Double Feature: Oasis – Definitely Maybe, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?

The fun Saturday night and the bitter Sunday morning.

You would think with The Beatles being the most popular band in history that more bands would try to sound like them.  There are plenty of Rolling Stone rip offs – I’m looking at you Aerosmith – and there are more than enough folkies trying to be weird like Bob Dylan including Conor Oberst and Josh Ritter.  With the exception of Panic! at the Disco’s latest album, There have not been many bands that have tried to sound like the fab four.  But then 1994 came and a little British band named Oasis became the biggest band in the world.

Oh wait, you’ve never heard of Oasis?  Well if you’re American that’s understandable.  The band’s debut Definitely Maybe went number one in Britain (until 2006 it was the UK’s fastest selling debut album), but the band made little impression over here in the states.  Then their followup, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, did very well in America, especially with their mega hit “Wonderwall”, and in England it is the third biggest selling album of all time behind The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Queen’s Greatest Hits.  With these two albums, Oasis became international stars and it seemed like the second coming of The Beatles – too bad they never made a good album after 1995.

So what was their secret to success? Simple, copy The Beatles.  The number of artist influenced by The Beatles is ridiculous, but Oasis is a rare band that can musically share with their music heroes.  Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher wrote songs and sung – or at least tried to – like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Liam sounding nasally and strong like Lennon and Noel more melodic like McCartney, and it shows in both albums.

Defiantly Maybe is considered one of the most important British albums of all time, but listening to it now the album…isn’t that amazing.  Most of the songs sound too much the same and drag on, making the album seem longer than it actually is.  To make up for that, the guitars are loud and the songs are fast, making this a more explosive and fun album.  “Live Forever”, Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, and “Supersonic” all went on to become huge hits and are the best tracks on the album and are some of the best songs of the Britpop era.

Of the two albums, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory is the better one, or at least more appealing, for various reasons.  It has a better flow and each song sounds different and unique.  The melodies are strong, the singing is top-notch, and of course there is “Wonderwall”, one of the biggest hits of the 90s.  The album is more introspective than Defiantly Maybe, which was all about fast guitars and having a good time while this is all about lovers at crossroads and the confusion of life.  If Defiantly Maybe is the fun drunken night, Morning Glory is the ugly hangover and reflection on what went wrong.

It is hard looking back to imagine how this band became so big with a so-so debut and a great, but maybe not excellent, followup.  But back in 1994 these guys really seemed to be the next Beatles, hell they even looked like them, and these two album will forever be in high remarks in music history.

Here’s a rare acoustic version of “Morning Glory”, sung by Noel.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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