The story of 'Morning Glory', Oasis' seminal album which marks its 25th anniversary today - The Leamington Observer

The story of 'Morning Glory', Oasis' seminal album which marks its 25th anniversary today

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Leamington Editorial 2nd Oct, 2020 Updated: 2nd Oct, 2020   0

IT’S Monday, October 2, 1995 and, on my way home from my morning politics lecture at Staffordshire University, I join the queue outside Woolworths in Stoke-upon-Trent to get my copy of Oasis’ ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’

After a wait of half an hour or so I snap up the cassette version of the album as, being a hard-up student, I couldn’t stretch to the CD (we didn’t have a CD player in our house anyway!)

We all loved ‘Definitely Maybe’ and the singles ‘Some Might Say’ and ‘Roll With It’, so it was with great anticipation I loaded the tape into my Walkman. I swagger home, realising this is a seminal moment in pop music history, writes James Iles.

‘O’ is for Oasis




My cassette of ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ – bought from Woolies in Stoke, October 1995. Sleeve design by microdot.

PROBABLY the best three years of my life, I’d often find myself “standing at the station, in need of education, in the rain” while waiting at New Street to get the Manchester Picadilly service on a Sunday evening.

I never quite stayed on track long enough to reach the Mecca of music that is Manchester (though I did have a girlfriend from Levenshulme!)


I alighted instead at Stoke, where I had made my university home between 1994 and 1997.

And boy, what a time to be alive. Not just to witness the Britpop music scene that was exploding but also, as a student, getting the time to fully appreciate this cultural phenomenon that had a profound effect on me and my generation.

My student mates and I missed Oasis playing at The Wheatsheaf in Stoke by a few months, having arrived in September ‘94, but duly went to see Supergrass and The Bluetones that October.

Blur, Pulp, Gene, Suede, Ocean Colour Scene, The Verve, The Charlatans, Elastica, Sleeper and even Menswear were also on our radar, to name but a handful.

So many top bands and so many albums to explore but ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ – which is today marking  its 25th anniversary – was one of the best.

Following Oasis’ massive debut ‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994) was no easy task for siblings Liam and Noel Gallagher (vocals and guitar/vocals respectively), Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan on bass, Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs on rhythm guitar and drummer Alan White, who replaced Tony McCarroll.

‘Maybe’ was packed full of Noel’s era-defining songs that could all have been singles, not to mention the B-sides such as ‘Half the World Away’ being top drawer.

The five singles ‘Supersonic’, ‘Shakermaker, ‘Live Forever’, ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ became anthems of the working classes and all aspiring rock stars.

They were a tough act to follow but songwriter Noel Gallagher’s rich and fruitful creative streak that had seen Oasis becoming the band of the moment was continuing at an incredible pace.

Indeed, ‘Morning Glory’, which was recorded in just 15 days at Rockfield Studios in Wales with Owen Morris (again) as co-producer to Noel Gallagher, eventually delivered some even bigger hit singles and a host of cracking B-sides too.

Their second No.1 LP had been preceded by the stand-alone 1994 Christmas single ‘Whatever’ – their first to feature strings and first to break the top five of the UK singles chart, peaking at No.3.

Then ‘Some Might Say’ finally delivered their first No.1 single in the UK in April 1995.

Backed by not one but two amazing B-sides in ‘Talk Tonight’ and ‘Acquiesce’, ‘Some Might Say’ was the first release to come from ‘Morning Glory’ and, according to Noel, it defined everything Oasis was about.

The fact they could expend two killer tracks on the reverse of the single not only showed the confidence of the band at the time, but also built expectations as to what was to come on album two.

‘Roll With It’, backed by another top B-side in ‘Rockin’ Chair’ followed that August and it too could have been No.1 if it hadn’t been pipped at the post by Blur’s ‘Country House’ in the famous “Battle of Britpop.”

Noel later reflected on the chart race on Dermot O’Leary’s Reel Stories, describing both songs as “shit”. He felt a battle between ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ and Blur’s ‘Girls & Boys’ would have had greater merit!

Many noted though that while Blur won the battle, Oasis ‘won the war’ as their commercial success far surpassed Blur’s in the months that followed.

