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Sunday, April 01, 2012

You're My Wonderwall

I have always said that high school was a tough go for me, but weirdly enough, some of my favourite music has come out of that time period.

The early years of high school, that is.

I began high school in September 1995, which I felt was a great time for music.  It was just before the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys had made it big, and it was just after the grunge movement.  It was a great time to be a fourteen year old boy.

I still remember the plethora of artists who had songs charting at the time both on radio, as well as MuchMusic.  Blur, Pulp, Garbage, Luscious Jackson, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, R.E.M., Gin Blossoms, Bush, and No Doubt were a huge part of my grade nine soundtrack, and I still listen to these artists today in 2012.

And then there’s today’s Sunday Jukebox spotlight by a British act, which ended up becoming one of the biggest selling singles by the band, and was one of the most requested songs of late 1995.

I’ll just get into a bit about how much the song meant to me.  To me, it was a song that really helped me cope with the hardships that I went through my freshman year.  It’s no secret that for a lot of us, the ninth grade is a very stressful year.  Most of us are in a brand new school with brand new teachers and brand new classmates.  It can be a difficult situation for anybody to be faced with.  I know it was for me.  This song is probably the best example that I can think of to describe that time.  And, what made it even more poignant was the intended meaning behind the song (which was different from what a lot of other people had initially thought).

So, would you like to listen to this song that inspired me?  Here it is below.


You know I had to sneak ONE April Fools Day joke in here somewhere, didn’t you?

Okay, okay.  Here’s the REAL version.

ARTIST:  Oasis
SONG:  Wonderwall
ALBUM:  (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
DATE RELEASED:  October 30, 1995

“Wonderwall” was a song that proved to be very successful for the rock band, Oasis.  Recorded in May 1995, the song hit number one in thirteen countries, and remained a hit well into the first half of 1996.  It won the Brit Award for Best Music Video in 1996, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards the following year.  A poll hosted by Virgin Radio in 2005 listed “Wonderwall” as the best British song of all time, and a few people (including Blur’s Alex James and U2’s ‘The Edge’) have gone on record as saying that they had wished they had written the song themselves.

Certainly, “Wonderwall” was a powerful and moving song.  It’s perhaps one of the band’s best songs, in my opinion.  And the song itself was melodic, light, and serene, if not haunting, which is ironic when you consider the fact that Oasis was known for being one of the most dysfunctional bands in the public eye.

Forming in 1991, the band was composed of brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs, Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan, and Tony McCarroll.

TRIVIA:  The band originally went by the name of “The Rain”.  The name was changed after a suggestion by Liam Gallagher, who was inspired by a concert venue listed on a poster advertising the band “Inspiral Carpets”.

During the band’s early years, they struggled to find an audience, but upon the release of their debut album, “Definitely Maybe”, the band’s popularity soon exploded in the United Kingdom.

However, as the band’s popularity continued to rise, so did the tension between the bandmates.  The Gallagher brothers were more often than not the cause of most of the tension.  Most of the band’s negative publicity surrounded Liam and/or Noel, and some examples of this include the following.

-      Liam getting high before a September 1994 concert in San Francisco which lead to him insulting the American audience and attacking Noel with a tambourine

-      Unceremoniously firing Tony McCarroll after a personality conflict in early 1995

-      Getting involved in a rivalry with Blur, which lead to Noel angrily blurting out in an interview that he hoped that members of  Blur would get AIDS

-      Liam spewing beer on stage and making naughty gestures at Noel during their performance at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards

-      Liam and Noel fighting during the recording of 1997’s “Be Here Now”

-      Noel getting attacked by an audience member at 2008’s Virgin Festival in Toronto, leaving him with busted ribs

And, perhaps the most defining moment?  August 28, 2009.  Another fight had broken out between Liam and Noel, but this time, it got extremely personal.  Liam reportedly smashed Noel’s guitar backstage, which lead to their cancelling their appearance at a Parisian rock festival, and ultimately the end of their European tour.  Just two hours later, Noel resigned from the band.

Therefore, I guess it can be safe to say that Oasis was probably a band that had a lot of problems. 

Despite all of their bad judgments, violent tendencies, and tasteless comments, I still have to admit that “Wonderwall” remains one of my favourite songs of the 1990s, if not all time.

The song was written by Noel Gallagher.  Initially, Gallagher had said that the subject of the song was about his girlfriend at the time, Meg Matthews.  But after they had been married and divorced, Gallgher changed his tune, instead stating that the song was “about an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself.”

At this point, I’m not sure which explanation I can believe, but for the sake of argument, let’s apply theory number two to my situation.

I always felt going through school that the temptation to make terrible choices was always out there.  Experimentation with drugs.  Binge drinking.  Underage sex. 

And yet, I never did any of those things.  It’s hard to explain it, but I think that my conscience was working overtime during high school.  Whenever I was tempted to try drugs or alcohol in high school, there was this persistent voice in my ear telling me “Don’t do that!”

It was almost as if it were some imaginary friend trying to let me know that if I went down the path, it would cause me more harm than good. 

So, I listened, and I’m still living the sober life (aside from a couple of beers every now and again, but I am well aware of my limitations).

I often wonder if maybe Oasis wouldn’t have had such a hard go of it if they had imaginary friends of their own hovering over them.  If they had them, perhaps Liam wouldn’t have smashed Noel’s guitar, leading to Noel departing Oasis.  Maybe if the Gallagher brothers had an imaginary friend who tried to save Noel from himself, he wouldn’t have made those disgusting comments about the members of Blur.  Or maybe Liam wouldn’t have made a public spectacle of himself during various award shows.

There’s a saying that exists.  Let your conscience be your guide.  I think that phrase could be the meaning behind Oasis’ popular single “Wonderwall”.  It’s a phrase that I take great influence from.  It’s also a phrase that perhaps the Gallagher brothers from Oasis should have had tattooed to them somewhere.

A little food for thought this first day of April.

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