10 October 2015

On This Day In Oasis History...

"Cigarettes & Alcohol" is a song by Oasis, written by Noel Gallagher. It was released as the fourth single from their debut album Definitely Maybe, and their second to enter the UK top ten in the United Kingdom, peaking at #7 (three places higher than "Live Forever"), eventually spending 35 weeks on the charts, re-entering the Top 75 on several occasions until 1997. The single was released in the UK on October 10th 1994


Whereas earlier singles "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker" had used psychedelic imagery, and "Live Forever" used softer chords and tender lyrics, "Cigarettes & Alcohol" was the first real taste of the wilder attitude that Oasis appeared to be promoting. The song proclaims the inherent appeal of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs as a remedy to the banality and seemingly futile nature of the working class life. Lyrics such as "Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?" taps into the common sentiment of western disenchantment that was particularly common in the mid-1990s.

Upon first hearing the song, the man who discovered the band, Alan McGee, claimed that the song was one of the greatest social statements anyone had made in the past 25 years.

Track listings


"Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:48
"I Am the Walrus" (live) – 8:15
"Listen Up" – 6:39
"Fade Away" – 4:13

7" CRE 190

"Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:48
"I Am the Walrus" (live) – 8:15

12" CRE 190T

"Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:48
"I Am the Walrus" (live) – 8:15
"Fade Away" – 4:13

Cassette CRECS 190

"Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:50
"I Am the Walrus" (live) – 8:15

Contrary to the sleeve notes, which claimed it was recorded at the Glasgow Cathouse in June 1994, "I Am the Walrus" was actually recorded at a soundcheck for a gig at the Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland on 6 February 1994, as part of a Sony Music seminar. The reason why this wasn't mentioned on the original sleevenotes is that Noel thought mentioning the fact that it was recorded at a corporate event would "look shit". The crowd noises at the beginning and end of the track are from a Faces bootleg of Noel's.

The single is the first Oasis release to feature the inclusion of a song not written by Noel Gallagher.

Noel in the Lock the Box interview says "I remember writing it in my flat in Manchester, and two guys used to live above me, and in those days, being the fucking geezer that I was, I used to write on the electric guitar with my amp in the fucking room, in a block of flats, on ten, and one of the guys passed me on the stairs and said "You're not gonna fucking write a song to that riff are you? That's fucking rubbish" and I was going "Listen fat arse, that's gonna be fucking amazing when it comes out"."

Noel has also said of "Cigarettes and Alcohol", "That song keeps getting better and better for me."

Noel claims that when they released "Cigarettes and Alcohol", he realised how big they were going to be. He said in an interview that "that was the moment when we realised we should belt up, it's gonna get a bit mad from here on in."

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