Who was the Oasis anthem Wonderwall written about?

30 October 2023, 18:33

Oasis brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher in Japan in 1994
Oasis brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher in Japan in 1994. Picture: Getty Images

Radio X gets to the bottom of the inspiration behind the classic Britpop song.

Oasis released their landmark hit, Wonderwall on 30 October 1995.

The fourth single to be taken from the band's second album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - Wonderwall narrowly missed out on the UK top spot, being pipped to the post by Robson & Jerome's I Believe.

Despite the TV crooners stealing a UK number one single from the Manchester band, the Gallagher brothers' guitar-led ballad has definitely stood the test of time, influencing subsequent generations and going on to spawn thousands of covers.

"Because maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me / And after all, you're my wonderwall..."

But who or what was Wonderwall about, and (as Fran Healy of Travis sang back in 1999) what's a Wonderwall anyway?

Oasis - Wonderwall (Official Video)

What is the meaning of the Wonderwall?

When the song was first released, many assumed that Noel Gallagher's track was inspired by his then-girlfriend Meg Matthews, who he married in 1997 and shares daughter Anaïs with.

Noel appeared to have gone along with the theory when talking to NME magazine at the time, telling the outlet: "It's about my girlfriend, Meg Matthews."

As reported by The Mirror, the rocker is quoted as saying: "She had a company which folded and she was feeling a bit sorry for herself. The sentiment is that there was no point in her feeling down, she has to sort my life out for me because I'm in bits half the time.

"We have an ordinary relationship. I met her at Christmas so I've always been a pop star since I've known her. Right now we've got the best part of a month off so, while I'm rehearsing, she's at work. When we get home we just sit down and have a couple of drinks."

Meg Matthews and Noel Gallagher at the Premiere of Snatch
Meg Matthews and Noel Gallagher at the Premiere of Snatch. Picture: Rune Hellestad/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

However, by the time their marriage was over and the pair had divorced in 2001, Noel had a change of heart.

Speaking to the BBC in a 2002 documentary, the rocker mused: "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?"

Instead, Gallagher attributed Wonderwall to being about someone who didn't exist.

It's a song about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself."

Ouch. That's got to hurt.

Liam Gallagher - Wonderwall live at Radio X

Are there any other inspirations for Wonderwall?

Since it's almost impossible to talk about Oasis without mentioning The Beatles, we may as well mention that the song's title is said to have been inspired by the 1968 movie, which had a George Harrison soundtrack.

Wonderwall film poster
Wonderwall film poster. Picture: Movie Poster Image Art/Getty ImagesMovie Poster Image Art/Getty Images

The psychedelic film, which starred Jane Birkin as Penny Lane (yes, really), follows a reclusive scientist Professor Oscar Collins (JackMcGowran), who comes to spy on his next door neighbour.

Collins discovers a beam of light which streams through a hole in the wall, which reveals a Penny Lane modelling for a photo shoot.

He starts making more and more holes and the days go by and becomes infatuated by Penny, who lives with her photographer boyfriend (Iain Quarrier).

After a huge row between the couple, which causes them to split, the film culminates in Penny taking an overdose.

Thanks to his "Wonderwall" of holes, harmless peeping Tom Professor Oscar sees the young heroine in destress and comes to her rescue.

Watch the trailer to the film here:

Wonderwall 1968 Trailer


Radio X Best Of British - see the Top 100

The original line-up of Oasis in November 1993: aul Arthurs aka Bonehead, Tony McCarroll, Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Paul McGuigan.

Live Forever by Oasis named Radio X Best Of British 2024

Nothing But Thieves: Soundcheck To Stage