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.