Oasis played back-to-back shows at Earls Court in November 1995 and arguably hit peak popularity after this LP.

They played their first headline open air shows at Maine Road – home of their beloved Manchester City FC – for two nights in April ‘96.

Then, two legendary concerts at Knebworth on August 10 and 11 were each performed to an audience of 125,000 people. 2.5million people applied for tickets, meaning the possibility of 20 sold out nights, which is still a British record.

The titular track ‘Morning Glory’ was not a UK single release but received enough radio play in September 1995 to stoke the fires of anticipation in the music world.

With helicopters hovering above a heavy wall of sound, guitars wail, and, with a trademark snarl, Liam belts out the opening line’s drugs reference: “All your dreams are made, when you’re chained to the mirror and the razor blade.”

The album opens though with ‘Hello’, a glam-rock esque stomp, that announces their return with the lyric “Hello, hello, it’s good to be back.” We welcomed them with open arms.

‘Hey Now’ is the track sounding most like a leftover from ‘Definitely Maybe’. But that’s no bad thing. Don’t let the anthems of ‘Morning Glory’ overshadow this great song that bridges both albums together.

Who doesn’t love the infectiously catchy pop of ‘She’s Electric’?! True to form it seems to borrow from The Beatles in places.

The lyrics tell a very interesting tale of love, possibly for more than one member of the family.

The inner sleeve and cassette to my copy of ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ The microdot sleeve was designed and directed by Brian Cannon with photography by Michael Spencer Jones.

With ‘Wonderwall’ the Burnage boys scored another monster hit which got to No.2 in October 1995, and inspired a generation of young balladeers to pick up an acoustic guitar (not forgetting their capos!)

Denied the No.1 spot by Robson and Jerome (sad but true) the radio play alone of this mega success catapulted Oasis to a new level of global stardom.

‘Cast No Shadow’ with the Gallaghers’ spine-tingling harmonies, is understood to be a tribute to The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft who was lesser known at the time. Like many of the tracks it features a string orchestra and White’s signature brush-play on the drums.

It also marks a departure from the raw rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Definitely Maybe’ to a more mature songcraft and sound.

Noel’s first time as lead singer on an Oasis single is on ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ which opens with big piano chords like Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ with a lyrical mash-up on a range of nostalgic themes. This Britpop anthem gave Oasis their second No.1.

The “So Sally can wait…” chorus lyric is always a Hey Jude singalong moment.

So, who is Sally? Noel once said ‘Sally Cinnamon’ by the Stone Roses was the reason he became a musician so it could be that.

But he’s since commented ‘Sally’ is a metaphor for a person looking back at their life, feeling no regrets.

Waves lap at the shoreline bringing a sense of calmness to the closing track and timeless classic ‘Champagne Supernova’ which features Paul Weller on harmonica and guitar.

“Where were you while we were getting high?” sings Liam, in one of his best vocal performances.

In hindsight the lyric seems to suggest they were already getting reflective about their rock ‘n’ roll careers, perhaps acknowledging they could not be at the summit of success forever.

Noel Gallagher has since opined that while ‘Definitely Maybe’ is about the dreaming of being a rock star, ‘Morning Glory’ is about actually being one.

It remains the only time I ever had to queue to get a record, like many of the 345,000 people who bought it in the first week.

To date, 22million copies have been sold worldwide, making it one of the best-selling hit albums of all time.

It is considered a seminal record of the Britpop era, has won multiple awards and is regularly ranked as one of the best albums of all time.

Will they ever reform? Part of me hopes so, but I’m afraid they’ll never truly recapture the swagger and triumphant glory of those early Oasis days.

My top three ‘Morning Glory’ tracks

1. Champagne Supernova

2. Don’t Look Back in Anger

3. Cast No Shadow

Underrated track = Hey Now

* Check out James’ ‘O is for Oasis’ ‘Morning Glory’ and Best Of’ playlist on Amazon Music at https://music.amazon.co.uk/user-playlists/3f4df2ac809344588d2b440bf750cfdaengb?ref=dm_sh_e6c9-e511-dmcp-8a90-8d042&musicTerritory=GB&marketplaceId=A1F83G8C2ARO7P

This feature is part of “Talking About Pop Music: An A to Z of Hit Artists”

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