of the Chasing The Sun promotional campaign. It includes not only the original track list which features the smash hits Don’t Look Back In Anger, Champagne Supernova and Wonderwall, but the underrated b-sides from the four UK singles, unheard demo’s of She’s Electric, Rockin’ Chair, Some Might Say, Hey Now! and Boneheads Bank Holiday and live recordings from iconic Oasis gigs. With so much incredible content available on this new edition it’s easy to see why some reviewers originally thought Morning Glory? felt rushed and ultimately inferior to it’s predecessor Definitely Maybe. Reportedly recorded in a mere 15 days, and up against the distracting volatility of the Gallagher Brothers, one can’t help but wonder if some of Morning Glory?’s lesser moments could have been edited and filled with better options. Trade Hey Now! with Underneath The Sky, or Roll With It for Rockin’ Chair and Oasis may have had an even stronger record.
But ultimately, who cares? Morning Glory? is what it is. One of the greatest records of all time, and the pinnacle of Oasis’ run as Britpop royalty. Liam even says “How can you master something that’s already (been) mastered?” and I agree. This rerelease is a chance to remember an album that for many of us was the soundtrack to grow up to, not pick it apart. Listening to all the extra content is fun, and will be an Oasis fans dream, but nothing can recreate that moment when Oasis took the world by storm. And why would you want to? This should be seen purely as a tribute to one of the greatest bands of a generation. Ryan, you were right.