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Looking Back In Appreciation: 25 Years Of Oasis' '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?'

Liam Gallagher and Noel Gallagher of Oasis

Photo by Niels van Iperen/Getty Images

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Looking Back In Appreciation: 25 Years Of Oasis' '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?'

The English group's sophomore sequence built upon the blueprint of 'Definitely Maybe' by doubling down on its bright 1960s reverence, resulting in one of the seminal releases of the 1990s Britpop movement

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2020 - 09:42 pm

Rightly considered one of the eminent forces of 1990s Britpop, Manchester troupe Oasis found sizable acclaim and attention with 1994's Definitely Maybe. Like Radiohead’s Pablo Honey the year before, though, it was a strong but noticeably raucous and rudimentary debut. That said, there was enough potential to assume that its follow-up would feature more refined arrangements, production and songwriting. Fortunately, 1995's (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? offered precisely that.

True, a few songs became too big for their own good (you know the ones); plus, it was a more traditionally retro second effort than, say, Radiohead's innovative and diverse The Bends or the characteristically strange first releases from Oasis’ ostensibly direct rivals, Blur; yet, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was a major step forward for the famously combative Gallagher brothers and crew. Twenty-five years on, it remains a top-notch slice of Britpop wistfulness.

Following the success of Definitely Maybe, Oasis were already showing signs of external triumph and internal turmoil. They’d spent much of 1994 touring and living the typical rock star lifestyle; as a result, the now-legendary tensions between Noel and Liam Gallagher truly began, with a September 1994 show in Los Angeles resulting in Liam throwing a tambourine at his brother, leading to Noel momentarily quitting the band. Thankfully, they reconciled, continued playing gigs, and focused on writing what would become (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?



Predictably, they stayed with Creation Records, and the main quintet from Definitely Maybe carried over here; however, the sequence served as a transitional work in terms of drummers, with founder Tony McCarroll only playing on one track—"Some Might Say"—while his replacement, Alan White, played on everything else. Rather than create in several locations, they stuck to just one place—Rockfield Studios in Wales—and simplified further by using just two returning producers: Noel Gallagher and Owen Morris. By most accounts, the recording sessions were smooth, swift, and fruitful.

In the run-up to release, the press helped Oasis stir up more controversy with Blur. Specifically, both bands issued singles on August 14, 1995, with Blur’s "Country House" quickly outselling Oasis’ "Roll With It" by about 50,000 copies. In response, Noel told The Observer the following month that he wished members of Blur would "catch AIDS and die." He issued an apology shortly thereafter, but the remark continued to serve as a chief example of Oasis’ well-known bitterness.



Despite all of that disorder, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? outdid its predecessor commercially. In fact, it sold nearly 350,000 copies in its first week alone and entered the U.K. charts at No. 1. (It remained at the top of the charts for the rest of the year and eventually became one of the best-selling U.K. albums of ever.) Comparably, it reached #4 on the Billboard 200, with six singles being out out between April 1995 and May 1996. It also fared quite well in Canada, Sweden, New Zealand and elsewhere, so it’s fair to say that the LP was a global hit.

It’s a bit ironic, then, that initial critical reviewers weren’t entirely enthusiastic, with publications like Q, the Chicago Tribune, Melody Maker and The Independent voicing significant gripes. In contrast, Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, NME, and Rolling Stone were more positive. Of course, the record is now considered a classic, with a high ranking in several articles and books about the greatest albums of all time. It even won "British Album of 30 Years" at the 2010 Brit Awards.  



Although other releases from back then may have pushed more boundaries, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? still shines in terms of recalling the splendor of the 1960s British Invasion within a modern edge. For instance, "Roll with It"—with its poppy melodies, backing chants and twangy guitar strums—sounds like a lost Lennon tune from Help! or Rubber Soul. The same can be said for the brighter and more playful "She’s Electric"; the dreamily epic "Cast No Shadows"; and the decidedly biting and symphonic "Hey Now!" That’s not to say that Oasis were being too derivative—rather, they incorporated such homages into an irresistibly invigorating and poignant new stew.

