It is exactly 20 years since Oasis released their debut album, Definitely Maybe, so here are some supersonic facts about the record.
1) Definitely Maybe became the UK's fastest-selling debut album of all time, with 86,000 units shifted in the first week alone – a record held until 2006, when Arctic Monkeys released their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Leona Lewis (2007) and Susan Boyle (2009) have since broken the record again. Informed of this, Liam Gallagher would no doubt shrug dismissively and spit back that Definitely Maybe went on to sell 15 million records worldwide – and no one would dare to argue.
2) The artwork for Definitely Maybe warrants scrutiny.
Clockwise from bottom left.
– The large image of Burt Bacharach in the bottom left of the artwork is, first and foremost, a straightforward homage to one of Noel's musical heroes but the positioning of the picture is also significant. It is reminiscent of where Pink Floyd positioned the artwork for the soundtrack to the film, Gigi, on the cover of their 1969 album, Ummagumma. One presumes this was Noel's nod to the prog rockers, rather than the Vincente Minnelli musical film.
– There is a small photograph of Manchester United legend George Best in the window, which was guitarist Bonehead's defiant reminder that not every member of Oasis is a Manchester City fan.
– The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is playing on the television. Noel has since declared that this Clint Eastwood western is one of his favourite films.
– Inevitably, if Bonehead was having a picture of a Manchester United player, the Gallagher brothers were going to have a bigger picture of a Manchester City legend. And who else but Rodney Marsh, the club's record signing, who scored 35 league goals in 116 appearances.
– Nothing too cryptic here, just a nice reference to Definitely Maybe track, Cigarettes and Alcohol.
3) Noel wrote the lyrics to Live Forever (the third single from Definitely Maybe and the band's first top-10 hit) as a direct response to early-Nineties grunge music, which he thought unnecessarily depressing. Fixing his crosshairs on Kurt Cobain's band, Nirvana, Noel said: "It seems to me that here was a guy [Cobain] who had everything, and was miserable about it. And we had f--- all, and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest f---ing thing ever." This cheeriness is certainly reflected in Noel's lyrics: "Maybe I just want to fly, I want to live I don't want to die."
4) Slide Away was due to be released as a fifth single from Definitely Maybe but Noel vetoed the idea, explaining that "You can't have five [singles] off a debut album".
5) Speaking of Slide Away, the song was first written using a guitar which Johnny Marr from The Smiths had given Noel. And it wasn't just any old thing either – Marr gave Noel a 1960 Gibson Les Paul that he himself had bought from The Who's Pete Townshend. "I couldn't give him something dodgy or cheap,” Marr explained. Rumours that the guitar has special powers are, of course, unproven but consider this: a) Marr had used the same guitar to record a number of The Smiths finest records and b) Noel later said: "When I got that guitar, I swear Slide Away seemed to write itself." It should also be said that the guitar was broken during a stage invasion at a 1994 gig in Newcastle. Not so many special powers after all, then.
6) Bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan didn't actually play bass on a single track of Definitely Maybe. As the sessions at both Monnow Valley Studios, near Monmouth, and Sawmills Studios, Cornwall, became increasingly frantic and the results continued to disappoint, Noel re-recorded large sections of the record himself, including all of McGuigan's bass parts. Tony McCarroll, the band's drummer at the time, explained how he found this out to NME: "I never found out about that [McGuigan not featuring on Definitely Maybe] until way down the line. There had been an argument on tour about my drumming and Guigsy told me that he wasn't on there [Definitely Maybe]. I admired him for that."
7) Coca-Cola successfully sued Oasis for $500,000, claiming that Shakermaker, the second single from Definitely Maybe, sounded too similar to the New Seekers's I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony), which they used in their 1971 advertisement.
8) Noel quit the band while touring Definitely Maybe, citing an incident in which Liam struck him with a tambourine on stage. It was to be the first of many bust-ups and walk-outs in the band.
9) The lyrics to the song Married with Children were inspired by Noel's girlfriend at the time, Louise Jones. Fed up of hearing her boyfriend playing the guitar day after day, Jones reportedly told Noel that "your music's shite, it keeps me up all night". The line is quoted verbatim in the song. Noel also confessed to taking inspiration from the American sitcom, Married... with Children. "I looked at them two in the show, and looked at us two, and I thought, that's us, that is!
"It's another song that anybody could relate to, because if you live with a girlfriend or just a flatmate, there are always petty things that you hate about them, and this song's just about pettiness."
10) Liam can't understand why anyone has bothered to release a re-mastered edition of Definitely Maybe to celebrate its 20th anniversary. When the news was announced in February, Liam took to Twitter to say: "HOW CAN YOU REMASTER SOMETHING THATS ALREADY BEING MASTERED. DONT BUY INTO IT. LET IT BE LG X"
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