There is no doubt that 1994 was Oasis’ year. Arguably it all began in the summer and saw the month of June become a pivotal moment in their career that would go on to put the Mancunian legends onto a star-bound trajectory that few could contain. It saw the band making their Glastonbury debut and debut onTop of the Pops, all in a matter of days. For many outsiders of the band, it would be the moment a generation was defined by the people’s music.
Their immaculate debut record, Definitely Maybe, which has now sold over 15 million copies across the world and been rightly regarded as one of the finest of the decade and beyond, was set to hit the shelves at the end of August and in the preceding months, the whole of Britain got caught up in an Oasis fever dream. Swept away by the swagger and showmanship of a brand new rock and roll, undoubtedly inspired by Britain’s past, the public was in awe at the return of the golden age of music.
It was just over two months before in April that Oasis burst onto the scene in true emphatic fashion in the form of their debut track ‘Supersonic’. The song tapped into the veins of the youth of Britain who had been waiting for a long time for a defining band or artist like Oasis. America had grunge, but the UK struggled to match the intensity. There is certainly a case for the bagginess of Madchester infiltrating the collective consciousness, but, ultimately, it remained a unique viewpoint that the mainstream couldn’t align with. Oasis were different. They not only look set to sweep across Britain but were aiming for it; they just needed a proper stage.
Two months after the release of ‘Supersonic’, their second single ‘Shakermaker’ was released, and that managed to climb its way all the way to number eleven in the chart, which meant one thing; the Gallagher’s were set to bring their unique brand of Britpop to the masses on Top of the Pops. The show is a UK stalwart and saw only the highest-charting artists given a chance to perform. Being offered a spot was a rite of passage, Oasis had never dreamed of reaching.
The song famously would end up becoming the case of a plagiarism lawsuit by Coca Cola which would see Oasis pay out $500,000 in damages due to the similarities between the song and ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’ by The New Seekers that featured in a 1971 Coke commercial. When Noel Gallagher was asked about the case, he comically responded: “Now we all drink Pepsi”.
Bonehead said this about the track during one of Tim Burgess’ twitter listening parties in March: “This was our 2nd single off the album, charted at number 11. originally had the words I’d like to buy the world a coke to keep it company, but we had to take them off or else, said Coca Cola. Whatever”.
Just two months later following the release of ‘Shakermaker’ they would share the iconic ‘Live Forever’, which, put together with ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Shakermaker’, has to be one of the strongest trinity of singles in history. It did the job and further increased the anticipation for Definitely Maybe. It’s been a while since rock and roll has been as excited about a debut with possibly only Arctic Monkeys matching them.
For their Top of the Pops appearance, Liam Gallagher opted for a brown corduroy jacket rather than in his now trademark parka or kagoule, delivering a barnstorming vocal performance as the five-piece made it clear to anyone watching at home that Oasis were here to stay.
One of the more unique moments came with the drummer Tony Carroll being placed at the front of the stage with Noel Gallagher and Bonehead behind and Liam Gallagher at the back. Whether intentional or otherwise, the band mirrored The Jam’s final performance on the show when they performed ‘Beat Surrender’ in 1982. It was a ceremonial passing of the baton as Oasis looked set to continue what Paul Weller and co. had left behind.
Watch their thumping debut on the British institution, below.