Cigarettes & Alcohol

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"Cigarettes & Alcohol"
Oasis' Cigarettes & Alcohol single cover.gif
Single by Oasis
from the album Definitely Maybe
B-side "I Am the Walrus" (live)
"Listen Up"
"Fade Away"
Released 10 October 1994
Format CD, 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, cassette
Recorded Clear Studios, Manchester, 1994
Genre Britpop, hard rock
Length 4:48
Label Creation
Songwriter(s) Noel Gallagher
Producer(s) Oasis, Mark Coyle & Owen Morris
Oasis singles chronology
"Live Forever"
(1994)
"Cigarettes & Alcohol"
(1994)
"Whatever"
(1994)

"Live Forever"
(1994)
"Cigarettes & Alcohol"
(1994)
"Whatever"
(1994)
Definitely Maybe track listing
11 tracks
  1. "Rock 'n' Roll Star"
  2. "Shakermaker"
  3. "Live Forever"
  4. "Up in the Sky"
  5. "Columbia"
  6. "Supersonic"
  7. "Bring It On Down"
  8. "Cigarettes & Alcohol"
  9. "Digsy's Dinner"
  10. "Slide Away"
  11. "Married with Children"

"Cigarettes & Alcohol" is a song by English rock band Oasis, written by Noel Gallagher. It was released as the fourth single from their debut album Definitely Maybe, and their second to enter the UK top ten in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 7 (three places higher than "Live Forever"), eventually spending 35 weeks on the charts, re-entering the Top 75 on several occasions until 1997. On 21 April 2017, 23 years after release and 20 years after Silver certification, the song was certified Gold, indicating 400,000 shipments.[1]

Background[edit]

Whereas the band's first two singles "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker" had used psychedelic imagery, and the third single "Live Forever" used softer chords and tender lyrics, "Cigarettes & Alcohol" demonstrated the rougher musical attitude that Oasis appeared to be promoting. The song proclaims the inherent appeal of cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs as a remedy to the banality and seemingly futile nature of the working class life. Lyrics such as "Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?" taps into a common sentiment of disenchantment in the 1990s.

Upon first hearing the song, the man who discovered the band, Alan McGee, boisterously claimed that the song was "one of the greatest social statements of the past 25 years".[2]

The song was the second case in which Oasis was accused of plagiarism, the first being "Shakermaker". The main riff of the song is 'borrowed' from "Get It On" by T. Rex and "Little Queenie" by Chuck Berry,[3][4] and also bears a similarity to the opening of Humble Pie's cover of "C'mon Everybody", originally by Eddie Cochran.

B-sides[edit]

The song was released with three B-sides: a cover version of The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus"; "Listen Up", a six-minute slow rocker musically similar to "Supersonic"; and the popular, slightly punk-styled "Fade Away", whose wistful lyrics are about the destruction of "the dreams we have as children" (this phrase was later used as the title of Noel Gallagher's first live solo album). All these songs appeared on The Masterplan (1998), a compilation of b-sides. An acoustic version of "Fade Away" was released on The Help Album (1995), a charity record, and subsequently on the band's 1998 single "Don't Go Away".

Contrary to the track listing and clarified on subsequent releases (including The Masterplan), "I Am the Walrus" was actually not recorded at the Glasgow Cathouse, but at the Gleneagles Hotel during a conference for Sony music executives, who gathered to hear Creation Records' newly signed artists. The song was recorded during soundcheck, in an empty hall, with no audience, at 10 in the morning. Noel Gallagher stated that the band loved this particular live recording, but strongly disliked the event, which Noel described as "one of them shit things where all the twats in suits get together and they roll on the new signings". The band had another recording of the song from the show at the Cathouse, "which sounded quite similar but it was fucking rubbish", according to Noel. They then decided to use the recording from the Gleneagles soundcheck, but credited it as stemming from the Cathouse, adding crowd noise taken from a Faces bootleg album to make it sound like an authentic tour recording. "Because it would look shit if you put ‘Live at Sony Seminar in Gleneagles’!", Noel stated. "[W]e thought, ‘Fuck it, no-one'll fucking know’. But I always meant to set the record straight one day. Sorry to anyone who bought it on the premise of being at that gig."[5]

Covers[edit]

"Cigarettes & Alcohol" was covered by Rod Stewart for his 1998 album When We Were the New Boys, on which it is the opening track. The song was also performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Plays the Music of Oasis, which is part of a series of albums with orchestral interpretations of pop music.[6]

Track listings[edit]

  • CD CRESCD 190
  1. "Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:48
  2. "I Am the Walrus" (Live at Glasgow Cathouse, June '94) – 8:15 [a]
  3. "Listen Up" – 6:39
  4. "Fade Away" – 4:13
  • 7" CRE 190
  1. "Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:48
  2. "I Am the Walrus" (Live at Glasgow Cathouse, June '94) – 8:15 [a]
  • 12" CRE 190T
  1. "Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:48
  2. "I Am the Walrus" (Live at Glasgow Cathouse, June '94) – 8:15 [a]
  3. "Fade Away" – 4:13
  • Cassette CRECS 190
  1. "Cigarettes & Alcohol" – 4:50
  2. "I Am the Walrus" (Live at Glasgow Cathouse, June '94) – 8:15 [a]

[a] The song was actually recorded at the Gleneagles Hotel with no audience and has added crowd noise; see "B-sides" paragraph above.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1994–97) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 7

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Certified Awards Search" (To access, enter the search parameter "Oasis"). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  2. ^ BBC. "Cigarettes and Alcohol". BBC. 
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Oasis | Biography". AllMusic. 
  4. ^ Comaratta, Len. "REVIEW: Reissue of Definitely Maybe Is (Definitely) a Reminder of Oasis' Greatness". Time. 
  5. ^ "Track by Track: Noel Gallagher on The Masterplan". Oasis Recording Information. 
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Plays the Music of Oasis | Royal Philharmonic Orchestra". AllMusic. 
  7. ^ "More from Anjali Dutt on the making of Definitely Maybe (2014)". Oasis Recording Information. 

External links[edit]