By John Curley
Oasis is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of their second album, 1995’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, with a series of events. One of them is the release of the new documentary Return To Rockfield, which features Noel Gallagher returning to the Rockfield studio in the Welsh countryside of Monmouth, Wales to reminisce about the recording of the album. Gallagher appears in interview segments on his own and is also shown in conversation with Nick Brine, a Rockfield sound engineer who worked on the Morning Glory album, as they walk through the studios, the living quarters and the studio grounds. Brine also appears in several interview segments on his own. At one point, Brine states that the Morning Glory album is the recording that he worked on that most people ask him about.
Gallagher discusses how the album still stands up a quarter century on from its release, and of the contribution to Morning Glory of his brother, Oasis lead vocalist Liam Gallagher, he says, “Liam’s voice was on another f--king level on the album.”
Gallagher recounts how he literally sat atop a wall outside on the studio grounds to record his part for “Wonderwall” and there were a bunch of sheep nearby watching him do so. Brine adds that there were “twenty grand of microphones” on the wall with Gallagher as he recorded his part.
Brine discusses how Oasis worked every day when they were at Rockfield and that the album was completed very quickly, completing a song per day over 12 days. He compares that with The Stone Roses, who were at Rockfield at the same time, recording their second album The Second Coming, and took much longer.
Kingsley Ward, founder of Rockfield Studios, is also interviewed, and he talks with great pride about the landmark recordings made at the studio. Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was recorded there. Later in the film, Brine and Gallagher visit the large studio where “Bohemian Rhapsody” had been recorded. (Oasis had used one of the smaller studios in the complex to record the Morning Glory album.)
The time around the recording of the album was quite intense for the band. Drummer Tony McCarroll had been fired by the band (McCarroll appears on one Morning Glory track, “Some Might Say”) and was replaced by Alan White. Gallagher says that White was just getting to know everyone in the band as the recording of Morning Glory was happening. Gallagher also admits that the songs for the album written before the band arrived at Rockfield had two verses while those written onsite had only one verse, which was repeated twice.
The critical pasting that Morning Glory received upon its release still seems to bother Gallagher He discusses how gratifying it was for him that fans bought the album in droves despite the critics turning their noses up at it. And he opines, “Journalists know f--k all.”
In a cheeky bit of the film, a pair of the critical rip jobs that Morning Glory received are shown as graphics against the brick wall that Gallagher sat atop to record his “Wonderwall” part. NME’s dismissive review read in part: “Just an inch or two closer towards our friend Mr. Pipe and his colleague, Mr. Slippers.” Melody Maker was even more caustic, stating: “On this evidence, Oasis are a limited band . . . They sound knackered [tired].”
Regarding the success of Morning Glory, Gallagher says, “We’d made it to the top of the mountain. We were treated like The Jam and The Beatles.” He admits that kind of success was something that he dreamt about when he was still at school. It’s clear that he is quite proud of the album and says that he will probably still be asked to discuss it in 25 years’ time.
The documentary can be viewed for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg9JwZSG_vc&t=17s or below:
It should be noted that Gallagher uses a great amount of profanity in the documentary. F bombs are in strong supply. If you find coarse language upsetting, this is not the film for you.
Additional information about the 25th anniversary of the Morning Glory album can be found on the official Oasis Web site at https://www.oasisinet.com.