Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ remains one of the Britpop era’s best-loved and most iconic tracks. But what’s the real story behind the song?
The song was originally titled ‘Wishing Stone’ and began life on a rainy Tuesday night at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Noel had planned to sing the track himself, but eventually gave it to Liam, whose vocals on the track producer Owen Morris hailed as “rasping blues, like he’s smoked 100 cigarettes.”
Liam wasn’t that impressed on first listen. “What do you think you’re doing, dickhead?” he shouted at Noel when the guitarist first presented it at rehearsal, with a different bass line. “Oasis aren’t a funk band.” 19 years later, the frontman’s hardly warmed to it: “Every time I have to sing it I want to gag.”
Noel’s not that enamoured by it, either: “Outside of England, it’s the one song we’re famous for all over the world, and it annoys the fuck out of me. It’s not a fucking rock’n’roll tune. There’s quite a vulnerable statement to it. When people come up to me and say it’s one of the greatest tunes ever written, I think, ‘fucking hell, have you heard ‘Live Forever’’?”
The song was played at the funeral of Leah Betts, a teenager who died in 1995 after taking ecstasy. Oasis also gave permission to use the track in a video reconstruction of her last hours as part of an anti-drug campaign.
The song’s music video won Best Video at the 1996 Brit Awards, as it happens.
One for the sonics enthusiasts. Crank your speakers at the end of the song and you can very faintly hear ‘Supersonic’ being strummed on an acoustic guitar.
Liam’s Beady Eye performed the track at the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony – but had to ask Noel’s permission. The guitarist was also invited to perform but turned down the offer, saying the OTT level of secrecy and security involved was “like the Iran nuclear programme or something.”
Ever heard the Radiohead cover of ‘Wonderwall’? It’s quite something. Liam’s not that bothered by Thom Yorke’s crew, though: he claims he’s never listened to ‘OK Computer’, doesn’t get why they’re famous and after 2011’s ‘The King Of Limbs’, berated them for “writing music about fucking trees.”