Wonderwall (song)

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Wonderwall cover.jpg
Single by Oasis
from the album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Released30 October 1995 (1995-10-30)
RecordedMay 1995
StudioRockfield (Monmouth, Wales)
  • 4:19 (album version)
  • 3:48 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Noel Gallagher
Oasis singles chronology
"Morning Glory"
"Don't Look Back in Anger"
Music video
"Wonderwall" on YouTube
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? track listing
12 tracks
  1. "Hello"
  2. "Roll with It"
  3. "Wonderwall"
  4. "Don't Look Back in Anger"
  5. "Hey Now!"
  6. Untitled
  7. "Some Might Say"
  8. "Cast No Shadow"
  9. "She's Electric"
  10. "Morning Glory"
  11. Untitled
  12. "Champagne Supernova"

"Wonderwall" is a song by the English rock band Oasis. The song was produced by Noel Gallagher and Owen Morris for the band's second studio album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995). 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" topped the charts in Australia and New Zealand. The song reached the top ten on another ten charts, including Canada and the United States at number 5 and 8, respectively, as well as No. 2 on both the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart. The single was certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry and gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

It remains one of the band's most popular songs, and was voted No. 1 on the Australian alternative music radio station Triple J's "20 Years of the Hottest 100" in 2013.[3] Many notable artists have also covered the song, such as Ryan Adams, Cat Power, and Brad Mehldau.[4]

Production history[edit]

The song was originally titled "Wishing Stone". Gallagher told NME in 1996 that "Wonderwall" was written for Meg Mathews, his then-girlfriend and later wife.[5][6] However, after Gallagher and Mathews divorced in 2001,[7] he said the song was not about her: "The meaning of that song was taken away from me by the media who jumped on it, and how do you tell your Mrs it's not about her once she's read it is? It's a song about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself."[2] The song's final title was inspired by George Harrison's solo album Wonderwall Music.[8]

The song was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, during a two-week recording of the Morning Glory album in May 1995. Morris produced the song in a half-day along with Gallagher, using a technique known as "brickwalling" to intensify the sound of the song.[1] Liam Gallagher served as lead singer on the song after Noel had given him a choice between "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger", another single from the album, with Noel singing lead vocals on the latter.[6] All of the band's members except bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan contributed to the recording, with Noel playing bass instead of McGuigan. This decision displeased Liam, who told Morris, "That's not Oasis."[9]

"Wonderwall" is written in the key of F minor and is set in common time with a moderate dance groove. Gallagher's voice ranges from an E3 to an F4 in the song.[10]

Live performances[edit]

Noel debuted the song on UK television backstage at Glastonbury, and it was broadcast on Channel 4 on 24 June 1995. The song was not 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' cover. That arrangement has persisted through his most recent live performances of the song, but prior to the band's 2008 tour, the original arrangement was used for live performances by the full band with electric guitars and Liam on vocals. During the 2008 tour, the band returned to performing the song in a semi-acoustic form, in an arrangement closely resembling the album version. This song was also performed during the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony by Liam Gallagher and his post Oasis band Beady Eye.

Music video[edit]

The original music video to the song conceived by Johanna Bautista was filmed by director Nigel Dick at Unit 217B in Woolwich, London, UK on 30 September 1995.[11] The filming of the promotional video took place during the brief period when bassist Guigsy quit the band due to nervous exhaustion, and was replaced by Scott McLeod, who appears in the video along with the four other members of the band.[12] The song won British Video of the Year at the 1996 Brit Awards.

A second video depicts the band sitting down throughout the video with some getting up and leaving before returning. The video ends with Noel, Alan White and Scott McLeod leaving their seats, leaving Liam and Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs in their seats.

There are two versions of the video: one posted online by Vevo that has reached over 379 million views,[13] and one posted by the band themselves that has reached 290 million views[14] for a total of 669 million views, making it the most popular Oasis video online.

