There is a lot of disagreement about the legacy of Oasis. Are they the band that defined a generation, or a group of chancers who ripped off The Beatles? As ever, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There is one element of the Manchester band that isn’t up for debate however. Oasis are undoubtedly the greatest b-side band ever. Not content with releasing a whole album worth of great b-sides in the shape of The Masterplan, there is a host of other unbelievable tracks that weren’t good enough to make it on to a studio album… the greedy bastards. Here are ten of the best of them:
10. Angel Child
Released: 7 July 1997
A-side: D’You Know What I Mean
Oasis b-sides tend to be split into two categories. The ones that involve the full band and the ones that Noel knocked off between racking up massive lines of cocaine and meeting Tony Blair. This song was sadly overshadowed by the immensely popular Stay Young that appeared on the same single but that doesn’t make it any less affecting. An acoustic led ballad that is beautiful in its simplicity.
9. (You’ve Got) The Heart of the Star
Released: 3rd February 2003
This track is a personal favourite of mine but I’ve never found anyone else who is a fan of it so maybe this one is just for me. It’s a classic Noel track with a gorgeous chorus and a stirring conclusion. Those brackets in the title are a bit unnecessary though I reckon.
8. Take Me Away
Released: 11 April 1994
This is technically the first ever Oasis b-side and it is a song I have adored ever since I heard it on a compilation tape that I stole off my mate’s brother. No regrets. Another Noel led ballad, this one aches with hungover regret and while the lyrics are a bit shit (‘I’d like to be under the sea but I’d probably need a phone’… utter nonsense), the rest of the track is catchy and affecting.
7. (I Got) The Fever
Released: 22 September 1997
A-Side: Stand By Me
Only one track from Stand By Me was picked for the b-side compilation album The Masterplan (Going Nowhere if you’re wondering). There is a strong argument that the chosen song was actually the worst of the three however. (I Got) The Fever is a classic Be Here Now era tune. It’s all there. The machine gun drums. About ten guitars. The unnecessary brackets. You hardly ever see brackets in a song title these days. Rock ‘n’ Roll is dead.
6. Idler’s Dream
Released: 15 April 2002
A-side: The Hindu Times
Noel at his most contemplative. There is a nagging feeling that a more critically acclaimed songwriter would have received much more kudos for writing such a beautiful song. The older Gallagher brother also gets a bad rep as a lyricist but ‘I’ll meet you on a day that never ends’ is a genuinely lovely line. A welcome change of pace for a band often accused of being too predictable.
5. My Sister Lover
Released: 22 September 1997
A-side: Stand By Me
This incendiary lost classic must have come close to making it on to Be Here Now. I mean, it’s probably better than Magic Pie isn’t it. Noel must long for a time when a song of this quality could be thrown away as a b-side and it’s a shame that nobody will ever hear this song live again. An absolute banger.
4. D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman
Released: 13 June 1994
Probably the simplest song that Noel Gallagher has ever written but it is also genuinely moving in its own way. I remember listening to this track at the height of my Oasis obsession with a fellow fanatic and being touched by the childlike sentiment behind the song. In the end, it is the simplicity that makes it so good.
3. Round Our Way
Released: 30 October 1995
Arguably the most famous song on this list what with being a b-side to one of the most successful singles ever recorded, and also because it was a live staple culminating in an appearance on MTV Unplugged. Round Our Way may not have aged particularly well, but it is loads of fun and stands as a spiritual sequel to similar daft classics Digsy’s Dinner and She’s Electric.
2. Sad Song
Released: 29 August 1994
A-side: Definitely Maybe
OK so this isn’t technically a b-side but rather a vinyl only album track but it is probably the most underrated Oasis song and possibly the greatest song ever recorded to never feature on an album that isn’t a standalone single. Sad Song finds Noel Gallagher at his very best and if Round Our Way is an example of a track weighed down by Britpop, Sad Song is utterly timeless.
1. Let’s All Make Believe
Released: 7 February 2000
A-side: Go Let It Out
Q magazine said of Lets All Make Believe, “If Standing on the Shoulder of Giants had contained this track, it would have probably got another star” and it’s difficult to argue with that assessment. The beauty of Let’s All Make Believe is that it is unlike any other Oasis song. An atmospheric and paranoid stomp that actually recalls Radiohead and Arcade Fire. An astonishing and unforgettable b-side.
For a review of the Oasis documentary Supersonic click here