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Music News

Oasis Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “Definitely Maybe” – The Debut Album Like You’ve Never Heard

todayJuly 3, 2024

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2024 marks the 30th anniversary of Oasis’ landmark debut album, Definitely Maybe. Upon its release, it became the fastest-selling debut album in the UK, cementing Oasis as a cultural phenomenon. The singles are iconic anthems: “Supersonic,” “Live Forever,” and “Cigarettes & Alcohol.” Even the deep-cut album tracks, such as “Slide Away,” “Columbia,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” are considered certified classics. For additional gems, look no further than the B-sides: “Take Me Away,” “Half the World Away,” and “Listen Up.”

In Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, it would be written, “Liam’s insolent snarl and his brother Noel’s dialed-to-11 guitar on working-class anthems like the elevating ‘Live Forever’ and the blaring ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ built off the Beatles and T. Rex to reach for their own glorious future.”

A new release, titled the “30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition,” will be available on August 30, featuring many previously unheard tracks. However, the Gallaghers are celebrating Definitely Maybe … obviously, separately.

(c) Paul Slattery, Big Brother Recordings Ltd.

Liam Gallagher has just completed a mind-boggling tour titled “LGDM30.” Fans experienced the entire album performed live—including Noel’s songs—along with B-sides and demos so rare even I had to double-check they exist. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and several shows were professionally recorded, leading fans to speculate that a live album or concert film might be forthcoming.

Noel Gallagher worked behind the scenes on this new version of the album and recorded some documentary content, similar to his work for the 25th anniversary of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. Official Oasis channels are asking fans to submit their questions to the Chief about recording this landmark album—one that almost never saw the light of day.

(c) Michael Spencer Jones, Big Brother Recordings Ltd.

In late 1993, Oasis—who had recently changed their name from The Rain and added Noel Gallagher to their lineup—booked Monnow Valley Studio near Rockfield to record their album. The producer, Dave Batchelor, was an acquaintance of Noel’s from his time as a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets. Famed Oasis guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs recalls,”It wasn’t happening. [Batchelor] was the wrong person for the job… we’d play in this great big room, buzzing to be in this studio, playing like we always played. He’d say, ‘Come in and have a listen.’ And we’d be like, ‘That doesn’t sound like it sounded in that room. What’s that?’ It was thin. Weak. Too clean. Noel was frantically on the phone to the management, going, ‘This ain’t working.'”

In January 1994, after an unsuccessful trip to Amsterdam, the group returned to re-record the album at a different studio: Sawmills Studio in Cornwall. This time, Noel produced the sessions himself, along with Mark Coyle. However, the sessions also fell flat due to their final mix. Noel insisted on adding guitar overdubs and polishing the band’s live songs excessively. In a 2000 documentary, Gallagher recalls, “I remember [our manager] being called up [and being told], ‘there’s one song here that 17 guitar solos on it all going at the same time’. [I was asked] ‘which one of these is the one?’ — and I said all of ’em!!”

Eventually, engineer and producer Owen Morris was called in to salvage these recordings. Hearing the tapes for the first time at Johnny Marr’s studio, he recalls The Smiths legend being “appalled by how in-your-face the whole thing was.”

(c) Big Brother Recordings Ltd.

Still, Definitely Maybe‘s production style remains unique, much to the detriment of modern streaming fans. Owen Morris’ production trick was to use “no dynamics,” keeping the album “in the red” throughout its duration, making it significantly louder than its competition. “It’s just full-on all the way. It worked. In jukeboxes around the country, Oasis came on louder than everybody else.”

Personally, I’d love to see a “modern mix” of Definitely Maybe, one with dynamics and all the Dolby Atmos you can throw at it. All of Oasis’ recordings desperately need a remix (not remaster), similar to what Giles Martin has recently done with The Beatles’ catalogue. Disappointingly, that is not the case for this new release.

(c) Big Brother Recordings Ltd.

The original album will be included in its 2014 master, but the box set features multiple other discs containing the two discarded recording sessions from Sawmills Studios and Monnow Valley, all recently mixed in 2023 by Noel Gallagher and Callum Marinho. It will be an absolute dream to hear these early, director’s cut versions of what a young Oasis wanted their sound to be. The entire track-list is included below.

However, the gem of the box set is a long-lost take of the sentimental B-side “Sad Song,” which was eventually sung by Noel upon release, but here performed by a very young Liam. Clips were heard in the 2016 documentary Supersonic, keeping fans on the edge of their seats ever since.

The first single from the release, “Columbia (Sawmills Outtake)” is out now and features the very first Liam Gallagher rap, which the Oasis legend made sure to hilariously reprise word-for-word at his live shows.

“Definitely, Maybe (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)” is available to pre-order here.

Side A:
Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
Shakermaker
Live Forever

Side B:
Up In The Sky
Columbia
Sad Song

Side C:
Supersonic
Bring It On Down
Cigarettes & Alcohol

Side D:
Digsy’s Dinner
Slide Away
Married With Children

Side E:
Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (Monnow Valley Version)
Shakermaker (Monnow Valley Version)
Live Forever (Monnow Valley Version)
Up In The Sky (Monnow Valley Version)

Side F:
Columbia (Monnow Valley Version)
Bring It On Down (Monnow Valley Version)
Cigarettes & Alcohol (Monnow Valley Version)
Digsy’s Dinner (Monnow Valley Version)

Side G:
Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (Sawmills Outtake)
Up In The Sky (Sawmills Outtake)
Columbia (Sawmills Outtake)
Bring It On Down (Sawmills Outtake)

Side H:
Cigarettes & Alcohol (Sawmills Outtake)
Digsy’s Dinner (Sawmills Outtake)
Slide Away (Sawmills Outtake)
Sad Song (Mauldeth Road West Demo, Nov ’92)

Written by: Jace

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