5 Must-Hear Songs from Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’ to Celebrate Its 30th Anniversary

On August 30, Oasis will release a 30th anniversary edition of Definitely Maybe.

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The deluxe edition of their 1994 debut will include recordings and outtakes from Monnow Valley Studios in Wales and Sawmills Studios in Cornwall—mixed by Noel Gallagher and engineer Callum Marinho.

Upon release, the album became the fastest-selling debut in the UK, and Oasis shot to extraordinary fame. They bragged about being the biggest band in the world before becoming the biggest band in the world. The brothers Gallagher—Noel and Liam—fought, the subtitled interviews were hilarious, and kids in bucket hats changed their shoes and haircuts and formed bands because of Oasis.

Liam Gallagher calls things he likes “biblical,” so here are five biblical songs from the Manchester lads’ culture-shifting debut.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”

Most of the songs on Definitely Maybe are about dreams, escaping a nowhere town where nothing happens, and wistful fantasy. Then the fantasy happened. Noel Gallagher wrote “Rock ’n’ Roll Star” before he became one. It’s a doe-eyed anthem from a council estate in Manchester, England.

The guitarist recalled the days of Oasis playing in front of small audiences and having the arrogance to sing about being a rock star. Though Noel might have wished for it, his younger brother Liam demanded it.

I live my life for the stars that shine
People say it’s just a waste of time
Then they said I should feed my head
That to me was just a day in bed

“Cigarettes & Alcohol”

It’s not hard to trace the origins of Oasis songs. On “Cigarettes & Alcohol,” Noel borrowed the guitar riff from “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” by T. Rex and turned it into an escapist ode to smokes, pints, and mates.

Producer Owen Morris mastered the album at Johnny Marr’s studio. Definitely Maybe became an early example of the ’90s “loudness wars,” when finalized CD levels flatlined dynamics into a deafening and brittle mass. Morris said he used extreme volume to compensate for a lack of confidence in his mixes. However, the Gallagher brothers’ swagger made up for Morris’ uncertainty.

Is it my imagination
Or have I finally found something worth living for?
I was looking for some action
But all I found was cigarettes and alcohol

“Slide Away”

While Oasis recorded Definitely Maybe, Johnny Marr sent Noel a few guitars to use during the sessions. At the time, Noel played Epiphone guitars because they were affordable. (Though The Beatles also inspired him to play an Epiphone.)

One guitar Marr sent along was a Gibson Les Paul he’d received from Pete Townshend. It was one of several instruments Marr had used with The Smiths. Noel wrote “Slide Away” on the same guitar and never returned it.

The tender melancholy that defines much of his writing is distilled in “Slide Away.”

Slide away and give it all you’ve got
My today fell in from the top
I dream of you and all the things you say
I wonder where you are now

“Supersonic”

“Bring It on Down” was supposed to be the first Oasis single but the band struggled to capture a take they liked and were running out of studio time.

They recorded what became “Supersonic” as a demo in Liverpool with the help of local indie band The Real People—led by brothers Tony and Chris Griffiths. (Tony sang background vocals on “Supersonic.”)

Creation Records owner Alan McGee had pushed for “Bring It on Down” to be the band’s first single but when he heard “Supersonic,” Noel said he “freaked out.” The demo version is what’s heard on Definitely Maybe.

You need to be yourself
You can’t be no one else
I know a girl called Elsa, she’s into Alka-Seltzer
She sniffs it through a cane on a supersonic train

“Live Forever”

Though Noel is a fan of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, “Live Forever” was his reaction against the gloom of American grunge. He told NME he didn’t like the message of Nirvana’s B-side “I Hate Myself and Want to Die.” (Cobain died six days after the release of “Supersonic.”)

“Shine a Light” by The Rolling Stones provided the seeds for “Live Forever.” Noel fused Mick Jagger’s vocal melody—May the good Lord shine a light on you—with a chord progression he’d written at work in 1991.

At the time, Noel had injured his foot working for a building company contracted to British Gas and was moved to a less physical job inside the storeroom, where he’d pass the time writing songs. “Live Forever” began here, though it remained unfinished.

Two years later, he presented the completed version to the band. Alan McGee recalled hearing “Live Forever” for the first time and said it was “the single greatest moment I’ve ever experienced with them.” It became their first Top-10 hit.

Maybe I don’t really wanna know
How your garden grows
’Cause I just wanna fly
Lately, did you ever feel the pain
In the morning rain
As it soaks you to the bone?

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Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

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