Thursday, 1 January 2015

Oasis 'Stand By Me'

Chart Peak: 2
'Stand By Me' was a No. 2 smash for Oasis in late September '97... Every one of their 6 singles since 'Some Might Say' in 1995 has made either No. 1 or No. 2 in the UK chart.
In fact, they stretched that to eight before 'Who Feels Love' broke it by only getting to 4. Though it's oddly unmentioned in the sleeve note there, they'd also just scored the fastest-selling album in UK history with Be Here Now. Such was their fame at this time that ITN actually reported on the release of their previous single as if it was a news story, and speculated as to whether it would become the biggest-selling single ever (spoiler: it wasn't). Little can they have known then that the actual all-time biggest seller was just a few weeks away, and would indeed be responsible for keeping this follow-up from topping the chart.
That tweet is from JPK Discography, who I hope won't mind me mentioning that he is my brother. He's been listening to all the music he has in alphabetical order (he's got as far as P) and I think he's summarised 'Stand By Me' quite well there. It's probably the most played of the three UK singles from the album nowadays (despite being the only one not to top the chart) but understandably most of the retrospective fuss about Oasis still concentrates on the first two albums. At the time I was already "over" Oasis and viewed a lot of the hype around the album and single with amusement, though I do remember getting to go into HMV in the evening because they were doing an exclusive in-store playback the night we happened to be at the cinema in the local shopping centre; I can't remember whether that was the same night we saw a fight in McDonalds but I have a memory of pointedly buying something else. We did get a poster for our mum though.

In some ways, 'Stand By Me' is almost the archetype of an Oasis song, with its stately pace (it could only be considered fast by comparison with the previous three tracks) its obvious retro borrowings (Noel Gallagher admits that the chorus was inspired by 'All The Young Dudes', albeit that the chords are different for once) and the seemingly thoughtless lyric. And like almost everything they ever recorded, especially on this album, it's very long at almost six minutes; apparently a slightly shorter radio edit was released in France.  And yet there's also something oddly irrefutable about it, the way that it just keeps on going at its stately pace and doesn't care what you think. The string arrangements, buried in the mix, are rather pretty too. Although Gallagher grasped the Beatles comparisons with both hands, this is a reminder that the classic Oasis sound is at least as much influenced by pre-punk 70s rock as anything from the 60s. The song's grown on me enough that I was slightly tempted to buy the copy of the CD single that I saw in a charity shop the other day for 50p.

Also appearing on: Now 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 52, 53, 54, 61, 62
Available on: Be Here Now

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