Published on June 16th, 2014 | by Andy Sedlak
(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis 
Summary: Oasis rose to prominence in 1995 by being unbelievably in control of their craft…even when they weren’t in control of each other.
Length: 50:05 | Released: Oct. 2, 1995
Producers: Noel Gallagher, Owen Morris | Label: Creation
Top 40 U.S. Singles: 2
Peak Position on Billboard Album Chart: 4
I can only assume you’re aware of the Gallagher brothers’ notoriously bloody past.
If not, let’s get up to speed. Noel and Liam Gallagher were the core members of Oasis, the famed Britpop group that has come to represent the genre’s success and marketability in the 1990s. Noel is older than Liam by about five years and he allegedly joined the band after telling his brother and others they’d “rot” in Manchester without his songs. From there, several high-profile feuds kept the brothers in bandages and in the headlines.
Were wives publicly insulted?
Did Noel head butt Liam after Liam questioned the legitimacy of his children?
Are the brothers responsible for putting a chair through a window?
Indeed they are.
And is there really a tale involving a cricket bat? One that sent Liam to the hospital with a broken foot?
Yes, and it happened during the recording of 1995’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Released in October, the record captures a band riding a massive fit of dysfunctional creativity. It came just four years after Oasis formed in 1991. And its canyon-sized hooks earned them a seat at pop’s head table.
When it came to songwriting, it was one say-it-like-you-mean-it anthem after another. For 12 tracks, the brothers sound in control. Noel’s songwriting even borders on charismatic.
Though I realize “charismatic” is a relative term.
“The thing about us is that we’re honest,” Noel Gallagher once said. “If we’re asked whether we take drugs, we say yes. I was brought up by my mum not to be a liar.”
From “Don’t Look Back in Anger:”
Take me to the place where you go
Where nobody knows if it’s night or day
Please don’t put your life in the hands of a rock & roll band
Who’ll throw it all away
The video for “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” which hit #55 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
This record, their second of seven, was their breakthrough. Starting with the opening chords of “Hello,” these kooky bastards give us some pretty darn sharp pub rock. Listeners are treated to a hit (many dominated the UK charts) every couple of tracks and there’s a pedal-to-the-floor spirit to the album that recalls the Stones’ Exile on Main Street. Strong statement? Let your mind go there. Both were groups of wily British lads that put back-alley attitude ahead of refinement. Or, for the sake of simplification, let’s say attitude came before “rules.”
Except, in the end, the Stones outlasted Oasis. Who was predicting that in 1995?
It reminds us of one of the great disparities in rock – how bands can effortlessly relate to millions of people but have such a hard time relating to each other. I suppose creativity often bunks with tension. And pressure. And possibly isolation.
I guess the latter feelings sometime end up with the room key. But let’s get back to the record.
“Hello” and “Roll With It” open Morning Glory by urging listeners to push. And to keep pushing. Oasis’ urgency justifies their message. It’s bizzaro inspiration. And, as the listener, you begin to wonder if these goofballs are maybe the only ones who do get it?
“Wonderwall” slows the pace with breezy strumming that seems almost impromptu. The electricity soon returns, standing behind some of the most shaky (but sure) vocals to ever crack pop radio. It’s a thin line between desperation and defiance. The fact that we can’t tell where the narrator is truly coming from only adds to the “Wonderwall” mystique.
Plus, “Wonderwall” is one of your girlfriend’s favorite songs. After all these years, it’s still hard to believe these filter-less drunken slobs wrote a song so poignant and rightfully popular. Liam’s vocal is perfectly unsteady. Kind of like love itself.
A live cut of “Wonderwall,” still making ladies swoon 20 years later.
From “Some Might Say:”
Some might say they don’t believe in Heaven
Go and tell it to the man who lives in Hell
Some might say you get what you’ve been given
If you don’t get yours, I won’t get mine as well
Almost 20 years on, Morning Glory has aged remarkably well. That’s because its sonic integrity is intact. With Noel, a bloke named Owen Morris produced the record. He would handle three Oasis albums and his work with the band would be the defining work of his career. He produced a bunch of overseas bands most of us have never heard of. He did, however, produce the Verve. But he didn’t do “Bittersweet Symphony.”
Morris is one of the men on the cover of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
After “Wonderwall” became a smash hit, peaking at #10, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” was released as a single and just missed cracking the Billboard Top 40, peaking at #55 in 1996. It’s slightly unfair it couldn’t duck inside the top 40 when you look at some of the songs that kept it off. What were hits the February it was released, you ask?
Here are a few:
“One Sweet Day,” the Mariah Carey collaboration with Boys II Men
“Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)” by Whitney Houston”
“One of Us” by Joan Osborne
“Be My Lover” by La Bouche
Morning Glory benefits from knowing when to take a step back. Consider certain songs “filler” if you must, but there’s undeniable charm in exhaling at the right moment.
From “She’s Electric:”
She’s got a brother
We don’t get along with one another
But I quite fancy her mother
And I think she likes me
She’s got a cousin
In fact she’s got about a dozen
She’s got one in the oven
But it’s nothing to do with me
Some of Liam Gallagher’s greatest (non-musical) hits.
The album ends with the 7-minute tripfest “Champagne Supernova.” What’s it about? “Some of the lyrics were written when I was out of it,” Noel Gallagher said in 2005. “It means different things when I’m in different moods.”
It rivals “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” as one of the great rock epics whose composers admit to not knowing the origin of the subject matter.
Oasis released records for almost 20 years. By the time the sun set on the band in 2009, the blokes had sold some 70 million records. Yes, everything would crumble. In fact, after Oasis broke up, Noel posted a note online that said he “simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”
But Morning Glory captured so many musical impossibilities that it’s still hard to believe. It all comes back to the rebel yell of the title cut against the ethereal “Cast No Shadow.” Is the record perfect? No, it’s not. The tone starts to feel like formula halfway through. Some days that works for me, some days it doesn’t.
But these tunes worked when Oasis traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to take over a country drunk on dot-com success. And they sound even better as we continue to search for nerve in the wake of its collapse.