Definitely Maybe

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This article is about the album. For other uses, see Definitely Maybe (disambiguation).
Definitely Maybe
Studio album by Oasis
Released 30 August 1994
Recorded December 1993–April 1994
Genre Alternative rock, Britpop
Length 51:57
Label Creation
Producer Oasis, Mark Coyle, Owen Morris, David Batchelor
Oasis chronology
Definitely Maybe
(1994)
(What's the Story) Morning Glory?
(1995)
Singles from Definitely Maybe
  1. "Supersonic"
    Released: 11 April 1994
  2. "Shakermaker"
    Released: 13 June 1994
  3. "Live Forever"
    Released: 8 August 1994
  4. "Cigarettes & Alcohol"
    Released: 10 October 1994
  5. "Rock 'n' Roll Star"
    Released: May 1995 (US radio single)

Definitely Maybe is the debut album by the English rock band Oasis, released in August 1994. It was an immediate commercial and critical success in the UK, having followed on the heels of singles "Supersonic", "Shakermaker" and "Live Forever".

Definitely Maybe went straight to number one in the UK Albums Charts on initial release. It was the fastest selling debut album of all time in the UK when it was released and went on to be certified 7x Platinum (2.1 million+ sales) by the BPI.[1] Definitely Maybe marked the beginning of Oasis' success in America, selling over one million copies there, despite only peaking at 58 on the Billboard 200. The album went on to sell over eight million copies worldwide and brought widespread critical acclaim.

The album, along with Blur's Parklife, helped to spur a revitalisation in British pop music in the mid nineties and was embraced by critics for its optimistic themes and supposed rebuttal of the downtrodden fatalism evident in the dominant grunge music of the time.[2] It was a seminal record of the Britpop movement and still appears in many 'best of' lists to this day. In June 2006, it was voted the greatest album of all time in a poll conducted by the NME magazine.[3]

Background[edit]

Formerly called The Rain, Oasis formed in 1991. Originally consisting of Liam Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, Paul McGuigan, and Tony McCarroll, the group was soon joined by Liam's older brother Noel Gallagher. The elder Gallagher insisted that if he were to join, the group would give him complete control and they would work towards superstardom.[4] Noel had been writing songs for years, and replaced the group's repertoire with his compositions.

Oasis signed to independent record label Creation Records in 1993. The limited-edition 12" single "Columbia" was released in late 1993 as a primer for the band for journalists and radio programmers. Unexpectedly, BBC Radio 1 picked up the single and played it 19 times in the fortnight after its release, surprising for a record not available in stores.[5] The band's first commercial single "Supersonic" was released on 11 April 1994. The following week it debuted at number 31 on the British singles chart.[6] The single was followed by "Shakermaker" in June 1994, which debuted at number 11 and earned the group an appearance on Top of the Pops.[7]

Recording[edit]

Oasis booked Monnow Valley Studio, near Monmouth, at the start of 1994 to record their debut album. Their producer was Dave Batchelor, who Noel Gallagher knew from his days working as a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets. The sessions were unsatisfactory. "It wasn't happening," Arthurs recalled. "He 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."[8]

The sessions at Monnow Valley were costing £800 a day. As the sessions proved increasingly fruitless, the group began to panic. Arthurs said, "Noel was frantically on the phone to the management, going, 'This ain't working.' For it not to be happening was a bit frightening."[8] Batchelor was let go, and Gallagher tried to make use of the music already recorded by taking the tapes to a number of London studios. Tim Abbot of Creation Records said while visiting the band in Chiswick, "McGee, Noel, me and various people had a great sesh, and we listened to it over and over again. And all I could think was, 'It ain't got the attack.' There was no immediacy."[9]

