Following on from their debut album Definitely Maybe, the weight of expectation on the shoulders of Oasis was incredible as the whole world waited on a follow up from their faultless debut. The Gallagher brothers didn’t feel the pressure though, delivering a soundtrack for a generation with a swagger. When (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was released on October 2nd, 1995, with the aid of Alan McGee’s Creation Records., the Mancunians delivered a ‘tricky second album’ with ease.
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory became one of the defining albums of the Britpop era and remains the sound of a band riding a crest of bristling bravado at the peak of their powers, a group that could only hit gold with every strike of their guitar. Oasis were much more than just a band. For a moment in time, the group influenced an entire nation. The record propelled Oasis from being a crossover indie act to a worldwide rock phenomenon and a milestone in British music history. Morning Glory sold a record-breaking 345,000 copies in its first week, spent ten weeks at number one in the UK Albums Chart and cemented itself as the band’s most commercially successful release.
Following an album like Definitely Maybe is an almost impossible task, there are few albums that define an entire generation. That said, their debut wasn’t just a good album, the record changed the way people spoke, what they listened to, who they listened to and what they looked like. It was all on the line with Morning Glory but they delivered twelve tracks of pure rock ‘n’ roll brilliance.
Take a look at our ranking of the seminal record to celebrate it reaching the milestone of soundtracking people for a quarter of a century. A slight caveat, the two ‘The Swamp Song’ interludes are exempt from the list.
Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory Ranked
10. ‘Hey Now’
‘Hey Now’ being ranked at the bottom of the list is no slight against the track and featuring on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory is an achievement in itself. However, the song doesn’t quite have the same gravitas that the rest of the album.
Noel Gallagher once explained the song’s meaning to Select magazine: “This is about looking back and going, ‘Well, we’ve got where we wanted to be, but it’s been fucking hard work.’ There was a lot of trauma along the way, tools, in America, getting shot of the drummer (Tony McCarroll), and all the rest of it. So, it’s not been as big a laugh as we thought it would be. This song is basically saying, ‘There’s no time for running away now.’”
‘Hello’ is an underwhelming start to the record considering the depth of quality which features elsewhere on the album and, although it does have a chorus the size of Manchester, it doesn’t quite get (What’s The Story) Morning Glory on the front foot.
It sets the expectation for the record at quite a low bar for an opener because of the sheer greatness of the record which then blows you away. It’s still a gut-punching anthem that deserves its place on the record but something has to rank at this position and if ‘Hello’ was on Be Here Now, there’s not a bat in hell’s chance that it would anywhere near so low.
8. ‘She’s Electric’
‘She’s Electric’ is sort of the ‘Digsy’s Dinner’ of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, it’s a daft playful nursery rhyme that Noel nabbed the chorus melody from the theme tune from 1970s UK preschool program You and Me but, despite the farcical lyrics, the song somehow carries a sincerity to it and Liam’s delivery managed to weave it into a thing of beauty.
Noel Gallagher once jokingly said the song is “about a boy who’s got a girlfriend, and he used to go out with her sister, that he fancies her mother, doesn’t get on with her brother, and, as somebody gets her cousin, pregnant, and everybody thinks it was him because he’s a bit of a fucking rum cunt, but it wasn’t. It’s not a true story,” he added. “Is it a true story? I’m saying f**k all, me.”
7. ‘Roll With It’
‘Roll With It’ was picked as the second single from the record, one which saw the track go head to head with Blur hit ‘Country House’ for the top spot and narrowly missed out. It gets the album off to a more anthemic start than ‘Hello’ and helps set the tone for the rest of the record perfectly.
It has that typical Oasis feel to it of being proud of who you are and that swaggering confidence that provides all you need to know about the mindset of these five lads from Manchester. It embodies the spirit of Oasis and their optimistic nature, which made them the band of their generation.
6. ‘Cast No Shadow’
‘Cast No Shadow’ is written about Noel’s former friend The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. The singer apparently burst out crying tears of joy when he first heard it. Though the two men are no longer on speaking terms, the song shows Noel’s softer side and him worrying about a friend who was constantly letting life weigh him down.
