Stories - Entertainment - Music

The Oasis, a swimming pool and a Rolls-Royce

By Stefano Nappa
4 min read

Who, as a boy, didn’t have the Oasis Be Here Now poster in the room? In 1997 if you were over 12 regardless the country, the new Beatles from Manchester were everywhere.

When I was 10, in 1997, I stole it from my brother’s library to take it to school, I spent more hours looking at the cover and its interior than studying grammar rules during Italiano lessons.

This album has a unique charm. The cover, in fact, is an icon of music, like the first 4 Oasis albums. So far I have told you about the Liverpool music scene, that of New York, but this time, however, we return to Manchester since we have already been there with Joy Division.

This was the most anticipated record in the entire history of English music.

oasis

After the success of Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the brothers Gallager and their Band had had a kind of creative block due to their almost “Beatlesian” popularity. Especially after playing in front of 250,000 people out of 2,500,000 ticket requests at Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire.

The one who suffered the most, however, was Noel, author and writer of all the pieces of the band, because the numerous conflicts within the band were causing instability at any time of the day. Eventually the spark to create the pieces came on vacation with Johnny Depp and Kate Moss at Mick Jagger’s mansion in Mustique.
Here Noel recorded more than 14 demos together with producer Owen Morris, among other things in the song Fade In-Out it is Depp himself who plays the guitar and the idea was born simply after a hangover on a Caribbean beach.

As usual, once you’ve finished recording a disc, it’s time to dress it up: the cover.
In their history they have had many photographers but only one has always taken care of the image of their music and that is Michael Spencer Jones.

He had already photographed them for the first and second albums, including the singles, with ideas and sets created in a natural way and built on the image of the band.

Compared to other bands like The Verve, Oasis strangely appealed to him They gave him an extra stimulus in the position of the shots.
Suffice it to see the shot of Definitely Maybe, precise in the angles and height or as in (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? perfect shot as an image of a cover album.

The cover of the first Oasis album entered the history of world music, because it created a sort of identity card for the band. Did you know that before their first live performance, which would have led them to be hired by Creation Records, they had almost been sent away?

For Be Here Now they had to do something stronger, something that not everyone could afford.

So why not throw a Rolls-Royce into a swimming pool?

The car arrived at Stocks House in Hertfordshire without the engine but Michael feared the possibility of finding too many oil stains on the surface once the pool was filled.
Fortunately this did not happen and the photo was taken in April 1997.

A detail had to be added to make the photo even more iconic, but what? a LICENSE PLATE. It is the same as the police car parked on the cover of The Beatles album – Abbey Road which I already told you about a few weeks ago.

oasis

The angle chosen for the shot is perfect, everything is balanced in the right way.
The color of the house, which contrasts with the green of the trees and the blue of the sky, and the five boys around the pool was not only made an incredible cover album but a legendary musical painting out of it.

Originally the cover was to feature 4 separate photos, in four clippings with each band member. But to overcome the numerical problem of the band, being 5, Liam had to have a position in every shot.

Noel wanted to be photographed in a tree playing guitar, Alan White in an east-east pub, Guigsy on a St. Lucia beach to relax and Bonehead wanted to be photographed in a Rolls-Royce immersed in a swimming pool. It was a tribute to Keith Moon, drummer of The Who (another story from a novel).

Hence the idea of the complete shot with the camera in the pool.
Although this record remains among the best-selling albums in England, for the Gallagher brothers it was the record of discord. However, it does not matter because it will remain one of the most beautiful records in rock history.

4 min read

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