Wonderwall (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Single by Oasis
from the album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
B-side "Round Are Way"
"The Swamp Song"
"The Masterplan"
Released 30 October 1995
Format CD, cassette, 7", 12"
Recorded May 1995 at Monmouth, Wales
Genre Britpop[1]
Length 4:19 (Album Version)
3:45 (Radio Edit)
Label Creation
Writer(s) Noel Gallagher
Producer(s) Owen Morris, Noel Gallagher
Certification Platinum (BPI)
Gold (RIAA)
Oasis singles chronology
"Morning Glory"
"Don't Look Back in Anger"
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? track listing

"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".[2]

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.

Contrary to popular belief, the song's title was not appropriated from Wonderwall, a 1968 film with its soundtrack album (Wonderwall Music) by George Harrison.[3] 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".[4] Many notable artists have also covered the song, such as rock singer Ryan Adams in 2003, folk singer Cat Power, and jazz musician Brad Mehldau in 2008.[5]


"Wonderwall" was written for Gallagher's then-girlfriend, Meg Mathews,[6] as Gallagher told NME in 1996: "It's about my girlfriend, Meg Matthews."[7] However, after Gallagher divorced Matthews in 2001,[8] he said the song was not about Matthews: "[the song was] about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself."[2]

Recording and composition[edit]

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.[1]

Liam Gallagher served as lead singer on "Wonderwall" after Noel had given him a choice between "Wonderwall" or another single from the album, "Don't Look Back in Anger".[7]

"Wonderwall" is written in the key of F# Minor and is set in common time with a moderate dance groove.[9] Gallagher's voice ranges from an E3 to an F#4 in the song.[9]

Live performances[edit]

Noel debuted the song on UK TV, backstage at Glastonbury and broadcast on Channel 4 on 24 June 1995. The song wasn't performed by the band during their headline performance the night before.

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.

Music video[edit]

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.[10]

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 140 million views on the official Oasis YouTube channel.[11]

Cover art[edit]

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.[12] 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.[13]


Chart and sales performance[edit]

"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.[14]

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[edit]

  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[16]
  • 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".[17]
  • In 2006, U2's guitarist The Edge named "Wonderwall" one of the songs he most wishes he'd written.[18]
  • In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Wonderwall" at number 27 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]

In popular culture[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

"Wonderwall" has been one of the most-frequently covered songs in 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 premièred 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.[22] 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.[23] 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.".[24]

Track listings[edit]

All songs written and composed by Noel Gallagher, except where noted. 

UK single
No. Title Length
1. "Wonderwall"   4:18
2. "Round Are Way"   5:42
3. "The Swamp Song"   4:19
4. "The Masterplan"   5:23
Total length:
US single
No. Title Length
1. "Wonderwall"   4:14
2. "Round Are Way"   5:41
3. "Talk Tonight"   4:11
4. "Rockin' Chair"   4:33
5. "I Am the Walrus (Live Glasgow Cathouse June 1994)" (Written by Lennon–McCartney) 8:14
Total length:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bennett, Andy (2010). Britpop and the English Music Tradition. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 148. ISBN 0-7546-6805-3. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC Radio 2 interview, October 2002". BBC News. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 8 August 2006. 
  3. ^ Ingham, Chris (2003). The rough guide to the Beatles. Rough Guides. p. 162. ISBN 1-84353-140-2. 
  4. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hottest100/alltime/20years/countdown/#1
  5. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/9031/the_brad_mehldau_trio_add_to_the_wonderwall_cover/mp3/
  6. ^ Harris, John (2004). Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English rock. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. p. 226. ISBN 0-306-81367-X. 
  7. ^ a b Krugman, Michael (1997). Oasis: supersonic supernova. Macmillan Publishers. pp. 99–102. ISBN 0-312-15376-7. 
  8. ^ "Noel and Meg finally divorce". BBC News (London: BBC). 19 January 2001. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Digital Sheet Music, Oasis "Wonderwall"". musicforte.com. Peer International Music Publishing. 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Robinson, John (19 June 2004). "Not Here Now". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 January 2006. 
  11. ^ http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6hzrDeceEKc
  12. ^ Q Special Edition – Oasis: Ten Years Of Rock 'n' Roll Mayhem (EMAP Metro)
  13. ^ "Oasis – Fun Facts, Answers, Factoids, Info, Information". Funtrivia.com. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  14. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "39th Annual Grammy Awards – 1997". Rock On The Net. 26 February 1997. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  16. ^ "Oasis hit is named 'best UK song'". BBC News. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  17. ^ Barnes, Anthony (27 August 2006). "The greatest song in the history of the world. Maybe". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  18. ^ Q Magazine November 2006 – U2 Q+A
  19. ^ "50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever". Web.nme.com. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  20. ^ "Countdown | Hottest 100 – Of All Time | triple j". ABCnet.au. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  21. ^ "500 greatest songs of all time". Web.nme.com. 8 Feb 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  22. ^ From the promotional documentary for Stop the Clocks, entitled Lock the Box.
  23. ^ "The SPIN Interview: Noel Gallagher | Spin Magazine Online". Spin.com. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  24. ^ Gallagher attacks Green Day for 'ripping off' 'Wonderwall', Ireland Online, 14 December 2006.
  25. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  26. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  27. ^ "Ultratop.be – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  29. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 63, No. 3, March 04 1996". RPM. 
  30. ^ "Rock/Alternative – Volume 62, No. 22, January 15, 1996". RPM. 
  31. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  32. ^ "Oasis: Wonderwall" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  33. ^ "Lescharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in French). Les classement single.
  34. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Oasis > Wonderwall – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  35. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?lr=&rview=1&id=NA0EAAAAMBAJ&q=oasis#v=snippet&q=oasis&f=false
  36. ^ http://www.hitparadeitalia.it/indici/per_interprete/ao.htm
  37. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". VG-lista.
  38. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Oasis – Wonderwall". Top 40 Singles.
  39. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall" Canciones Top 50.
  40. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". Singles Top 60.
  41. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". Swiss Singles Chart.
  42. ^ "Oasis: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
  43. ^ "Oasis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Oasis.
  44. ^ "Oasis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Oasis.
  45. ^ "Oasis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Oasis.
  46. ^ "Oasis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Oasis.
  47. ^ "Oasis Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Oasis.
  48. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  49. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Singles 1996". ARIA. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  50. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 64, Number 18". RPM. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  51. ^ "Rock/Alternative – Volume 64, Number 18". RPM. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  52. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1996". Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  53. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  54. ^ "Italian single certifications – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Oasis in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  55. ^ "Mexican sales certification" (in Spanish). AMPROFON. January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  56. ^ "British single certifications – Oasis – Wonderwall". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 23 July 2013.  Enter Wonderwall in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  57. ^ Lane, Daniel (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  58. ^ "American single certifications – Oasis – Wonderwall". Recording Industry Association of America. 17 November 2004. Retrieved 23 July 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]