Cover art[edit]

The sleeve artwork was inspired by the paintings of the Belgian surrealist René Magritte, and was shot on Primrose Hill in London by Michael Spencer Jones. 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.[15] Instead, a female figure was deemed necessary, so Creation Records employee Anita Heryet was asked to stand in as cover star for the shot.[16]

Chart and sales performance[edit]

"Wonderwall" reached the No. 2 spot in both Ireland and the United Kingdom in October and November 1995. In the UK, the song was held off the top spot by "I Believe" by Robson & Jerome. 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 1.34 million copies in the UK as of October 2016, making it Oasis' biggest selling song in their homeland[17] and the third biggest seller never to top the UK Singles Chart.[18]

In the U.S. it peaked at number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart for a then-unprecedented ten weeks, and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1996; their biggest hit and their only top 40 hit on the chart (many of their songs were ineligible to chart there, but did make the Hot 100's Airplay chart). "Wonderwall" also proved to be a major hit in Australia and New Zealand, claiming the No. 1 spot in both countries.

Awards and accolades[edit]

  • The American magazine The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll ranked "Wonderwall" at number 11 on its annual year-end poll in 1995. The following year, "Wonderwall" was ranked at number four, tied with Pulp's "Common People".[19][20]
  • 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 up an additional nomination for Best Rock Song, winning neither.[21]
  • 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.[22]
  • 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".[23]
  • In 2006, U2's guitarist The Edge named "Wonderwall" one of the songs he most wishes he'd written.[24]
  • In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Wonderwall" at number 27 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.[25]
  • On 28 June 2007, NME stated that Alex James, 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)".[26]
  • 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.[27]
  • In February 2014, the song was voted No. 36 of The 500 greatest songs of all time, according to NME.[28]
  • In March 2016, "Wonderwall" was voted the greatest British song of all time by Radio X listeners.[29]

Track listings[edit]

All tracks are written by Noel Gallagher, except where noted.

UK single
2."Round Are Way"5:42
3."The Swamp Song"4:19
4."The Masterplan"5:23
Total length:19:52
US single
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:26:53




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[83] 8× Platinum 560,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[84] 2× Platinum 100,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[85] Gold 30,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[86] Gold 5,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[87] Gold  
United Kingdom (BPI)[88] 5× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[89] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

The Mike Flowers Pops version[edit]

Single by The Mike Flowers Pops
from the album A Groovy Place
  • "Son of God"
  • "Theme from Memory Man"
Released18 December 1995 (1995-12-18)
GenreEasy listening
Songwriter(s)Noel Gallagher
Producer(s)Adrian Johnston
Mike Roberts
The Mike Flowers Pops singles chronology
"Light My Fire" / "Please Release Me"

British band The Mike Flowers Pops released an easy listening version that reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart—just as the Oasis original had done two months earlier—during Christmas 1995. On New Year's Day 1996, it earned a Silver certification from the British Phonographic Industry for sales greater than 200,000 copies. This cover also peaked within the top ten on the charts of Denmark, Ireland and Sweden.

Noel 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.[90]

The Mike Flowers Pops cover was used in the 1997 film The Jackal, and also in the 1999 film Superstar.


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1995–1996) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[91] 48
Denmark (IFPI)[92] 5
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[93] 8
Iceland (Íslenski listinn Topp 40)[94] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[95] 10
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[96] 40
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[97] 29
Norway (VG-lista)[98] 13
Scotland (OCC)[99] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[100] 5
UK Singles (OCC)[101] 2

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1995) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[102] 47


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[103] Silver 200,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Notable cover versions[edit]

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.[104] It was featured in The O.C. episode "The Heartbreak". It was featured in the final scenes of the Smallville Season 3 episode "Velocity" and the first season of the Israeli documentary series Couchsurfers. In an interview with Spin, Gallagher said "I think Ryan Adams is the only person who ever got that song right."[104]

Paul Anka covered the song on his swing album Rock Swings, released in 2005 and was used as figure skater Paul Fentz's backing track during his 2018 Winter Olympics performance in Pyeongchang, South Korea.[105]

American rapper Jay-Z often has his crowds sing "Wonderwall" after his song "Jockin' Jay-Z",[106] which includes a reference to Noel Gallagher's criticism of the rapper's involvement in the typically rock-centric Glastonbury Festival in 2008. It launched a war of words between Jay Z and Oasis, with Oasis' rhythm guitarist Gem Archer describing Jay Z's actions as akin to an "eight-year-old girl."[107] After Oasis broke up, Jay Z later claimed he would like to work with Liam Gallagher.[108]


"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 Green Day's "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".[109]

Neil Cicierega's mashup albums Mouth Silence and Mouth Moods feature tracks that are mashups of "Wonderwall" titled "Wndrwll" and "Wallspin", the former a humorous remix featuring "Everywhere You Look" and the latter a mashup with "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)".[110][111]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]