10 things you didn't know about Supersonic by Oasis

11 April 2024, 14:04

Oasis in November 1993: Noel Gallagher, Bonehead, Paul McGuigan, Tony McCarroll, Liam Gallagher.
Oasis in November 1993: Noel Gallagher, Bonehead, Paul McGuigan, Tony McCarroll, Liam Gallagher. Picture: James Fry/Getty Images

30 years ago, on 11th April 1994, the Manchester band changed the face of British music with their debut single. Here are some of the more surprising facts about this landmark track.

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Radio X

By Radio X

Supersonic was the first Oasis single, released on Monday 11th April 1994 on the independent label Creation. The band had previously issued a promo 12" of their track Columbia at the tail end of 1993, but Supersonic was the first time the Manchester band's material had been commercially available to a wider audience.

With its loose, lazy drumbeat, swaggering guitar line and defiant Liam Gallagher vocal, it's no exaggeration to say that the arrival of Oasis signalled a sea change in British music. "Indie" stopped being a description of record labels and became a genre in its own right, while the wave of Britpop would put the Manchester band at the forefront of the biggest youth movement of the decade.

Liam Gallagher in action at London's Astoria (RIP) on 19th August 1994
Liam Gallagher in action at London's Astoria (RIP) on 19th August 1994. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Issued with the catalogue number CRE 176 - on the Creation discography between Teenage Fanclub's Mellow Doubt (CRE 175) and Vendetta by Adorable (CRE 177) - the single was issued on the same day as Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by Crash Test Dummies and The Pretenders' weepie I'll Stand By You, entering the charts at Number 31 on Sunday 17th April.

In the end, Supersonic stayed on the UK singles chart for an amazing 60 weeks, half of those taking place in the aftermath of the release of the band's mammoth second album, (What's The Story) Morning Glory?

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  1. This legendary Manchester tune was actually recorded in Liverpool

    Oasis had played a show with Liverpool indie band The Real People at the Merseyside venue The Krazy House on 16th December 1993. Three days later, the Mancunians went into The Pink Museum, a recording studio in the Lark Lane area of Liverpoolt o record their debut single for Creation. The facility is now known as The Motor Museum and is owned by local hero Andy McCluskey of the band OMD, who had recorded their 1991 album Sugar Tax there.

    Liam Gallagher onstage at an early Oasis show at London's Water Rats, 27th January 1994.
    Liam Gallagher onstage at an early Oasis show at London's Water Rats, 27th January 1994. Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty
  2. Supersonic almost wasn't the debut single from Oasis

    The original plan was to record the song Bring It On Down as the debut single for Oasis, at the behest of Creation label boss Alan McGee, who liked the tune. However, the band couldn't master a decent take of this track, so Noel Gallagher suggested they work on an alternative, a song called I Will Believe.

    Engineer Dave Scott told the site Oasis Recording Information that he'd already recorded demos for the pre-Oasis band The Rain and was working with the band's live sound producer Mark Coyle at the Pink Museum session. When Noel felt that a recording of that song wasn't going anywhere, they moved onto recording Take Me Away, which ended up as the b-side to their debut.

    While the rest of the band ate a Chinese takeaway, Noel sat down and worked on a new song, which he claims took him about "half an hour". Scott recalled that "Noel shouted the chords to Bonehead while he improvised some words and Bonehead relayed it to Guigsy who was in the room with Tony, the drummer. After about 15 minutes, that was it."

    Oasis - Bring It On Down (Official Lyric Video)

  3. The finished song is still technically a demo

    Supersonic was recorded and mixed in just 11 hours by Dave Scott and the final quick mix, known in the trade as a "monitor mix", is what ended up on the single - and subsequently the album Definitely Maybe.

  4. Tony Griffiths of The Real People appears on the song

    As mentioned previously, The Real People were mentors of the young Manchester band and offered advice and support to Noel Gallagher in the early days. Their self-titled 1991 album is the missing link between old school indie and Britpop. Bassist Tony Griffths donated harmony vocals to Supersonic, while his colleague and brother Chris would be credited as a co-writer of the song Rockin' Chair, the b-side to 1995's Roll With It.

    The Real People - Window Pane

  5. Liam Gallagher's vocals on Supersonic were recorded in one take

    The brisk writing and recording of the single meant that the vocal was nailed by the younger Gallagher in just one go.

  6. Noel actually drank gin and tonic before writing the lyrics

    According to Dave Scott, the thirsty songwriter needed some alcoholic stimulation before quickly penning the words to Supersonic. "He said whiskey gave him a bad head and beer was too heavy. I said that I’d just returned from France on the plane and had drunk G+T as there was no Vodka on the plane. The effect of the G+T was really buzzy, almost speedy. So, Noel got some G+T from the offy." The line "I'm feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic" found its way into the song.

  7. Elsa was a dog who made quite an impact on Noel

    The "Elsa" who is "into Alka-Seltzer" is actuall the name of Dave Scott's dog, who he claimed "farted loudly and jumped off the couch revealing an old stain from years ago. Bonehead said 'Dave! Your dog’s followed through!'. Noel quickly incorporated that into the song."

    Liam and Noel Gallagher in Manchester, November 1993
    Liam and Noel Gallagher in Manchester, November 1993. Picture: James Fry/Getty Images
  8. There are two videos to Supersonic!

    Oasis - Supersonic (Official HD Remastered Video)

    Yes indeed, here they both are. The original was, of course, shot for the UK market and was filmed on the roof of a warehouse in the Euston Road across from Kings Cross Station in London. You can see the Great Northern Hotel in the background and the location is now an Access Self Storage (if you fancy storing your Oasis vinyl collection in an historic spot). The second video was shot for the US market on the band's fateful first American tour - which was the scene of Noel's legendary flounce after their disastrous Whisky A Go Go show.

    Oasis - Supersonic – US Version

  9. The front cover is taken at Monnow Valley Studios

    The location was formerly the rehearsal space at the fanmous Rockfield Studios in Wales (where (What's The Story) Morning Glory? would eventually be recorded), which became an independent studio in its own right. Oasis had spent some time at the end of 1993 at the studio to begin the recording of their debut album Definitely Maybe.

    Oasis - Supersonic vinyl artwork
    Oasis - Supersonic vinyl artwork. Picture: iTunes/Press
  10. Oasis made their debut TV appearance on The Word, playing Supersonic

    The very first TV appearance by the Gallagher-led behemoth should have been the band's impromptu appearance as part of the ITV Telethon in June 1992, but the clip was apparently never aired and remains unreleased. This means, that the first time the wider world outside of Manchester got an eyeful of Oasis was on Channel 4's Friday night parade of bad taste and outrage, The Word, where the band were introduced by Mark Lamarr performed their debut single Supersonic, three weeks before it hit the shops. Also appearing on the show that night: Soul Asylum!

    Oasis Tv Debut - Supersonic (Live The Word 1994)

Thanks to Oasis Recording Information for excellent background information


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