Sunday, 2 February 2014

REWIND: Oasis - 'Whatever'

Could there possibly be a more uplifting ode to carefree youth? The majestic non-album single was without a doubt their most Beatles-flavoured moment, its glorious see-sawing strings and epic atmosphere recalling flavours of 'All You Need Is Love'. The sound of excitement, innocence and optimism combined to capture the positivity of Britpop's most thrilling days. An entry from my 'Musical Memories From 1994' article (which is HERE) reads: "It was late in 1994 when I heard Oasis for the first time. These refreshingly no-nonsense northerners reminded me of a modern day Beatles, lots of beautiful melodies with an exciting rough edge. They seemed more serious than Blur, and certainly seemed to be coming from a different place musically. I didn't know it at the time but two equally cool exciting bands and a few others coming along at the same time makes a scene, and that scene was to become Britpop. Even if Blur, Oasis and Suede were all completely different musically and stylistically, it became obvious that Britain was producing some phenomenally good bands, and a golden age had begun. I bought a cassette from Woolworths in Chippenham, the Oasis single 'Whatever'. At that point I hadn't even heard their previous four singles, but there was something majestic about this song. An absolutely joyous encapsulation of the giddy excitement that the mid 90's held. The b side 'It's Good To Be Free' was a rattling, electrifying contrast that revealed to me the band's swaggering attitude. It certainly wasn't to be the last Oasis single I ever bought... Another hugely significant group had stepped in to my life, and things were never quite the same again..."


The single was released on 18 December 1994 and entered the UK Singles Chart at number 3, their first single to enter the top 5. The strings were arranged by Nick Ingham and Noel Gallagher, and played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra which featured former Electric Light Orchestra violinist Wilf Gibson. 'Whatever spent a total of 51 weeks on the UK Singles chart, more than any other Oasis single. Part of the song's melody was allegedly lifted from Neil Innes' (of comedy Beatles tribute band The Rutles) song 'How Sweet to Be an Idiot'. Innes successfully sued Oasis for plagiarism and was awarded subsequent royalties and a co-write credit.

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