The first surprise is that I’m posting an Oasis song. The second surprise is that it’s so soon in the month (rather than tucked away quietly somewhere in the middle, during those fallow days when no-one’s really paying any attention). The third surprise, though not to me, is that it’s not Acquiesce, or even Half the World Away.
Unlike Cloudburst, both Acquiesce and Half the World Away have risen above their b-side status. Unlike Cloudburst, both made it onto the 1998 Oasis compilation album The Masterplan. Acquiesce is lauded as an example of the Noel greatness, because here was a song he could toss out as a b-side, and Half the World Away is known to millions as the theme to BBC sitcom The Royle Family.
Cloudburst, on the other hand, wasn’t good enough for Definitely Maybe, was just about good enough to appear as a b-side to Live Forever, but was left off The Masterplan. How much do you have to not rate one of your own songs to treat it this way? Granted, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s not that spectacular - just the usual Liam sneering, simple but brutally effective riff and rhythm guitar, and Tony McCarroll’s meat and potato (least I think that was Tony Parsons’ phrase) drumming thunking along, workmanlike, in the background. And perhaps you’re right, but couldn’t you say the same of Rock ‘n Roll Star?’, and is this really a worse song (pounding for pounding) than Shakermaker? C’mon. You can’t seriously say that it is. Maybe the problem with Cloudburst was that Oasis just weren’t doing enough coke at this early stage of their career, and wanted to keep Definitely Maybe tight, and bloat-free. Later, of course, they would wildly over-correct, and give us the monstrosity that was Be Here Now, but back in 1994 that is still several million album sales down the line / drain / nose etc…
Having bought Supersonic when it was still just a new song by one of those weird bands I was into, according to a friend, and having skipped Shakermaker on account of it not being a great song, Live Forever brought back the excitement of a Manchester band just throwing out a cracking tune, cutting through the rubbish on offer elsewhere, and making sure to provide a b-side with attitude, one to savour.
Over on youtube, by the way, one commenter reckons it’s nothing more than a rip-off of Standing Here by The Stone Roses. Judge for yourself: