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How Oasis’ ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ Changed the Course of Music History

How Oasis’ ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ Changed the Course of Music History

c“No one saw it coming, because second albums are notoriously shit,” Noel Gallagher recalled of the surprise success of Oasis’s second album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? “We certainly didn’t see it coming. That’s for sure.”

(What’s The Story) Morning Glory? celebrates its 25th anniversary this week. It was a career-defining moment for Oasis, a band that had burst onto the British music scene in a big way barely a year earlier with the massive success of its debut album Definitely Maybe, and a string of chart-topping singles. But (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?—which contained the hit songs “Wonderwall,” “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and “Champagne Supernova,” in case you’d forgotten—showcased Gallagher as a songwriter of the first order, and his younger brother, Liam, as a singer and frontman of undeniable gifts.

Even all these years later, as with the best classic albums, it still sounds as fresh as ever.

“The reviews were not good,” Gallagher maintained with a laugh during that same interview with me last year. “But put it up against anything that’s come out since. Very few albums are in its league, and certainly not anything being made today.”

After the fraught birth of the band’s debut album, which was made and remade several times before becoming the fastest-selling debut album in British history (at the time), and redefining the musical landscape there, and after a tumultuous year in which the band nearly imploded several times, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? was created in a relatively drama-free atmosphere—at least by Noel & Liam standards—and at a remarkably quick pace.

“We were booked into the studio for about six weeks, I think, but it only took three,” the elder Gallagher remembered of the sessions at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, where Queen famously recorded “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “And that included a week off after Liam and I had had a massive fight!”

“It seemed like they could do no wrong musically,” the British DJ Gary Crowley said recently. “I got an advance cassette from the band’s label, and I remember going away for a long weekend right after that and listening to it non-stop. Whatever was going on between Noel and Liam—at least as far as it was being portrayed in the press at the time—it was an amazing achievement. The songs were great, Liam’s singing was amazing, the band was on top form, and it was such a huge leap forward from the sound of the first album.”

Indeed, the change in direction, Gallagher told me, was what put reviewers off. Expecting Definitely Maybe II, they didn’t know what to make of the new Oasis sound.

Fans, too, weren’t sure. At least at first.

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