Wonderwall (song)

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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
Recorded May 1995 at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales
Genre Britpop[1]
Length 4:19 (Album version)
3:45 (Radio edit)
Label Creation
Writer(s) 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 the English rock band Oasis, written by the band's guitarist and main songwriter Noel Gallagher. The song was produced by Owen Morris for their 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 chart in Australia, New Zealand and Spain, reached the top ten on other ten charts, including the Canada and United States at number 5 and 8 respectively, as well as number two on the both UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart. The single was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry and certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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".[3] 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.[4]


Noel Gallagher told NME in 1996, that "Wonderwall" was written for his then-girlfriend, Meg Mathews.[5][6] However, after Gallagher divorced Matthews in 2001,[7] he said the song was not about Matthews: "The meaning of that song was taken away from me by the media who jumped on it, and how do you tell your missus 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]

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".[6]

"Wonderwall" is written in the key of F# Minor and is set in common time with a moderate dance groove.[8] Gallagher's voice ranges from an E3 to an F#4 in the song.[8]

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.[9]

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 162 million views on the official Oasis YouTube channel, making it the most popular Oasis video on the Internet.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]


Chart and sales performance[edit]

"Wonderwall" reached No.2 spot in the British Isles countries of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. 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.[13]

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; their biggest hit on the chart. "Wonderwall" also 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]

  • 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".[14][15]
  • 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.[16]
  • 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.[17]
  • 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".[18]
  • In 2006, U2's guitarist The Edge named "Wonderwall" one of the songs he most wishes he'd written.[19]
  • In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Wonderwall" at number 27 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]

Cover versions[edit]

"Wonderwall" has been one of the most-frequently covered songs in history. One of 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.[23] 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.[24] 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 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."[25]

American rapper Jay Z often has his crowds sing "Wonderwall" after his song "Jockin' Jay-Z",[26] 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 an Oasis band member describing Jay Z's actions as akin to an "eight-year-old girl."[27] After Oasis broke up, Jay Z later claimed he would like to work with Liam Gallagher.[28]

Vince Irie did a mash up of the song with "Stir It Up" for his audition on The Voice of Holland. Quentin Bruno performed the song for his audition on The Voice: la plus belle voix and was selected to be on the team of the singer and songwriter Mika.[29]

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. ^ "Countdown – Twenty Years of triple j's Hottest 100 – triple j". abc.net.au. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Brad Mehldau Trio Add To The "Wonderwall" Cover Canon, Ryan Adams To Tour With The Guys Who First Recorded That Song". Stereogum. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b Krugman, Michael (1997). Oasis: supersonic supernova. Macmillan Publishers. pp. 99–102. ISBN 0-312-15376-7. 
  7. ^ "Noel and Meg finally divorce". BBC News (London: BBC). 19 January 2001. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Digital Sheet Music, Oasis "Wonderwall"". musicforte.com. Peer International Music Publishing. 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Robinson, John (19 June 2004). "Not Here Now". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 January 2006. 
  10. ^ Oasis – Wonderwall – Official Video. YouTube. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  11. ^ Q Special Edition – Oasis: Ten Years Of Rock 'n' Roll Mayhem (EMAP Metro)
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  13. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pazz & Jop critics' poll, 1995". robertchristgau.com. 
  15. ^ "Pazz & Jop critics' poll, 1996". 
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  18. ^ Barnes, Anthony (27 August 2006). "The greatest song in the history of the world. Maybe". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  19. ^ Q Magazine November 2006 – U2 Q+A
  20. ^ "50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever". Web.nme.com. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
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  23. ^ From the promotional documentary for Stop the Clocks, entitled Lock the Box.
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External links[edit]