IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (54)

Controversial?

I think much of the critical reaction to Oasis is driven by what happened after, in terms of them being the derivative all-lads together, sing-a-long-at-festivals and the legacy of every subsequent guitar band to emerge out of the UK being lauded/branded as their successors.

Oh, and the fact that the constant fall-outs between Liam and Noel Gallagher all too often seemed pre-meditated, designed in the main to garner column inches in the tabloid newspapers for whom they were something of a godsend.

One thing worth remembering is that Oasis were something of a slightly slow burner to begin with.  The debut single didn’t crack the Top 30.  The follow-up stalled at #11.  The third single was a slightly bigger success in that it reached #10.  These were released in April, June and August 1994, in advance of the debut album Definitely Maybe.

They were a band who paid their dues in 1994.  This is a comprehensive list of the cities and towns they played in between 23 March and 18 June, just prior to their first appearance at Glastonbury:-

Bedford, London, Tunbridge Wells, Oxford, Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol, Bath, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Middlesbrough, Stoke-on-Trent, Leeds, Liverpool, Kingston upon Hull, Coventry, Portsmouth, Newport, Derby, Leicester, Windsor, Northampton, Chelmsford, Cambridge, London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Cardiff, Ilford, Norwich, London, Manchester, Preston and Glasgow.

The venues were all small or medium-sized, the sorts of places that bands go to in the hope of creating a bit of a buzz and attracting an ever-increasing fanbase.

Things really did change dramatically after the debut album, with a #1 single before the horribly manufactured Britpop fight with Blur in which the Mancunians would lose the battle to have a single go straight to #1 but would win the so-called war as (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? went on to sell 5 million copies in the UK and 22 million copies worldwide.

Supersonic did sound quite different from the norm in April 1994 and, for my money, is a very worthy debut. I’d never, however, have predicted what would happen next……

mp3: Oasis – Supersonic

As would become the norm, Oasis provided three other tracks on the CD single, with these b-sides usually being previously unreleased numbers, along with the occasional cover. The thought of the single being given any sort of remix treatment was frowned upon:-

mp3: Oasis – Take Me Away
mp3: Oasis – I Will Believe (live)
mp3: Oasis – Columbia (white label demo)

In this instance, none of the b-sides can be labelled as classics or fan-favourites, a situation that would soon change with some of the most popular and enduring Oasis songs being sneaked out quietly and without fanfare, with one or more b-sides often being superior to the actual single.

Supersonic entered the charts in at #31. It would drop out of the Top 75 within two weeks, although such would be the mania around Oasis that fans would continue to buy the single in reasonable numbers over an extended period, with the result that it actually spent 60 weeks in the Top 100 all-told, including a remarkable 30 weeks from November 95 to June 96, on the back of the success of Morning Glory.

Incidentally, in an era when CD was king, Creation Records did press up a smallish number of copies of Supersonic on 7″ and 12″ vinyl, which now fetch around £50 – £75, even if not considered a mint copy.

JC

8 thoughts on “IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (54)

  1. It always seems a shame that the early singles – and indeed the debut album – have tended to be overshadowed by the later dirges and the way the music was taken up by “blokes”. I still love to listen to “Definitely Maybe” occasionally and almost wish they had split then. Practically everything after “What’s the Story…” would qualify as landfill! Mind you, given how many copies they sold, how big would the pit have to be?

  2. One of the best debut singles of the last thirty years if you ask me. Why hasn’t anyone done an Oasis ICA?

  3. First heard this CD single one lunch hour at Harry’s Records in Cheadle, where Harry (not his real name) had waited for me to rock up before he played it. On first listen, we both thought Columbia was the strongest track, but all were undeniably good. I still rate that version of Columbia. No idea what Harry thinks – the shop closed in 1998 and I have never seen him since.

  4. A great big new sound at just the right time. Kurt Cobain died by suicide less than a week before Supersonic’s release. The music world needed new heroes and a new movement as grunge’s moment was fading. It didn’t matter that the lyrics were idiotic, and no one knew how ridiculous the Gallagher brothers would behave in short order. Great single, great debut album, followed by a classic album (loaded with more idiotic lyrics), then a downward spiral. But what a way to start!

  5. A great debut single to precede a powerful and excellent first album.
    The seemingly constant media around the brothers quickly became
    irritating but, as DAM already stated, it shouldn’t detract from the
    quality of these formative releases.

  6. I saw a couple of the early shows and they really were a lightning rod for something magical that was ‘about to happen’ it all went lowest common denominator very quickly after The debut album. Even though the B-Sides were the goldmine.

  7. Honestly, Oasis did – and still do – nothing for me. I only really took an interest once the “remix treatment” took hold, particularly the epic Amorphous Androgynous re-imagining of Falling Down.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.