The Greatest Years In Music #3

by Mostyn Taylor-Crockett


Music has a tendency to portray glamorous protagonists, talk of great riches and the romantic dreams of lowly people. However, in 1995 music witnessed one of its great chart battles between two bands who detailed the banalities of life in Britain; Blur and Oasis. This was the year of Britpop.

The seemingly mundane stories that pervade Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? make it one of the quintessential Britpop albums. In She’s Electric the narrator tells us about his girlfriends eccentric family, “She’s got a cousin / in fact she’s got ‘bout a dozen”, is a prime example of the whimsical details included in the song. The album also produced two of the band’s, and possibly Britpop’s, best known anthems - Don’t Look Back In Anger and Wonderwall.

Although Oasis’ album had a greater legacy, Blur ultimately won the ‘battle of Britpop’, with their single Country House beating Oasis’ Roll With It to top spot. The media coverage of the ‘battle of Britpop’ was somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, with the story making it into many newspapers and being covered on the BBC news at six. It seems that this event and Britpop transcended music and captured the mood of the country becoming a major part of the Cool Britannia movement. While Oasis and Blur fought for the top of the charts, Supergrass released Should I Coco which out-stripped both musically. The album echoes the sounds of the punk and new wave bands that came a decade before them, comfortably switching between the heavy and hard hitting Caught By the Fuzz and the light piano and frivolous lyrics of Alright.

Bjork’s album Post is regarded by critics as one of the best albums of the year and included one of her biggest singles It’s Oh So Quiet. Elvis Costello included the album in his list of ‘500 albums you need’ for Vanity Fair; and it has since been included in many similar lists. Michael Jackson released HIStory, which is composed of a greatest hits compilation and disc of then-new material.

In the USA Coolio released what became the year’s best selling single: Gangsta’s Paradise. The song was included in the soundtrack for the film Dangerous Minds. Elsewhere, the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction won the best soundtrack award at the Brit Awards, and is now regarded, alongside Reservoir Dogs, as one of the best uses of music in a film. Although artists had been inducted since 1986 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s museum was opened by Yoko Ono and Little Richard, following a concert with performances by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.