The Story Behind The Song: ‘Some Might Say’ Noel Gallagher’s “archetypal Oasis song” that changed Britain forever
It’s been 25 years since Oasis released ‘Some Might Say’, the track that would garner Noel and Liam Gallagher their first ever UK number one. It may not be the first song you go to when thinking of the Mancunian legends but according to Noel it is the “archetypal Oasis song,” and that’s good enough for us.
It’s hard to argue against it too. The track is not only full to the brim with the swaggering bravado the northern lads brought to Britpop but also speaks highly of Noel’s ability to not only hear a stadium-sized tune but enact it too.
The first track to be taken from the band’s seminal album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was always going to be a special one but ‘Some Might Say’ exceeded all expectations, rose to the top of the charts and chartered Oasis’ course towards their dominance over the decade. This was the song where things got serious.
From the first moments of Noel Gallagher’s buzzsaw riff, there’s a hint to the inspiration behind the track. When his brother Liam enters with his fabled tambourine the inspiration is plain as day, Oasis were going a bit glam. Largely thought to have been inspired by The Small Faces and T.Rex, the track is on the shinier side of classic rock tones. Yet with Noel’s splashy guitar and Liam’s undeniable magnetism, it felt new and engaging.
It was a song that Noel took extra care in creating. One of only three songs to be demoed for (What’s The Story) Morning Glory (alongside ‘She’s Electric’ and ‘Hey Now’) Noel took on all the instrumental duties during the initial recording. Naturally, perhaps because of this, Noel has always said he preferred the original demo, saying it was “sleazier and dirtier” and they the album version was “more Britpop.”
It’s hard to argue with that assessment. When ‘Some Might Say’ was released it was the moment Britain finally found itself a new unifying subculture following years of tribal infighting. Finally, we all had a reason to be proud of our current, we had this new thing that everybody wanted, we had Britpop. Oh, and Oasis.
Above all else, the song reeks of Oasis’ heyday, when they were the new kids on the block, except they were on the corner of the block tripping kids up as the walked past. In a 2003 interview, Noel would later say the track was the “archetypical Oasis song” and that it “defines what Oasis is.” More importantly, perhaps, it defines what Oasis would become. They were no longer on the path towards becoming a big band they were now on the journey to becoming icons.
Beyond being a song of significance for the rise of one of the most important rock bands of all time, it also marked a change in the British psyche. Acclaimed journalist Jon Savage was interviewed during Oasis’ documentary Supersonic where he described watching the band perform ‘Some Might Say’ on Top of the Pops with tears in his eyes. To him, it represented so much more.
This was the moment that the British public got their act together. The moment they put down the candied pop of old and decided to pick up a brand new sound, Britpop was born. But it was also the time of seismic change outside of the music world too as it coincides with the May local elections where the then-Conservative Government of John Major were trounced in the local elections.
We couldn’t say whether one would have happened without the other, we’ve watched enough time-travel films to know that everything’s connected. But what ‘Some Might Say’, and it rises to the top of the charts, does show us is that Britain was ready to reassert its authority over the rock and roll Kingdom it had seemingly given to the Americans. Britain was ready to wake up and find some new royalty.
In Oasis, finally, we had our new heirs to the throne and they weren’t about to wait their turn. It would see the Gallagher brothers, feuding as ever, dominate the decade and make Britain cool again.