Oasis rocked my world back in 1994 with their full-on cover version of The Beatles classic song I Am The Walrus….
In early 1994 I was listening to lots of different things and dressing like a skater (I couldn’t skate). Then along came Oasis; I listened to almost nothing but their music, and I got a bowl-cut. Having read about them in the NME & Meldoy Maker and having got hold of a few demos on various tapes, I was blown away. Hearing their version of I Am The Walrus on their 2nd single Cigarettes and Alcohol finished off the job.
Oasis managed to veer between drug-addled lyrics and blatant plagarism (think Shakermaker) and the most beautiful of accoustic songs about the loss of innocence (D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman). And then they could turn it up to 11 and absolutely rock out on an old Beatles classic, but at the same time sound (and look) like they weren’t even working up a sweat.
Their are very few cover versions of Beatles songs that even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the original, but when Oasis performed I Am The Walrus as the last track at their début Glastonbury appearance, I knew that the original version would never again be my favourite.
Liam Gallagher glared at the crowd through-out (we loved it) until walking off the stage during the instrumental; slowly the rest of the band walked off until just Noel and the drummer Tony McCarroll were left. As McCarroll continued to pound at his drums Noel leant his guitar against the speakers, causing a wail of feedback, waved at the crowd, and oh-so-cooly sauntered off.
At last, Britsih rock was cool again.
If you don’t already own this, download the definitive version of I Am The Walrus by Oasis now: it’s taken from the single Cigarettes and Alcohol, but you can also get a shorter version on their B-Sides compilation The Masterplan. But, unless you were there you’ll never have the memory of that amazing performance at Glastonbury on a Saturday afternoon in July 13 years ago. Whereas I’ve just had the shock of realising that it really was 13 years ago which must mean I’m officially old.
And whilst I recover from that shock, have a listen to what I mean here…
Oasis – I Am The Walrus [Live at The Soundcheck, Scotland]
The amazing photo at the top is of Oasis performing at Glastonbury in 1994 and is taken from what looks like a great new book called Oasis: A Year On The Road by Paul Slattery which I read about on NME.
You need your ears testing – Oasis massacred a great song, like the ropey Beatles tribute pub act they are
Fair enough – each to their own.
I wouldn’t argue with anyone who suggested that Oasis descended into cabaret-act status not long after this (when they started to believe the hype), but personally I think they do here what all great covers should do:
It makes you look at a song in a whole new light – they changed a rather fey bit of psychadelia into a raging statement of intent.