In February the group returned from an ill-fated trip to Amsterdam and set about re-recording the album at Sawmills Studio in Cornwall. This time the sessions were produced by Noel Gallagher and Mark Coyle. The group decided the only way to replicate their live sound on record was to record together without soundproofing between individual instruments. Over the tracks, Gallagher overdubbed numerous guitars. Arthurs said, "That was Noel's favourite trick: get the drums, bass and rhythm guitar down, and then he'd cane it. 'Less is more' didn't really work then."[9]

The results were still deemed unsatisfactory, and there was little chance of another attempt at recording the album. The recordings already made had to be used. In desperation, Creation's Marcus Russell contacted engineer-turned-producer Owen Morris. "I just thought, 'They've messed up here,'" Morris recalled after hearing the Sawmills recordings. "I guessed at that stage Noel was completely fucked off. Marcus was like, 'You can do what you like – literally, whatever you want." Among Morris's first tasks was to strip away the layers of guitar overdubs Gallagher had added. Morris completed his final mix of the record on the bank holiday weekend in May. Music journalist John Harris noted, "The miracle was that music that had passed through so many hands sounded so dynamic: the guitar-heavy stew that Morris had inherited had been remoulded into something positively pile-driving."[9]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 95/100[10]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[11]
Consequence of Sound A+[12]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[13]
Mixmag 5/5 stars
NME 9/10[14]
Q 5/5 stars
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[15]
Pitchfork Media 8.8/10[16]

The release of Definitely Maybe was preceded by a third single, "Live Forever", which was released on 8 August 1994. "Live Forever" was the group's first top ten single. The continuing success of Oasis partially allowed Creation to ride out a period of financial straits. The label was still £2 million in debt, so Tim Abbot was given only £60,000 to promote the upcoming album. Abbot tried to determine how best to use his small budget. "I'd go back to the Midlands every couple of weeks," Abbot said, "and people I knew would say, 'Oasis are great. This is what we listen to.' And I'd be thinking, "Well, you lot don't buy singles. You don't read the NME. You don't read Q. How do we get the people to like you?'"[17] Abbot decided to place ads in publications that had never been approached by Creation before, such as football magazines, match programmes and UK dance music periodicals. Abbot's suspicions that Oasis would appeal to these non-traditional audiences were confirmed when the dance music magazine Mixmag, which usually ignored guitar-based music, gave Definitely Maybe a five-star review.[18]

Definitely Maybe was finally released on 29 August 1994. The album sold 86,000 in its first week. On 4 September the album debuted at number one on the British charts. It outsold the second-highest album (The Three Tenors in Concert 1994, which had been favoured to be the chart-topper that week), by a factor of 50%. The first-week sales earned Definitely Maybe the record of the fastest-selling debut album in British history.[18] The album received almost unanimous critical acclaim along with commercial success, with many critics and listeners welcoming the album's fearless optimistic themes, particularly in an era of rock which was dominated by American grunge which seemed at odds with the album, while also praising Noel Gallagher's songwriting and melodic skills along with younger brother Liam's vocals. "Cigarettes & Alcohol" was released as the fourth single from the album in October, peaking at number 7 UK, then a career high for the band. Noel Gallagher said "Slide Away" was considered as a fifth single, but he ultimately refused, arguing, "You can't have five [singles] off a debut album."[19]

Cover art[edit]

The photograph on the front cover of the album was taken in guitarist Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs' house (he later claimed to have done all the plastering in the room himself). A picture of Rodney Marsh can be seen on the cover and a television showing a scene from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with actors Eli Wallach and Antonio Casale. A still of Gian Maria Volonté from the film A Fistful of Dollars is visible on the television on the back cover.[20] A poster of Burt Bacharach (one of Noel Gallagher's idols) is also shown on the lower-left-hand side of the cover. Some writers believe that Oasis were trying to pay homage to Pink Floyd's Ummagumma by placing it there in the same prominent position that Pink Floyd reserved for the soundtrack of Vincente Minnelli's film Gigi.[21]

Legacy[edit]

The massive critical and commercial success of the album has left Definitely Maybe with a legacy in which it has been cited as resurrecting interest in British guitar bands. It has since frequently appeared in many 'greatest' polls.

