In the annals of music history, few songs have reached the iconic status of Oasis’s “Wonderwall.” This 1995 hit single from their album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? has become a timeless classic, instantly recognizable by its opening chords.
It’s a song that has resonated with millions of fans worldwide and has, in many ways, defined the Britpop era. However, what may surprise you is that the very person who would become the voice of this anthem, Liam Gallagher, initially loathed it.
This year marks the 28th anniversary of the release of Oasis’s seminal album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Released in 1995, this album catapulted the Manchester band to stardom and solidified their position as one of the most influential figures in the Britpop movement. The album included several hit singles like “Roll with It,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” and, of course, “Wonderwall.”
“Wonderwall” is a song that needs no introduction. Its melodic charm and heartfelt lyrics have made it a timeless classic. But what’s interesting is the story behind its creation. Noel Gallagher, the band’s primary songwriter and former guitarist, penned most of Oasis’s songs. He recently recalled the moment he presented “Wonderwall” to his younger brother Liam, who was the lead vocalist.
In 2021, Noel shared with MOJO magazine an intriguing tidbit about the creation of “Wonderwall.” He revealed that Liam didn’t exactly embrace the song at first. In fact, Liam compared it to the music of Bristol-based artists such as Portishead and Massive Attack. When asked if there was a clear division of who would sing which song, Noel explained, “The only time I laid down the law was Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back In Anger.”
He continued, “I was so frustrated with him walking off stage and me having to take over and do the gig. I remember thinking, if I’m going to do this, I want a big song to sing. I said, ‘You’re singing one or the other, but not both.’ He hated Wonderwall. He said it was trip-hop. There speaks a man who’s never heard trip-hop.”
Surprisingly, Liam’s initial reaction to “Wonderwall” was far from the adoration it receives today. According to Far Out Magazine, Liam admitted, “I didn’t like it at first, I thought it was a little funky.” Even Bonehead, the band’s former guitarist, chimed in, suggesting that it sounded more like “reggae” than the Britpop anthem it would become.
Even more intriguing is that Noel himself has stated that “Wonderwall” is one of his least favorite Oasis songs because he considers it “unfinished.” He once shared with MOJO magazine, “Wonderwall is one of my least favorite songs because it’s not finished. If I could somehow twist time and go back there, I’d probably pick a different song for our calling card. Probably ‘Some Might Say.’”
Despite the initial skepticism from both Liam and Noel, “Wonderwall” has gone on to achieve incredible heights in the music world. It remains one of the most-streamed songs of the 1990s, hitting an astonishing one billion streams. But why has this particular song achieved such longevity and adoration?
The enduring appeal of “Wonderwall” lies in its simplicity and relatability. The song’s lyrics touch upon themes of love, longing, and vulnerability, making it universally relatable. The acoustic guitar-driven melody, accompanied by Liam Gallagher’s distinctive vocals, creates a powerful emotional connection with listeners.
The song’s universal themes have allowed it to transcend generational boundaries. It’s a song that can be appreciated by fans of all ages, from those who experienced the Britpop era firsthand to younger generations discovering it through various media.
Beyond its lyrical and melodic qualities, “Wonderwall” played a pivotal role in defining the Britpop era. Oasis, as a band, embodied the spirit of the mid-’90s British music scene. Their music resonated with a generation that was seeking anthems to call their own, and “Wonderwall” became the anthem of that era.
In the end, the story of Liam Gallagher’s initial disapproval of “Wonderwall” serves as a testament to the unpredictable nature of music. Sometimes, even the most iconic songs face skepticism and resistance before they find their rightful place in the hearts of fans worldwide. “Wonderwall” is a reminder that great music can often defy expectations and go on to become timeless classics.
So, the next time you listen to the opening chords of “Wonderwall,” remember that even Liam Gallagher himself didn’t immediately recognize the magic within this song. Yet, it has become an anthem that continues to resonate with music lovers across the globe, proving that sometimes, the most unexpected gems can shine the brightest.