This week came the news that the filmmakers behind Amy - the UK's highest-grossing documentary ever - would be turning their attention next to the story of Oasis. Focusing on their early years (Noel joining his brother's band in 1991 is the starting point), it promises to be an intriguing flip of the Winehouse narrative - swapping desperate descent for unstoppable rise. It's a tantalizing prospect not least because - as with their constant inspiration The Beatles - the Oasis story has always been as compelling as the music itself.
For a band that, six years after they split, continue to fill magazine covers for fun their imperial phase has received surprisingly little on-screen scrutiny thus far. Aside from the tenth anniversary Definitely Maybe package most of the era has been confined to occasional music monthly re-hashes or scattered across youtube (the new film will do well to match Noel at the 1994 NME Awards for capturing the literal wide-eyed ambition of nineties youth).
The most obvious oversight thus far would appear to be the Knebworth tapes from 1996. Confirmed as existing but left gathering dust for almost two decades, it feels like a missed opportunity not to revisit the biggest rock n roll shows for a generation. Until, that is, you remember with Oasis it was always the thrill of the chase, the seatbelt-straining journey over the destination (when they did reach the summit simply asking D'You Know What I Mean? on their 1997 return was not enough for many critics - including a withering Morrissey).
The band's career may have spanned 18 years but it's the thrilling 28 months from the release of their debut single in April 1994 through to those two record-breaking nights in Hertfordshire that won them the hearts and minds of a generation. From baggy outsiders to - albeit briefly - the biggest band in the world in record time; their appeal lay not so much with any sonic innovation as their own supersonic ascent.
Much like the football team vaulting through the leagues to take the title, it was both mesmerizing and joyous to watch. Every boast was backed-up, every prediction proved. It's perhaps no coincidence that in the same month Alan McGee discovered the band in Glasgow another big mouth left the stage several miles south. Brian Clough's own 18-year career of success and sound bites in Nottingham ended that May of 1993 in relegation and alcohol. The Gallagher brothers would happily pick up the baton, making a virtue of the latter and filling a vacancy in British life for rent-a-quote interview gold.
Pre-Oasis, indie ambition was limited to perhaps an appearance on Channel 4's Chart Show once every three weeks (the indie charts were rotated with the rock and the dance charts), if you were lucky an NME cover and infrequently Top Of The Pops. Comparisons with giants like The Stones and The Who were unheard of and direct talk of rock 'n' roll (as featured on the notorious Noel v Liam interview single Wibbling Rivalry) had been beyond the pale ale for The Smiths while the ambitious Stone Roses squirmed in the spotlight.
But from the moment Definitely Maybe became the UK's fastest-selling debut album of all time in August 1994 the landscape changed. What followed were unprecedented scenes for marginalized indie kids across the land; Cigarettes & Alcohol crashing the top ten (it's intro even sounding like a TV going out a window), a cocky bid for the Christmas No.1 with the string-laden Whatever only thwarted by the stubborn festive tag-team of East 17 and Mariah Carey and - the following spring - a genuinely jaw dropping moment as Some Might Say knocked Take That's finest hour Back For Good off the top spot. This sort of thing just didn't happen.
The first "peoples" band to hit No.1 since The Jam with Beat Surrender in December 1982, it was now a story a week for a rabid music press (the excitement heightened still by the pre-internet rationing of news). Warchild, Sacked drummers, Glastonbury, Robbie, Blur v Oasis, Mike Flowers, Maine Road, The Brits and a string of essential B-sides. By the time Knebworth arrived the heady rise had taken its toll and as the fireworks flickered in the late night drizzle a sense of peak pervaded.
Beyond those record-breaking shows Oasis would get bigger - tabloid editors, for one, had clocked that summer's infamous 1 in 5 population ticket stat - yet never better. As the music stalled they hit the front page of The Sun twice before the end of that year; Noel quitting the U.S. tour (Blowasis!) and both Gallaghers getting a haircut on Christmas Eve (quite brilliantly, The Brothers Trim). Yet it was another tabloid fixture that finally brought the party to a close. Unlike the producer's previous subjects - Senna and Amy - the Oasis story doesn't have an obvious tragedy, but the sudden death of Princess Diana in August 1997 - just ten days after the release of the celebratory Be Here Now - marked a full stop of sorts. A teary and bleary-eyed nation sobered up and within weeks Elton was back at No.1 - normal service resumed.
The price to pay for this remarkable period was, of course, that both Oasis and indie music - initially lean and focused - came out the other side bloated and dazed, seduced by the mainstream they so successfully infiltrated. Now, almost 25 years since Noel walked into that rehearsal room, and after a period of soul-searching, the independent music scene finds itself in a remarkably similar state to back then - vibrant and dreaming of a break through. It couldn't happen again, could it?Suggest a correction