It’s midday on Thursday, and time once again to take a look back at the movers and shakers in the UK hit parade of two whole decades ago, in The Story of Pop: 2000. This week: one of the 90s’ biggest Britpop acts make a – slightly underwhelming – return to the top after a year away…
One thing we’ll be seeing quite a lot of in this series were the returns of music stars who’d been out the limelight for a year or more. Which was the case for Manchester’s biggest rock’n’roll band of the Nineties on this very week twenty years ago.
1999 had been the first year since their debut that there was no new releases – singles or album – from Oasis. The album before that – their third, 1997’s ‘Be Here Now’ – was infamously the record that had emerged just as the Britpop wave they’d helped kick off died a death.
Whilst producing a couple of number one hits (‘D’Ya Know What I Mean?’ and ‘All Around The World’) and initially breaking all kinds of sales records, many were quick to realise what the record was musically. Chiefly, in Noel Gallagher’s words, ‘the sound of a bunch of guys, in the studio, on coke, not giving a f***’.
There was thus a bit of a more muted sense of anticipation for their fourth album, ‘Standing On The Shoulders of Giants’, their first since the closure by Alan McGee of their original record label Creation. Its lead single, ‘Go Let It Out’, was described by Noel as being ‘the closest we’ve come to sounding like a modern day Beatles’.
It was certainly a strong indication of what lay on the album, which was more of a psychedlic rock route than before. With sales of over 200,000 copies on its first week, ‘Go Let It Out’ flew to number one – their fifth UK chart topper in all – whilst the ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ album also hit the top on first week sales of 310,000.
But it was very heavily frontloaded, evidenced by the fact that neither single or album factored highly in the year-end listings, with follow-up singles ‘Who Feels Love?’ and ‘Sunday Morning Call’ registering in-out chart appearances. So whilst Oasis were back, it seemed they’d lost the edge of their mid-90s megastardom – a situation that would only progress further into the bold new decade.
Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2000. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2000.