Similarly, the immensely popular "Wonderwall," "Don’t Look Back in Anger" and "Champagne Supernova" are still among the best tunes from the Britpop era. In particular, "Wonderwall" is a quintessential example of a 1990s acoustic rock ode complemented by strings, with a lovely juxtaposition of hip verses and compelling choruses. The piano-led "Don’t Look Back in Anger"—their first single with Noel on lead vocals—is just as gripping yet even more nuanced, touching and charming. As for "Champagne Supernova," its cryptically poet lyricism and fiery guitarwork (courtesy of Paul Weller) taps into 1970s classic rock while also harnessing the optimism and softness of the previous decade’s folky warmth.  



Even the unruliest tunes—"Hello," "Some Might Say" and “Morning Glory”—manage to conjure Definitely Maybe whilst showcasing advanced techniques. The hooks are bigger, the layers are denser and the scopes are larger. There are also the two "Untitled" entries (a.k.a "The Swamp Song—Excerpt 1" and "Excerpt 2"): the first is a quick and relatively abstract interlude full of vibrant post-punk carnage, while the second cleverly reprises its forebearer beneath the soothing sounds of water. Sure, they may not be significant when heard in isolation, but the ways in which they tie together—as well as how they segue in and out of the tracks around them—give the LP a stronger sense of continuity and ambition.

Two-and-a-half decades later, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is still a great record. At the time, it propelled Oasis further creatively, commercially, and—at least to an extent—critically, all the while dominating the high school hangouts and dorm room memories of countless Gen Y fans. Thus, it’s a significant time capsule as much as it is a superb piece of entertainment, and while real-life incidents may have marginally marred our nostalgia for it, when considered outside of that drama, it’s well worth looking back in appreciation.

Florence + The Machine To Open For Rolling Stones On Summer Tour

Florence Welch

Photo: David M Benett/Getty Images

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Florence + The Machine To Open For Rolling Stones On Summer Tour

The Stones also enlist Liam Gallagher, James Bay, Richard Ashcroft, Elbow, and more for summer U.K. tour

GRAMMYs/Apr 24, 2018 - 07:05 pm

When the Rolling Stones head out across the U.K. this summer, they'll be tapping some of the best British rock and pop acts around as openers, starting with two shows in London with GRAMMY nominees Liam Gallagher on opening night and Florence + The Machine the second night.

Additional openers for the tour include the Vaccines, the Specials, Richard Ashcroft, Elbow, and James Bay.

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine tweeted her excitement and appreciation for the opportunity, saying, "We are so excited to be supporting the Rolling Stones," she wrote. "It is a huge honour to be playing with one of our biggest influences."

Gallagher also tweeted his gratitude and praise for the band, saying, "It's a dream come true to be asked to open for The Mighty Rolling Stones - the best Rock n Roll band EVER."

The Stones' No Filter tour has been rolling since last year and will extend into Ireland, Germany, France the Czech Republic and Poland. A full list of dates and ticket information can be found via the band's website.

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The Magic Of ESSENCE 25th Anniversary Celebration: "It's Like A Family Reunion Even Though You Don't Know Everybody Here"

Mary J. Blige

Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

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The Magic Of ESSENCE 25th Anniversary Celebration: "It's Like A Family Reunion Even Though You Don't Know Everybody Here"

"Being able to celebrate black culture at this magnitude means everything because we've never had anything like this," MC Lyte said

GRAMMYs/Jul 9, 2019 - 04:57 am

New Orleans' Central Business District looked starkly different Monday morning as city locals hurried to work in ties and business attire. Gone were the crowds of people walking around in the heat of the southern city in their most fabulous summer outfits as R&B, hip-hop, soul and more took over the Big Easy's Superdome once again for ESSENCE Fest 25th anniversary

This year locals and those from far and wide came together to watch performances from iconic artists like Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige and hitmakers like Pharrell Williams and Timbaland to emerging artists like Normani and H.E.R at the biggest festival celebration of black culture in the country that took place July 5–7. But the festival was more than just music, it was a space where conversations around food, politics, business and more.  

While the fest has happened in New Orleans since its inception, this year was different for great reason. The fest, born out of ESSENCE magazine aimed mostly to its black female readership, celebrated 25 years of brining different parts of black culture under one roof and the musical artists performing reflected on the milestone. MC Lyte, who curated one of the ESSENCE events that took over the venues all over the city, with women in hip-hop broke down why the fest means so much. 

"Being able to celebrate black culture at this magnitude means everything because we've never had anything like this. Growing up, we certainly didn;t at least in my era and even now to date. The ESSENCE Music Festival is truly one of a kind," she said. 

For some performers like New Orleans native  PJ Morton, the 25th anniversary was a very special moment as it brought him back full-circle.  

