The Big Hurt: Don't look back in anger

The best of times with the worst of bands
By DAVID THORPE  |  September 8, 2009

099_oasis_main
"You don't know what you've got till it's gone," Janet Jackson once famously sampled, and how true it is. Only now that Noel Gallagher has left in a firestorm of brotherly acrimony can I truly take stock of my feelings toward OASIS.

I spent my youth hating them for their worst ballads, "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova" — songs of the round-specs days, the Prince Valiant–cut days. As I grew older and angrier, I resented them for the shabbiness of their pastiches of superior groups, from the Kinks all the way to the Stone Roses. They even grabbed Andy Bell, superior guitarist of Ride, and made him their goddamn bassist. Finally, in recent years, I became engulfed in the total Oasis indifference that's shrouded our continent for a decade. To most Americans, the big shocker this week wasn't that Oasis broke up. It was that Oasis had still been together.

(One could be forgiven for having the vague recollection that they split up back in 2000 or so. This is actually the second time Noel has left the group after a squabble with his brother. I'm writing under the assumption that now it'll stick.)

I never managed to like Oasis. I tried going back and giving them a second and a third chance, but the genuine, empirical crapness of their songs always thwarted me. Even so, the break-up is bittersweet. I'm going to miss the pure comedy of their existence. So, rather than crowing over their demise, I'd like to take a moment to remember all the good stuff:

• With so few enduringly BIG bands left, there was a certain comfort in knowing how huge they were across the pond. To this day, the UK rock press reveres them as gods — probably because their faces still sell magazines after all these years, and interviewers can always count on Noel for a rugged Mancunian witticism and Liam for a dumbshit quotable. The mere existence of such an institution — a rock band who could make headlines just by calling another band shit in a drunken backstage interview — toasted up my cockles a little.

• A credible rock band getting sued for ripping off a commercial jingle seems like an obvious killer blow, but Oasis managed to get through the ordeal only lightly scathed. Their early single "Shakermaker" grabbed the tune from the classic Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing," and Oasis paid a hefty fine. You've gotta love them for perfecting the art of the brazen, reckless homage: witness the similarity between "Cigarettes and Alcohol" and T-Rex's "Bang a Gong," or "Mucky Fingers" and the Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man," or "Part of the Queue" and the Stranglers' "Golden Brown."

• There was a certain magic in their unwavering view that they were the greatest thing in history. From their frequent proclamations that they'd be bigger than the Beatles to their condemnation of Keith Richards as "senile" and George Harrison as a "nipple," their resolute commitment to delusion and obnoxiousness was as inspiring as it was irritating.

• Those YouTube videos of Noel Gallagher getting toppled like a bowling pin by some nutcase at a Toronto-festival appearance! I must have watched it happen a hundred times, from multiple angles, and seeing Noel getting hurt was the greatest sort of wish fulfillment.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Big Hurt , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Music Stars,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DAVID THORPE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE BIG HURT: LUPE’S CAREER CHANGE  |  March 19, 2013
    You may have already had a big luxurious eye roll at celebrities as "creative directors" of companies ...
  •   WHO CHARTED: SMOOTH JAZZ SONGS  |  March 12, 2013
    If you dig deep enough into Billboard.com's genre charts, past the foreign hits, past the Latin and Christian stuff and the MySpace streaming charts, you'll find one last afterthought: Smooth Jazz.
  •   THE BIG HURT: THIS WEEK IN OFFENSIVE CONTENT  |  March 08, 2013
    In her long career of pushing boundaries, Madonna has run afoul of some of the world's most powerful institutions.
  •   THE BIG HURT: DIVING IN THE PR DUMPSTER  |  February 26, 2013
    I've been dumpster diving in the PR bin, the rankest receptacle of music industry waste, and I've come up with a dripping fistful of the month's hottest garbage.
  •   THE BIG HURT: LEANIN' WITH BIEBS  |  February 20, 2013
    Bieber was allegedly photographed sipping something from a double Styrofoam cup, in close proximity to a big bottle of codeine cough syrup. This can only add up to one thing: lean . That purple drank, the laudanum of Screw, the deadly nectar of Pimp C.

 See all articles by: DAVID THORPE