25-years ago today, 4-days after catching the band for the first time at the Tramway where they supported label mates The Boo Radleys as part of Radio 1's Sound City, I walked up to HMV in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, during my lunch hour to buy Supersonic, the debut single by Oasis.
I was falling for the band big time and was eager to explore the 4-tracks on the CD single, I also bought the 7-inch the following week and continued to collect both through the bands career.
Pre internet, iTunes and streaming etc, you could only hear songs live, on the radio or if you bought them. It is a time I often reminisce about, there was a sense of anticipation and eagerness around a release and I spent much more time with releases and albums than I admit to doing these days. You had to, you had invested in them, you took a chance or believed in a band. You followed and supported them like a football team. Thankfully I've supported a lot of bands that I fell for in my teens through to the present day and they have largely rewarded me.
The music weeklies had described Oasis as a cross between Happy Mondays and Sex Pistols and Supersonic lived up to that comparison. Starting with a primitive beat, guitars then squall and feedback into a riff and we're off, with a young 21-year old Liam Gallagher giving advice to himself, to others and making a statement about how he is feeling.
From the start Oasis were themselves, in interviews, on stage and in person. They could have it all and oh how they wanted it. They went for it big time, early on Noel stated that he wanted to release singles as regularly as The Jam, they were backed with excellent b-sides, and the band toured relentlessly, not only in the UK, but across Europe and the States.
Supersonic is full of urgency, in the guitars, vocals, delivery, production and in some of the lyrics. Some of them are gibberish, while others seem to be Noel Gallagher sizing up where he is in life, a theme that recurs through a lot of the early Oasis material.
Alan MacGee had wanted the punky Bring It On Down to be the debut single, but Supersonic, apparently written by Noel while the rest of the band were having a Chinese takeaway, was perfect.
I caught Oasis for the second time at the old Cathouse (before it moved into the centre of town) in June and as a group of us hung outside in the sunshine waiting for the venue to open we could hear Oasis soundchecking and kids sung along to Noel's guitar riffs in Supersonic.
Oasis were about to go Supersonic. From the release of their debut single in April through to December they would release 5 singles and Definitely Maybe. With b-sides like Fade Away, Listen Up, Half the World Away and a non-album single in Whatever, in 9-months Oasis had released more quality material than many bands would release in a career. They didn't let up through 1995 but we'll save that for another blog.
Speaking of b-sides;
Take Me Away is beautiful, sung and performed by Noel Gallagher, the song shows a different side to Oasis than the ram it down your throat a-side of Supersonic. It's gentle, tender, melancholic and has a lovely double chorus second time around, something that Noel would use to great effect through his Oasis days.
There is a huge sense of frustration balanced with the need for escapism and dreams in a lot of early Oasis songs and I Will Believe (live) is one that captures that perfectly. Gallagher's lyrics talk of being locked up in chains, lost at sea, down on his knees, the man in the middle and not knowing his own mind. They are delivered superbly by his younger brother and there is a classic Noel guitar solo.
And then we come on to the Columbia (demo) which has a monster groove and feel to it. To this day I regret not buying the 12-inch white label promo when I saw it in Missing Records for £20 back when it came out. It would be worth a lot more now! The power of Columbia is enormous, highlighted when Oasis chose to open their huge Knebworth shows with it.
Oasis had arrived. See below for live footage of the band performing Supersonic on The Word (their TV debut) in April 1994, also live in 1995 from Earls Court where Liam is looking and sounding and incredible, lastly footage of the band performing Columbia at the Chicago Metro in November that year, a show that many in the Oasis camp still cite as one of there best ever performances.