Despite the fact that, for much of the 90s, Oasis were my favourite band, I’ve written relatively few posts about them. Well, after listening to a playlist of their best stuff on my iPod recently (mostly singles & b-sides from their first two albums), I’ve decided to rectify that. I think that one of the reasons I don’t write about them that much is that I feel so let-down by what they became compared to what they could have been.
And ironically, the subject of many of their earliest, and finest tracks is about that very thing – the disappointment when our childhood dreams are smashed by growing up. There’s D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman for example. And there’s Fade Away which, like Cigarettes & Alcohol, they’ve recorded several different versions of.
There’s the first version of Fade Away I heard, which appeared on a free tape that came with (now defunct) music magazine Select (which you can listen to here*). There’s the rather lovely accoustic version they recorded for the original Help charity album. And there’s the absolutely barn-storming version you can see above which appeared as the one of the B-Sides on Cigarettes & Alcohol (which also featured the majestic I Am The Walrus & Listen Up, making it probably Oasis’ best ever release).
This version of Fade Away sees Noel & the band turn everything up to 11, as they race through the song at a blistering pace, whilst Liam, at his sneering peak, spits the lyrics with the scorn that only a young man can muster (without it appearing pathetic). The lyrics speak of the shattered dreams that many of us face and which, up until he found success and became a multi-millionaire, meant that not all of Noel’s lyrics were crap. I wouldn’t wish poverty on anyone, but if it meant Noel could come up with a few tunes anywhere near the quality of Fade Away, Talk Tonight or D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman, then maybe it wouldn’t be all bad.
In the meantime I can only listen to Oasis’ back catalogue and remember how much I loved this band, and how true the lyrics rang for me back in 1994 and, in many ways, still do today.
While we’re living,
The dreams we have as children,
Here’s Fade Away from Oasis’ career-defining mid-afternoon performance at Glastonbury 1994, where they blew my mind with their version of I Am The Walrus.
* Hat-tip to Dalston Shopper for the Select version of Fade Away