‘D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?’, 1994 (Shakermaker)
It’s 20 years since Oasis formed and to celebrate we’re rounding up the 20 best B-sides from the band. And first up, the pick of the crop from their debut single, this jolly, optimistic strummer.
‘Cloudburst’, 1994 (‘Live Forever’)
Oasis at their most psychedelic, all waves of fuzzy guitar in that nodded back to the baggy era just a few years before, but with all the spirit and confidence in Liam’s vocal that marked them out as something really special.
‘Acquiesce’, 1995 (‘Some Might Say’)
“Because we need each other, we believe in one another.” Liam and Noel’s brotherly bond has been the most explosive love-hate saga in modern music. But their fiery connection was immortalised in this cloudbursting classic.
‘Headshrinker’, 1995 (‘Some Might Say’)
Incredibly, the third B-side from ‘Some Might Say’ was another stone cold classic. This time they leaned towards punk and fuzz, rocking probably harder than they ever would again, as Liam sang an impassioned plea to an impossible girl.
‘Round Are Way’, 1995 (‘Wonderwall’)
And in contrast, the other gem from the ‘Wonderwall’ package was this impossibly joyful romp, all soaring brass sections and “la la las” as Liam roars, “the birds sing for ya, ‘cause they already know ya!” The mis-spelling was inspired by Slade.
‘Stay Young’, 1997 (‘D’You Know What I Mean?’)
‘Be Here Now’ might have marked the onset of drab excess into the Oasis canon, but you wouldn’t have known it from the upbeat rock’n’roll nursery rhyme that backed its lead single, “Hey, stay young and invincible!”
‘Angel Child’, 1977 (‘D’You Know What I Mean?’)
The other B-side from the first single from the third album is in just as stark a contrast to the lurching A-side. A simple stripped down demo with a Noel vocal in the vein of the early days, it’s a shame it was never recorded in a complete version.
‘Going Nowhere’, 1997 (‘Stand By Me’)
But elsewhere, it was obvious that things were starting to get to Noel. There’s a gorgeous Bacharach quality going on, but there’s a desperation that’s quite out of character. It’s actually the sound of a mid-life crisis, “gonna get me a motor car… wanna be wild ‘cause my life’s so tame… here am I growing older in the rain.”
‘(As Long As They’ve Got) Cigarettes In Hell’, 2000 (‘Go Let It Out’)
Just as on this second track from the same package, the kind of ballad that Noel still excels in on his own, but there was a more experimental aura to this low-key reflection on mortality: “I don’t mind not going to heaven as log as they’ve got cigarettes in hell.”