It’s a beautiful, tender and delicate track that many people reading will feel that it’s placed unfairly low on the list. But the numerical disadvantage ‘Cast No Shadow’ suffers is directly linked to the album’s potent canon. The song has found its way into becoming one of the most beloved Oasis tracks over the last 25 years, which people hold close to their hearts.
5. ‘Some Might Say’
‘Some Might Say’ is a glorious arm-waving anthem that was designed for huge stadiums. Over the years, the track’s massive chorus would do a great job of ensuring those stadiums were filled with beer-spilling good wishes. It’s the sound of a band who are on top of the world in every sense, musically they oozed greatness and everything they touched turned to gold which then led to even more optimism.
The message of endurance resonated with adolescents across Britain, all of whom felt a powerful connection to the band and hung off every word that came from Liam Gallagher’s voice. ‘Some Might Say’ is an archetypal Oasis song that would go on to define what they were all about and that injection of hope they provided the country with during the mid-1990s.
4. ‘Morning Glory’
‘Morning Glory’ is a rip-roaring sermon that Liam Gallagher believes every word of. Preaching to his very own choir the song always sees the singer in his happy place. “Another sunny afternoon, Walking to the sound of my favourite tune,” is a lyric that shines because of its simplicity, Noel Gallagher wrote in such a relatable manner that gave Oasis this authentic voice and helped distinguish them as the band of the people.
Noel’s thumping solo even all these years later takes you to this state of euphoria when coupled with Liam’s incredible vocal performance which makes it one of the true great Oasis tracks.
‘Wonderwall’ splits opinion and has suffered memeification in the age of social media because of it becoming one of the most overly performed tracks of all time. You know when you hear, “so anyway, here’s ‘Wonderwall’” you’re in for a ropey rendition of Gallagher’s vocal. Even Liam Gallagher has grown sick of it.
“At least there’s no ‘Wonderwall’ on there. I can’t fucking stand that fucking song! Every time I have to sing it I want to gag,” Gallagher said to WENN in 2008. “Problem is, it was a big, big tune for us. You go to America and they’re like: ‘Are you, Mr Wonderwall?’ You want to chin someone,” he added in a way that only he could.
Despite the countless tragic covers of the song which spectacularly fail to capture the greatness of the original and the magic that the Gallagher brother’s created on ‘Wonderwall’, an effort which made the track so ingrained into British culture in the first place. The track is another insight into the more loving, emotional side of the band which is hidden away on most of the record which is why it strikes such a significant chord in hearts far and wide.
2. ‘Champagne Supernova’
Oasis song ‘Champagne Supernova’ is a true piece of art, one that is high up in the echelons of Noel Gallagher’s creations. Liam proves his underrated talent yet again on the number; his mouth isn’t just good for firing off elite insults, his vocals are absolutely immaculate and on ‘Champagne Supernova’. It’s arguably his finest vocal effort on the album.
It’s almost impossible to listen to the album closer without not feeling uplifted and high on just being alive. The beauty of “Someday you will find me, Caught beneath the landslide, In a champagne supernova in the sky,” isn’t only in the almost laughable imagery but the camaraderie the silliness of the song provides.
When speaking to the NME in 1995, Noel Gallagher said this of the track which speaks volumes about why the song is such an exemplary piece of music: “It means different things when I’m in different moods. When I’m in a bad mood being caught beneath a landslide is like being suffocated. The song is a bit of an epic. It’s about when you’re young and you see people in groups and you think about what they did for you and they did nothing.”
1. ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’
‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ was the first-ever Oasis single to feature Noel on vocals and he made sure for his debut on singing duties that he was nabbing the best song from the record. The track continues to add levels of iconography to its notation in the annals of history. Picked up as a unifying anthem over the last difficult few years, as well as being continually sung in sports stadiums around the world the track’s brilliance is impossible to deny. A gargantuan chorus has become an anthem and almost taken on a life of its own, away from Oasis. For that, the band can be truly proud.
The track has become an unofficial national anthem of Britain over the last three decades and would take on a deeper, personal meaning for the people of Manchester when the city united to sing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ in the face of terrorism following the tragedy that occurred at the Manchester Arena in 2017.
It was also Noel’s moment to prove that he wasn’t this Pete Townshend figure who was going to write all the tunes and let someone else take all the limelight. The older Gallagher wrote these songs which have a significant meaning to him and he wants the chance to be the one to sing them in jam-packed football stadiums.