|Single by Oasis|
|from the album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?|
|B-side||"Round Are Way"
"The Swamp Song"
|Released||30 October 1995|
|Format||CD, cassette, 7", 12"|
|Length||4:18 (Album Version)
3:45 (Radio Edit)
|Producer(s)||Owen Morris, Noel Gallagher|
|Oasis singles chronology|
"Wonderwall" is a song by English rock band Oasis, written by the band's guitarist and main songwriter Noel Gallagher. The song was produced by Owen Morris and Gallagher for their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?. According to Gallagher, "Wonderwall" describes "an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself".
The song was released as the third single from the album in October 1995. "Wonderwall" reached the top ten on 13 charts, including topping charts in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, as well as number two in their native UK Singles Chart. The single was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry and certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The song's title was appropriated from Wonderwall, a 1968 film whose soundtrack (Wonderwall Music) was provided by George Harrison. It remains one of the band's most popular songs; on 9 June 2013, it was voted number one on Australian alternative music radio station Triple J's "20 Years of the Hottest 100". Many notable artists have also covered the song, such as rock singer Ryan Adams in 2003 and jazz musician Brad Mehldau in 2008.
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording and composition
- 3 Live performances
- 4 Music video
- 5 Cover art
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Chart and sales performance
- 8 Awards and accolades
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 Track listings
- 11 Charts
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
"Wonderwall" was written for Gallagher's then-girlfriend, Meg Mathews, as Gallagher told NME in 1996: "It's about my girlfriend, Meg Matthews." However, after Gallagher divorced Matthews in 2001, he said the song was not about Matthews: "[the song was] about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself."
Recording and composition
The song was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, during a two-week recording of the Morning Glory album in May 1995. Owen Morris produced the song in a half-day along with Noel Gallagher using a technique known as "brickwalling" to intensify the sound of the song.
In August 2002, Noel changed the arrangement of his live performances of the song to a style he admitted was heavily influenced by Ryan Adams's cover of the song. That arrangement has persisted through his most recent live performances of the song, but prior to the band's 2008-9 tour, the original arrangement was used for live performances of the song by the full band with Liam Gallagher on vocals and electric guitars. During the 2008-9 tour, the band returned to performing the song in a semi-acoustic form, in an arrangement closely resembling the album version.
Wonderwall, Round Are Way, Talk Tonight and the Masterplan were all performed at the MTV Unplugged concert in August 1996.
The music video to the song was filmed by director Nigel Dick with his regular collaborator DOP Ali Asad in the relatively brief period when bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan quit the band due to nervous exhaustion; Scott McLeod came in to replace him.
An alternative version, possibly a bootleg recording, exists and is viewable online. It features a single fixed camera shot, the same as is seen in the more common video, of the five band members miming to the song.
The song won Best British Video at the 1996 Brit Awards.
The video has reached over 100 million views on the official Oasis YouTube channel.
The sleeve artwork was inspired by the paintings of the Belgian surrealist René Magritte, and was shot on Primrose Hill in north London. The hand holding the frame is that of art director Brian Cannon. The original idea was to have Liam in the frame before Noel vetoed that idea whilst the shoot was taking place. Instead a female figure was deemed necessary and Anita Heryet, a Creation Records employee, was asked to stand in as cover star for the shot.
- Liam Gallagher – lead vocals, tambourine
- Noel Gallagher – backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano
- Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs – acoustic guitar, mellotron
- Alan White – drums
Chart and sales performance
"Wonderwall" reached number two (behind Robson & Jerome's "I Believe/Up on the Roof"), in the UK Singles Chart. It finished at No. 10 in the end of year charts for 1995 and No. 26 in the end of decade charts for the 1990s in the UK. It has sold 1.26 million copies in the UK as of November 2012.
In the U.S., it peaked at number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart for an unprecedented ten weeks, and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It proved to be a major hit in Australia, New Zealand and Spain by claiming the No. 1 spot in all three countries.
Awards and accolades
- In January 1996, the song was voted No. 1 in the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 1995, the world's largest music poll.
