Wonderwall (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wonderwall cover.jpg
Single by Oasis
from the album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Released 30 October 1995 (1995-10-30)
Recorded May 1995
Studio Rockfield, Monmouth, Wales
Genre Britpop[1]
  • 4:19 (album version)
  • 3:45 (radio edit)
Label Creation
Songwriter(s) Noel Gallagher
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? track listing
Music video
"Wonderwall" on YouTube

"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 and Gallagher 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 charts in Australia, New Zealand, and Spain. 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 number two on both the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart. The single was certified triple 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 Mathews in 2001,[7] he said the song was not about Mathews: "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]

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 F4 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.

In 2012, Liam's new band Beady Eye performed the song at the London Olympics closing ceremony.

Music video[edit]

The music video original sequence by Johanna Bautista (Sweetheart Massive Attack) 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 200,9 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 the No.2 spot in both Ireland and the United Kingdom in October/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[13] and the third biggest seller never to top the UK Singles Chart.[14]

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 and their only top 40 hit on the chart (many of their songs were ineligible to 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".[15][16]
  • In January 1996, the song was voted No. 1 in the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 1995, the world's largest music poll.[citation needed]
  • 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.[17]
  • 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.[18]
  • 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".[19]
  • In 2006, U2's guitarist The Edge named "Wonderwall" one of the songs he most wishes he'd written.[20]
  • In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Wonderwall" at number 27 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.[21]
  • On 28 June 2007, 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)".[22]
  • On 20 December 2007, VH1 placed "Wonderwall" at number 35 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s.[citation needed]
  • 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.[23]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • In June 2013, the song was voted No. 1 in the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 of the past 20 years.[citation needed]
  • In February 2014, the song was voted No. 36 of The 500 greatest songs of all time, according to NME.[24]
  • In March 2016, "Wonderwall" was voted the greatest British song of all time by Radio X listeners.[25]

Cover versions[edit]

"Wonderwall" has been one of the most-frequently covered songs in history. One of the most famous cover versions 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.[26] 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.[27] It was featured in The O.C. episode "The Heartbreak". And 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".[28]

American rapper Jay Z often has his crowds sing "Wonderwall" after his song "Jockin' Jay-Z",[29] 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."[30] After Oasis broke up, Jay Z later claimed he would like to work with Liam Gallagher.[31]

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.[32]

Filipino singer-actor Khalil Ramos also did a cover version of the song in his second guesting in the radio program "Wishclusive" of Wish FM 107.5 (DWNU) last January 2017.

French-Canadian pop punk band Simple Plan created a song called "Your Love is a Lie" in 2008 with chord progressions also similar to "Boulevard of Broken Dreams".

Track listings[edit]

All tracks written 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: 19:52
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: 26:53


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 July 2017. 
  11. ^ Q Special Edition – Oasis: Ten Years Of Rock 'n' Roll Mayhem (EMAP Metro)
  12. ^ "Oasis – Fun Facts, Answers, Factoids, Info, Information". Funtrivia.com. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  13. ^ Myers, Justin (6 October 2016). "Revealed: Official Top 20 Biggest Selling Oasis Songs". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  14. ^ Myers, Justin (23 August 2014). "The million-selling songs that never made it to Number 1". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  15. ^ "Pazz & Jop critics' poll, 1995". robertchristgau.com. 
  16. ^ "Pazz & Jop critics' poll, 1996". 
  17. ^ "39th Annual Grammy Awards – 1997". Rock On The Net. 26 February 1997. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  18. ^ "Oasis hit is named 'best UK song'". BBC News. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  19. ^ Barnes, Anthony (27 August 2006). "The greatest song in the history of the world. Maybe". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  20. ^ Q Magazine November 2006 – U2 Q+A
  21. ^ "50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever". Web.nme.com. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  22. ^ "Alex James: 'I wish I'd written Wonderwall'". NME. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  23. ^ "Countdown | Hottest 100 – Of All Time | triple j". ABCnet.au. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  24. ^ "500 greatest songs of all time". NME. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Duff, Seamus (29 March 2016). "Wonderwall by Oasis voted greatest British song of all time by Radio X listeners". Metro. DMG Media. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  26. ^ From the promotional documentary for Stop the Clocks, entitled Lock the Box.
  27. ^ "The SPIN Interview: Noel Gallagher | Spin Magazine Online". Spin.com. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  28. ^ Gallagher attacks Green Day for 'ripping off' 'Wonderwall', Ireland Online, 14 December 2006.
  29. ^ Daniel Kreps (7 August 2008). "Rolling Stone article". Rolling Stone article. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  30. ^ Hot right now:    . "Gem Archer interview". Gigwise.com. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  31. ^ "Clash Music". Clash Music. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  32. ^ Verdrel, Jean-Marc (1 February 2015). "The Voice : Quentin Bruno interprète "Wonderwall" de Oasis" (in French). Coulisses de la TV. 
  33. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  34. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  35. ^ "Ultratop.be – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  37. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 63, No. 3, March 04 1996". RPM. 
  38. ^ "Rock/Alternative – Volume 62, No. 22, January 15, 1996". RPM. 
  39. ^ "Hits of the World - Eurochart Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  40. ^ "Oasis: Wonderwall" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  41. ^ "Lescharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in French). Les classement single.
  42. ^ "Musicline.de – Oasis Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  43. ^ "Tonlist Top 40". DV. Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  44. ^ "Billboard". google.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  45. ^ "Hit Parade Italia – Indice per Interprete: O". hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  47. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Oasis – Wonderwall". Top 40 Singles.
  48. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". VG-lista.
  49. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall" Canciones Top 50.
  50. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". Singles Top 100.
  51. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Oasis – Wonderwall". Swiss Singles Chart.
  52. ^ "Oasis: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  53. ^ "Oasis – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Oasis.
  54. ^ "Oasis – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Oasis.
  55. ^ "Oasis – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Oasis.
  56. ^ "Oasis – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Oasis.
  57. ^ "Oasis – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Oasis.
  58. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  59. ^ "Archive Chart: 06-09-2017". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  60. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Singles 1996". ARIA. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  61. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 64, Number 18". RPM. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  62. ^ "Rock/Alternative – Volume 64, Number 18". RPM. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  63. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1996". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  64. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1996". Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  65. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  66. ^ "Italian single certifications – Oasis – Wonderwall" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Oasis in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  67. ^ "Mexican sales certification" (in Spanish). AMPROFON. January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  68. ^ "Top 50 Singles Chart, 31 March 1996". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  69. ^ "British single certifications – Oasis – Wonderwall". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 June 2017.  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
  70. ^ "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]