In 1997, Definitely Maybe was named the 14th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM.[22] In Channel 4's '100 Greatest Albums' countdown in 2005, the album was placed at number 6.[23] In 2006, NME placed the album third in a list of the greatest British albums ever, behind The Stone Roses' self-titled debut album and The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead.[24] In a 2006 British poll, run by NME and the book of British Hit Singles and Albums, Definitely Maybe was voted the best album of all time with The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band finishing second and Revolver third.[25] Q Magazine placed it at number five on their greatest albums of all time list in 2006, and in that same year NME hailed it as the greatest album of all time.[26]

In a 2008 poll by Q and HMV in 2008, Definitely Maybe was ranked first on a list of the greatest British albums of all time.[26] The American edition of Rolling Stone ranks the album at number 78 in its list of "The 100 Best Albums of the Nineties".[27] The German edition of Rolling Stone ranks the album at number 156 in its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[28] On AcclaimedMusic.net, a website which calculates the most favorably reviewed songs and albums, Definitely Maybe was listed as the 14th most critically acclaimed album of the 90s, as well as the 105th most critically acclaimed album of all time.[29] A study of the album by the writer Alex Niven is forthcoming in Bloomsbury's 33⅓ series.

In July 2014, Guitar World ranked Definitely Maybe at number 19 in their "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[30]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Noel Gallagher

No. Title Length
1. "Rock 'n' Roll Star"   5:23
2. "Shakermaker"   5:10
3. "Live Forever"   4:38
4. "Up in the Sky"   4:28
5. "Columbia"   6:17
6. "Supersonic"   4:44
7. "Bring It on Down"   4:17
8. "Cigarettes & Alcohol"   4:50
9. "Digsy's Dinner"   2:32
10. "Slide Away"   6:32
11. "Married with Children"   3:12
Bonus tracks

Singles box set[edit]

Definitely Maybe
Box set by Oasis
Released 4 November 1996
Recorded 1993–1994
Genre Rock, Britpop
Length 87:38
Label Creation
Producer Oasis, Mark Coyle, Owen Morris, Dave Batchelor
Oasis chronology
(What's the Story) Morning Glory?
(1995)
Definitely Maybe (box set)
(1996)
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? (box set)
(1996)

The Definitely Maybe box set was released on 4 November 1996, featuring four discs of singles, including B-sides, and one disc of interviews. The set charted at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart.[31]

All songs written by Noel Gallagher, except "I Am the Walrus" by Lennon–McCartney.

2014 reissue[edit]

As part of a promotional campaign entitled "Chasing The Sun", the album – planned to also include the band's subsequent two albums – was released on 19 May 2014. A deluxe edition featured the remastered original album packaged with two additional discs of material. Additionally, a limited edition reproduction of the band's original 1993 demo cassette was also made available to purchase.

DVD[edit]

Definitely Maybe was released on DVD in September 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of its original release. It went triple platinum in the UK. The DVD featured an hour-long documentary about the recording of the album featuring rare and contemporary interviews with the band and its associates. Also included was the album in its entirety, which included "Sad Song", which was originally only released on the UK vinyl version of the album and also on the Japanese CD edition. Other content included live and TV performances of the albums twelve tracks, and the promo videos to "Supersonic" (UK & US versions), "Shakermaker", "Live Forever" (UK & US versions), "Cigarettes & Alcohol" and "Rock 'n' Roll Star". A limited-edition release in the UK and Ireland included a bonus DVD containing more live footage and anecdotes.

