Britpop band Oasis were always going to make it big, says radio presenter Pete Mitchell in the run up to 'Definitely Maybe' being revamped for its 20th anniversary
One of the greatest British albums of all time ‘Definitely Maybe’, the debut by Oasis released in 1994, is to be reissued to mark its 20th anniversary on the 19th of May. A re-mastered version of the album will be released, which will include rare and unreleased recordings, all presented in a rather impressive deluxe box.
This album is a perfect generational rock record that retains the raw energetic attitude and sound of a band out of the north, who oozed total self-belief.
Oasis were going to make it big no matter what and nobody would have the courage or audacity to stop them.
I knew Noel and Liam in the early days, Noel was a quiet unassuming individual, who worked for the Inspiral Carpets, until he joined Liam's group the Rain. I remember him telling me he had joined the group and was writing and recording with them. When I asked if I could hear something he said “No, you will hear it, when I want you to hear it”.
His total self-belief even back then set him apart. Liam gave me a demo of the group and told me “it is the best thing you will hear this year”. The hyperbole fell short, if my memory serves me well, it sounded a little like U2. I lost one of the two studio copies they had paid for. Noel was working to pay for the studio time. They rehearsed at a venue called the Boardwalk and they played a number of early shows there to less than enthusiastic crowds. They were raw and unpolished, Liam back then lacked the swagger and grit of his future self, but these things needed to gestate.
I was the DJ at one of their small gigs at the venue when they were on the same bill as ‘That Uncertain Feeling’, a local band who were managed by writer and actor Craig Cash of ‘Royle Family’ fame. He had hired extra lighting to show off his band, but Oasis looked more the part swathed in blue and red and Craig's band disappeared.
I know time warps your memory and it’s like looking back through a prism, but they had that certain je ne sais quoi. They were far from the finished article and we both went away thinking about them. Craig would use ‘Half the World Away’ by Oasis, as the theme to the Royle Family, one of the most successful TV shows in decades.
Their rise came as no surprise but how quickly it happened caught most of us off guard. It seemed like no time had elapsed between those early gigs and their triumphant two nighter at their beloved Maine Road - the former ground of premier league winners Manchester City. I was stood with Slade frontman Noddy Holder as the group performed his song ‘C'mon Feel the Noize’, to an ecstatic stadium filled to the brim with grown men holding their plastic pint pots aloft, full of warm lager, arm in arm singing every word. They are one of the few bands who have this extraordinary connection with their audience. It is one love.
No matter what you think about this band, they connected with their football crowd audience like no other, it was undoubtedly rock for the terraces. These days the sibling rivalry and the shenanigans of Liam Gallagher occupy the front pages but if we could turn back the clocks to a time in British music when everything seemed possible, we probably would. There was an air of expectation and energy of positivity. The everyman could wrap his arms around his mate once again and kiss him on the cheek, while lovingly singing Wonderwall at the top of his voice. Just look at the comeback of the Stone Roses for instance and you can imagine the eventual return of Oasis. It will be like nothing you have witnessed before.
We all knew where we stood, who we listened to and what we were all about. Oasis were the band of the hard man, the working class kid, they were the group from the streets who knew their audience like no other. Oasis gave them a voice and a sense of belonging. They were more than music.
The rallying call has changed but the attitude has not as Liam Gallagher has called on fans to boycott the 20th anniversary reissue of one of the best albums of all time. He took to twitter stating “how can you re-master something that's already been mastered. Don't buy it. Let it be”. He has a point, it was a moment in time that will never be replicated and the album will go down in history as one of the defining records of the nineties.
Liam finished off his comical rant with “the Oasis years. They forgot to mention that Bonehead used to stick fig rolls up his arse. Ha ha X”.
Do we really need to know what went on behind closed doors? Of course we do!
The deluxe box set of Definitely Maybe is reissued on the 19th of May
Check out the current collection and offers from Pretty Green here.