Wonderwall is a song by English rock band Oasis, written by the band's guitarist and chief songwriter Noel Gallagher. Released as the third single from (What's the Story) Morning Glory? on October 30th 1995.
Wonderwall peaked at number two in the UK Singles Charts and proved to be their American breakthrough, reaching number eight on the Hot 100 and giving them their only top-ten hit in the US thus far.
Wonderwall is perhaps their most popular song, despite the fact that British TV stars Robson & Jerome's "I Believe"/"Up on the Roof" kept it out of the top slot. Wonderwall continues to have enduring popularity in Oasis's canon; as of 2008, it was 76th in the UK's list of best-selling singles, and has now sold over a million copies in single and download sales in the UK, where it went platinum.
The song is included on Oasis's compilation album Stop the Clocks.
The song takes its name from the 1968 album Wonderwall Music by George Harrison, at the time still a member of the Beatles. Harrison's album was in fact a soundtrack to the film Wonderwall, but the film has remained unknown by the general public. The original title of the track was "Wishing Stone".
It is often claimed that "Wonderwall" was written for Gallagher's then-girlfriend, Meg Mathews. Noel married Mathews in 1997, but the couple divorced four years later. Gallagher now claims that the song was not about Mathews at all, but he felt he had to go along with the rumour, saying "The meaning of that song was taken away from me by the media who jumped on it. How do you tell your Mrs it's not about her once she's read it is? It's a song about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself."
The song was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, during a two-week recording of the 'Morning Glory' album in May 1995. According to producer Owen Morris, the song was completed in 6-8 hours.
Morris claimed that Gallagher had presented an alternative arrangement of the song "which had some extra complicated pre-bridge bits that didn't have singing or melody - but just had some chord changes - which seemed completely unnecessary", the night before it was recorded. This idea was quickly shelved.
Noel initially wanted to sing this song on (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, but he gave his brother Liam Gallagher the choice, and Noel ended up singing "Don't Look Back in Anger".
Noel debuted the song on UK TV, backstage at Glastonbury and broadcast on Channel 4 on June 24, 1995. The song wasn't performed by the band during their headline performance the night before.
In August 2002, Noel changed the arrangement of his live performances of the song to a style admittedly heavily-influenced by Ryan Adams' cover version of the song. This arrangement has continued to his most recent live performances of the song. When the full band performs the song live, with electric guitars, it's still in the original style as presented on the record. During the 2008 tour, however the band have return to performing the song in a semi acoustic form.
A live version of the song, recorded at Wembley Stadium in 2000, is featured on the band's live album Familiar To Millions.
In an interview with Q magazine in August 2008, Liam said that he hates performing the song: "I can't stand that fucking song, every time I have to sing it, I want to gag. Problem is 'Wonderwall' was a big big tune for us and so you go to America and they're like, 'Are you Mr Wonderwall?', and you want to chin someone."
The music video to the song was filmed in the relatively brief period when bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan quit the band due to nervous exhaustion; Scott McLeod came in to replace him.
The sleeve artwork was inspired by the paintings of the Belgian surrealist René Magritte, and was shot on Primrose Hill in north London. The hand holding the frame is that of art director Brian Cannon; the woman is Anita Heryet, a Creation Records employee. The original idea was to have Liam in the frame before Noel vetoed that idea whilst the shoot was taking place.
It reached No.2 in the UK charts.
In the US it also peaked at #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart for an unprecedented ten weeks (this amount was later eclipsed in 1998 by Marcy Playground), and reached #8 on the Hot 100.
Awards and accolades
In 1995, "Wonderwall" came in at number one in the national Australian music poll, the Triple J Hottest 100.
The promo video for "Wonderwall", directed by Nigel Dick, won the Best British Video award at the 1996 BRIT Awards.
In the Grammy Awards of 1997 the band received a nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Noel Gallagher picked another nomination for Best Rock Song, winning none.
In 2003, VH1 ranked the song at number 95 in its countdown of the "100 Greatest Songs Of The Past 25 Years."
In May 2005, "Wonderwall" was voted the best British song of all time, in a poll of over 8,500 listeners conducted by Virgin Radio.
The song "Wonderwall" placed 105 of the 3000 top songs of all time on the website acclaimedmusic.net.
In August 2006, "Wonderwall" was named the second-greatest song of all time in a poll conducted by Q Magazine, finishing behind another Oasis song, "Live Forever".
In 2006, U2's guitarist The Edge named "Wonderwall" one of the songs he most wishes he'd written.
In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Wonderwall" at number 27 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.
In December 2007, it came in number 35 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's countdown.
In early 2007, "Wonderwall"'s drumming, provided by Alan White, was voted 90th best drumming track ever in Modern Drummer magazine.