There was also an accompanying made-for-TV documentary, entitled There We Were, Now Here We Are...: The Making Of Oasis. This was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK at 11:30pm on Friday, 3 September, three days before the release of the Definitely Maybe DVD. The programme combined existing and unused interview footage from the DVD documentary and focused on the origins of the band, and the four singles from Definitely Maybe. It also included a very rare clip of "All Around the World" performed live at a rehearsal session in the Boardwalk in 1992, five years before it was eventually recorded and released on Be Here Now. The DVD received the NME award for Best Music DVD.[32] The DVD earned Gold status in Australia.[33]

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  • Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. ISBN 0-306-81367-X

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50-21". Pitchfork Media. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Best album of all time revealed". NME. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Harris, p. 126
  5. ^ Harris, p. 132
  6. ^ Harris, p. 149
  7. ^ Harris, p. 167
  8. ^ a b Harris, p. 175
  9. ^ a b c Harris, p. 176
  10. ^ "Definitely Maybe [Remastered] - Oasis". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (30 August 1994). "Allmusic review". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Comaratta, Len (22 May 2014). "Album Review: Oasis – Definitely Maybe [Reissue]". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Wisbey, Joe (5 August 2001). "Oasis - Definitely Maybe". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Cameron, Keith (27 August 1994). "Oasis : Definitely Maybe". NME. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Oasis: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Oasis: Definitely Maybe: Chasing the Sun Edition | Album Reviews | Pitchfork Pitchfork Media - album review by Ryan Dombal.
  17. ^ Harris, p. 177
  18. ^ a b Harris, p. 178
  19. ^ "Lock the Box". Stop the Clocks [bonus DVD]. Columbia, 2006.
  20. ^ oasis - definitely maybe (back).jpg (1181×921)
  21. ^ Serene Dominic, Burt Bacharach, song by song: the ultimate Burt Bacharach reference for fans, pg. 298, Schirmer Trade Books (2003), ISBN 0-8256-7280-5
  22. ^ "Channel 4/HMV best music of this millennium". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved on 2 January 2007.
  23. ^ Channel4.com : The 100 Greatest Albums
  24. ^ "NME's best British album of all time revealed". NME (UK). 26 January 2006. 
  25. ^ "Oasis' album 'best of all time'". BBC News. 1 June 2006. 
  26. ^ a b "Oasis top best British album poll". BBC.co.uk. 18 February 2008. Retrieved on 15 March 2008.
  27. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-best-albums-of-the-nineties-20110427
  28. ^ Rolling Stone - Deutsche Ausgabe - Popular Music Best-Of-Lists List - Zum 10. jährigen Bestehen des deutschen ROLLING STONE: die 500 besten Alben aller Zeiten - das sammler sp...
  29. ^ http://acclaimedmusic.net/
  30. ^ "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994". GuitarWorld.com. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "Oasis – Definitely maybe singles box silver". Chart Stats. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  32. ^ "OASIS GRAB BEST MUSIC DVD AWARD". NME. 17 February 2005. 
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2004 DVD". Aria.com.au. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  34. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  35. ^ "Oasis - Definitely Maybe" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  36. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe" (in French). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  38. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  39. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  40. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  41. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  42. ^ "Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  43. ^ "1994-09-10 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  44. ^ "Oasis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Oasis. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  45. ^ "Oasis > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2007. 
  46. ^ "2004-09-18 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  47. ^ "Irish Albums Top 100 - May 22, 2014". Irma.ie. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  48. ^ "Artisti - Classifica settimanale WK 21 (dal 19-05-2014 al 25-05-2014)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  49. ^ "Scottish Albums Top 40 - 31st May 2014". Official Charts. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  50. ^ "2014-05-31 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  51. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATION.
  52. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Music Canada. 
  53. ^ "French album certifications – Oasis – Definitely Maybe" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  54. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Oasis – Definitely Maybe" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  55. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  56. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Oasis; 'Definitely Maybe')". Hung Medien. 
  57. ^ "British album certifications – Oasis – Definitely Maybe". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Definitely Maybe in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  58. ^ "American album certifications – Oasis – Definitely Maybe". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH