Looking back at Oasis’ middle child of an album
Kicking up a storm, from the day that I was born.
Let’s flash back to August 1996. Oasis have already played the biggest ever indoor gigs at Earls Court, London and have had 2 triumphant homecoming gigs at the then home of Manchester City.
Setting the Stage.
They were then about to embark on their biggest gigs ever when on Saturday 10 and 11 August 1996 they played the historic Knebworth Park to a total of 250,000 people. On that night fans would hear 2 new tracks from their upcoming album Be Here Now which was released a year later. In hindsight with all the chaos that occurred afterwards it’s a wonder these 2 new tracks ever made it onto a studio album.
At this point in time Oasis were the biggest band in Britain selling out venues at the drop of a hat. In fact 5% of the British public applied for tickets for the Knebworth gigs.
Following these shows it appeared that the band would blow up in a cocaine haize of self destruction and disruption. Cancelled gigs, cancelled tours, an MTV unplugged gig minus a frontman, arrest for the possession of drugs etc etc. In fact many people thought that the band would be splitting for good.
Work commenced on the bands third album in September 1996 at Abbey Road Studios and then Ridge Farm Studios, Surrey. The recording sessions would continue until the end of April 1997 with other events taking place in the meantime such as marriage and a new British Government.
The hype behind this album was immense and expectations were lofty. With all this spotlight could this album deliver.
Thursday 21 August 1997 would be the day that we would see Be Here Now hit the shops. I was going on holiday the day after so I rushed to my local Tesco store (yes tesco) to pick up a copy of the CD. In a weird way this was the Oasis album I was most looking forward to.
The album length of 71 minutes is colossal. In fact there is only one track that is under 4 and a half minutes duration (if you ignore the reprise)
The first single ‘D’You Know What I Mean” is the opening track and is definitely one of the highlights of the album for me with its obvious Beatles references “Fool on The Hill and I Feel Fine” It’s a monster of an opening track.
To me the album is sheer ballsy, don’t give a fuck chin out music. The 2 songs previewed at Knebworth My Big Mouth and It’s Getting Better Man make you feel 10 feet tall when listening to them.
For all its bravado there are the usual tender moments. Stand By Me and Don’t Go Away prove that Noel hasn’t lost the knack of writing a good sing a long anthem. Don’t Go Away ponders the fear of losing someone close to you.
Noels criticism of the album is that there are too many guitar layers on each track and bad lyrics. Certainly there are a lot of rock n roll cliches in some of the lyrics but listening to it in 1997 it sounded perfect. Every pub in Britain had it blasting on their jukeboxes. The album also boasts the longest track ever to reach number one in the UK single charts with All Around The World clocking in at nearly 10 minutes long.
Noel has pretty much disowned this album but this actually is one of my favourite Oasis long players. Loud, brash, pretentious. Love it.
As Liam said ” who’s idea was it for the clock.”
Noels reply “that would be me and that kids is a bad advert for drug abuse”
Words by Lee Bellfield