- In the Grammy Awards of 1997 the band received a nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Noel Gallagher picked another nomination for Best Rock Song, winning none.
- In May 2005, "Wonderwall" was voted the best British song of all time, in a poll of over 8,500 listeners conducted by Virgin Radio.
- In August 2006, "Wonderwall" was named the second-greatest song of all time in a poll conducted by Q Magazine, finishing behind another Oasis song, "Live Forever".
- In 2006, U2's guitarist The Edge named "Wonderwall" one of the songs he most wishes he'd written.
- In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Wonderwall" at number 27 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.
- On 28 June 2007 the NME stated that Alex James ex-bassist of Blur who had been long standing rivals with Oasis said: 'Wish I'd written it. He's got a great voice Liam (Gallagher)'
- In 20 December 2007, VH1 placed "Wonderwall" at number 35 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s.
- In July 2009, "Wonderwall" was voted at number No. 12 in the Hottest 100 of all time countdown poll, conducted by Australian radio station, Triple J. More than half a million votes were cast.
- Digital Dream Door ranked "Wonderwall" at number 17 in its list of Top 100 Songs of the 90s.
- Wonderwall was played at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony during the British music showcase by Beady Eye, a band featuring former members of Oasis. Noel Gallagher did not perform at the ceremony.
- In June 2013, the song was voted No. 1 in the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 of the past 20 years.
- In Feb 2014, the song was voted No. 36 of The 500 greatest songs of all time according to NME magazine.
In popular culture
"Wonderwall" has been one of the most-frequently covered songs in recent history. The most famous cover version was an easy listening arrangement by The Mike Flowers Pops, which reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart, just as the Oasis original had done two months earlier. Gallagher mentioned that when BBC Radio 1 premiered the song, they jokingly claimed that they had found "the original version of Wonderwall". Gallagher, who had been in America at the time, was surprised to be asked by one of his record company's executives if he had actually written the song. The Mike Flowers Pops cover was used in the 1997 film The Jackal, and also in the 1999 film Superstar.
Ryan Adams' version, first performed in 2001, and later released in 2003 on Love Is Hell pt. 1 EP, was well received by Noel Gallagher. It was featured in the final scene of the Smallville Season 3 episode "Velocity".
"Wonderwall" was featured in the popular mashup "Boulevard of Broken Songs" mixed by Party Ben in late 2004, which also contained parts of both Travis's "Writing to Reach You" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". In late 2006, Gallagher accused Green Day of 'ripping off' "Wonderwall", saying "If you listen, you'll find it is exactly the same arrangement as Wonderwall. They should have the decency to wait until I am dead [before stealing my songs]. I, at least, pay the people I steal from that courtesy.".
At the beginning of his set at Glastonbury 2008, Jay-Z performed a cover of "Wonderwall". Noel Gallagher had previously been critical of Jay-Z's booking as a star performer at the festival, so it is probable that his cover was intended to be ironic. Jay-Z's mock performance boosted the original song's sales, making it a challenger for the top 100. The original album had a 200% increase in sales and the compilation album had a 140% increase. Jay-Z references the above event and sings part of "Wonderwall" on his song "Jockin Jay-Z", which was cut from his 2009 album The Blueprint 3.
Paul Anka did a jazzy cover of Wonderwall. It was used as the music for the opening dance sequence of the 2013 season finale of So You Think You Can Dance.
The song was used in the episode 3x08 of the TV series Lost and the 4x03 series Nip/Tuck. It also appears in the sixth chapter of the first season of Lie to Me, in an episode during the second season of Girls and in the seventh chapter of the second season of My Mad Fat Diary.
All songs written and composed by Noel Gallagher, except where noted.
|2.||"Round Are Way"||5:42|
|3.||"The Swamp Song"||4:19|
|2.||"Round Are Way"||5:41|
|5.||"I Am the Walrus (Live Glasgow Cathouse June 1994)" (Written by Lennon–McCartney)||8:14|
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- List of number-one singles in 1996 (New Zealand)
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