History shows that Country House by Blur beat Roll With It by Oasis to the #1 spot when both singles were released in the same week in August 1995. It also records that in the immediate aftermath, Oasis won the Britop war as the critics adjudged (What’s The Story) Morning Glory as far superior to The Great Escape, a view backed by the general public if sales were anything to go by.

The sad thing of course is that the initial singles battle was fought with two really inferior bits of music, especially when you consider the quality of the follow-ups, neither of which reached #1 despite deserving to do so.

The next single by Oasis was Wonderwall, released on 30 October and considered by many to be as good a song to stall ay #2 as any, and probably the song most associated with the band all these years later

Blur waited a further two weeks before releasing their follow-up and they went with the one truly outstanding track from the parent LP:-

mp3 : Blur – The Universal

It’s a song filled with melancholy and despair. It’s more or less saying, again, that modern life is rubbish and that there’s little chance of that ever-changing. The tune is haunting and moving while the icing on the cake is the truly magnificent video in which the band paid tribute to A Clockwork Orange, a movie which at the time was still impossible to see in the UK as its director, Stanley Kubrick, had had it withdrawn back in 1972 in response to accusations that the film had encouraged copycat acts of violence (the ban wasn’t lifted until after Kubrick’s death in 1999).

It’s a song which, if truth be told, would have been better served by wither being the lead single off the album or else kept off it entirely and released as a stand alone single once the promotional work for the LP had been completed. That way, it might have got what it deserved and not the miserly #5 chart position from where it quickly drifted away while Wonderwall kept selling and selling during a lengthy stay in the charts right up to and beyond Christmas.

The Universal came in 2xCDs, one of which featured four live recordings from a BBC Radio 1 session in September 1995 as part of the promotion of the parent album.

mp3 : Blur – The Universal (live)
mp3 : Blur – Mrs Robinson’s Quango (live)
mp3 : Blur – It Could Be You (live)
mp3 : Blur – Stereotypes (live)



  1. Just one of many many many fine songs by Blur who really were a very creative band. Oasis always seemed to me to be very one-dimensional.

  2. You’re right George and Liam’s a cunt. Though I’ll take the cunt over the smug bastard any day, let’s not forget how utterly pish Country House is. Or how much of a git that cheese maker is either.

  3. Inspired by Blur’s visit to Glasgow earlier this week – one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to – I thought I’d thank you for posting the different versions of these tracks JC. I agree with George and think that Blur were far more versatile and creative than Oasis (though I like them too); I haven’t always liked everything Damon has done but I admire his desire to keep experimenting and moving forward musically, especially with his side projects and solo work.

    Anyway, it was wonderful to see Blur enjoying being on stage at the Barrowlands – the material on The Magic Whip is some of the best work they’ve done and easily stood its ground when played alongside The Universal, Tender, Coffee and TV, Song 2, etc. Immense!

  4. am jealous….no make that am VERY jealous that you picked up a ticket for that gig. Superb band in any live settting never mind one as special as the sweaty and sticky Barrowlands.

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