"I've been going to this festival since I was 14 years old and really changed my life as far as wanting to be a musician and seeing how it was presented, " he said. "When ESSENCE asked me to be a part [of the festival] again, I said 'I just don't want to play it again, I've played it before, let's do something special. Especially to kind of commemorate all these things, winning the GRAMMY award this year and me being able to come home. Part of winning that GRAMMY and writing those songs and making that album was me leaving L.A. and moving back home to new Orleans three years ago, so for me it was just a perfect full-circle moment to do a recording."

The singer made history during the night of his performance by recording a live album at the fest for the first time ever.

But he wasn't the only local with special ties to the fest. Rising star Normani, also a big easy native and first time performer at the fest, shared why the fest is so special to her.

"I'm grateful that I can finally be a part of it. For as long as I can remember growing up ESSENCE was ESSENCE and it's just really coolfor me to be a prt of it. My grandmother, she came, my nanny came,  my uncles they came out too and it's beautiful for me to be able to really represent my city in such a way, she said."

The opportunity to talk and have conversations with other women in particular is what excites singer Mumu Fresh the most about the festival. "[Women] who are affirming you and just sharing their stories."

"It's like a family reunion even though you don't know everybody here.They've shared your experience and everyone's just loving and gorgeous, all day long I've been walking by strangers who have been like 'YES hair, YES shoes YES face' and I'm like 'Awww heeyy, you too.' It's really fun, it's really beautiful."

NAO Talks Vulnerability & Being Black And British At ESSENCE Fest

Lollapalooza 2017 After-Parties: A Mix Of Late-Night Music And Fun

Frenship at Lolla 2017 after-party

Photo: Jacklyn Krol/Recording Academy

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Lollapalooza 2017 After-Parties: A Mix Of Late-Night Music And Fun

Artists and music fans keep the Lollapalooza spirit alive after-hours at Chicago venues like Headquarters Beercade, Metro, Park West, Schubas Tavern, and Vic Theatre

GRAMMYs/Aug 6, 2017 - 02:36 am

For Lollapalooza, the saying goes "after the party is the after-party." With more than 50 after-party shows at 22 Chicago venues throughout the weekend, it seems the party never ends.

For fans not lucky enough to snag tickets to the festival, after-parties are an experience that provide fans special — and sometimes secret — indoor sets from major and emerging artists alike. Indeed, a big portion of the fans attending these shows at venues around Chicago aren't attending Lollapalooza, instead opting to pick and choose from a menu of more intimate after-shows.

Sometimes, performing at an after-party doesn't necessarily mean you're playing the actual festival. Only days prior to their actual show, the Foo Fighters announced a surprise Aug. 4 show at the 1,100-capacity Metro. The band performed for an unprecedented three-and-a-half hours to screaming fans. "Tonight we're going to try and break our record for the longest show ever," joked Dave Grohl onstage. Even after the concert began, a line of patient fans stood outside just to try to catch a glimpse of the GRAMMY-winning band and hear the songs from outside the venue.

Foster The People held court with a DJ set at a special after-party at Headquarters Beercade, a bar with arcade games. The band also played a second after-show, performing at The Vic to a sold-out audience, playing songs off their latest album Sacred Hearts Club.

Foster The People On "Using Joy As A Weapon" On Sacred Hearts Club

Ahead of his short 20-minute Lollapalooza set on Thursday, Liam Gallagher played a full-band set at Park West to a rowdy and enthused crowd, with some lining up as early as 5 a.m. The hour-long after-party set was ripe with solo favorites as well as Oasis hits, including "Be Here Now" and "Morning Glory."  His opening act was none other than U.K. indie pop band Blossoms, fresh off their Lollapalooza debut.

Besides the headliners, notable newcomers are liable to take various after-party stages. Case in point: Singer/songwriter Mondo Cozmo, who performed with fellow newcomer Billy Raffou, at Schubas Tavern to a packed house and vibrant audience. This was the first time Mondo Cozmo — Josh Ostrander —played his entire debut album in full. Canadian singer/songwriter Raffoul performed his singles "Dark Four Door" and "Driver," garnering an exuberant fan reaction.

Frenship — comprising James Sunderland and Brett Hite — kicked off Tegan And Sara's Aug. 3 show at Park West to a filled room. Frenship was able to whip the crowd into such a frenzy that by the end of the set people chanted, "More!" Following their after-party performance, the indie pop duo is set to continue work on their full-length debut album, with some songs being tested during their after-party performance set.

Whether it's your first Lollapalooza or you're a repeat attendee, an after-party show can surely be as fun as the main event. And while some shows, like the Foo Fighters' marathon set at Metro, can run into the wee hours of the morning, they can make your Lollapalooza memories all the more epic.

More Lollapalooza: Atlas Genius Talk Touring, "63 Days" Single

(Photo: Frenship perform at Park West on Aug. 3; Photo: Jacklyn Krol/The Recording Academy)

The Week In Music: Russell Brand Is Going For The Gold
Russell Brand

Photo: Jerod Harris/WireImage.com

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The Week In Music: Russell Brand Is Going For The Gold

Comedian/actor to sing Sex Pistols and Beatles songs at the closing ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Starting July 27, the world's finest athletes from Angola to Zambia will compete for the gold, silver and bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Once the fierce competition is over, all will bask in the glory of the Olympics' closing ceremonies, where some of music's finest will take over and perform during a concert extravaganza titled A Symphony Of British Music. The concert will feature performances exclusively from British artists, including Queen, Take That, Annie Lennox, George Michael, and Russell Brand, among others. Yes, you read correctly, Russell Brand. According to a Mirror report, the actor/comedian will sing a "comedy version" of the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant" in full punk regalia and also perform a rendition of the Beatles' "I Am The Walrus." We here at TWIM are looking forward to his performance and the spectacle, but some are wondering what kind of reaction Katy Perry's ex-husband will receive. "No one knows if Brand can sing and his drugs past makes him a surprising choice for an occasion that's all about health, sport and keeping fit," said an anonymous Olympics organizing committee member. "He could well clear the stadium."

Staying abroad, in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the UK's Official Singles Chart, the Official Charts Company recently conducted a poll in a bid to find the nation's favorite No. 1 hit. Arguably, the smart money for the top spot would have been on the Fab Four from Liverpool, but voters had different ideas. Placing second was the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, with "Billie Jean," followed by Adele's "Someone Like You" at No. 3 and Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger" at No. 4. The Beatles did round out the top five with Paul McCartney's classic sing-along ballad "Hey Jude." Coming in at No. 1? Queen's signature chestnut "Bohemian Rhapsody," which features the soaring vocals of Freddie Mercury and tasty riffs courtesy of guitarist Brian May. Poker clichés notwithstanding, it would seem queens definitely trump kings.

After a successful two-weekend stay in April under the sun in Indio, Calif., the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is swapping the California desert for the Caribbean Sea (if only for a month) as the inaugural S.S. Coachella cruise is preparing to set sail in December. The music voyage will offer fans a choice between two destinations — a trip to the Bahamas from Dec. 16–19, or a visit to Jamaica from Dec. 19–23. Artists set to perform on both excursions include a plethora of indie pop and dance/electronica acts, including Pulp, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk, Sleigh Bells, and a DJ set from LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, among others. Aside from the music, there will also be plenty of onboard activities to keep guests happy, including live DJ tutorials, wine tasting with Murphy, arts and crafts workshops, and a Dear Diary session where attendees will share their juiciest young adulthood secrets. Not a fan of the sea? You can still attend the civilian Coachella festival in April 2013.

With the recent departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from "American Idol," the reality TV show is on the hunt for new judges, and they could be looking at adding a soulful songstress and a volatile actor. According to a report, GRAMMY winner Aretha Franklin and onscreen "winner" Charlie Sheen could be on tap to judge the next season of "American Idol." While some (read: Kathie Lee Gifford) may think Franklin is an odd choice to judge the hit reality TV series, Franklin says her audience and fans "span the age of 8 to 90. … I could enjoy being a judge for a season or two. Let's kick it up a few notches and have a slammin', jammin' season." As for Sheen, he was presented with the idea when show producer Nigel Lythgoe threw his name into the mix. "It seems so out of the blue that it almost made perfect sense," said Sheen in a recent interview on Ryan Seacrest's Los Angeles-based radio show. "Seriously … I'm genuinely interested. It's so different, it could be radical." While details on the new "Idol" judges are still being worked out, if Sheen does end up joining the show, we think a name change to "Winning American Idol" is in order.  

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is tops on the Billboard Hot 100 and Jason Aldean's "Take A Little Ride" is No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.                                                            

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