OASIS V BLUR -The Final Verdict, Twenty Years On!

by Ray_North on January 9, 2015

Unknown-1This is a really, really scary thought, but 2015 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the infamous battle of Oasis v Blur – the height of Britpop, jangly guitars, fringes, Union Jacks and casual misogyny – yep, 1995 had it all.

For me and the Allthatsleft boys, it was kind of great, because we were all young, relatively single (or in various states of singledom) and embarking on our various careers (though I add that none of us are still doing the jobs we were doing then).

Oasis v Blur seemed at once, to divide and define that particular age – like Mods and Rockers or The Beatles and The Stones, it was a pointless gang fight that seemed to demand that everyone place themselves in a particular camp.

Damon Albarn and the Gallagher lads got lashed into each other in a sort of bizarre reproduction of what might happen if the Art School Boys met up for a fight with the Comprehensive Lads down the rec.

Over the years, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve wavered in my affiliation – at the time, I was firmly in the Oasis camp, then, when Oasis released their absolutely shocking third album, I like the fickle person I am, distanced myself away from them. Since then, it’s probably right that artistically Blur have been more prolific and interesting than Oasis.

But, this is a fight that demands a winner. And I can say, and come and take me on if you think you’re hard enough, that after twenty years a winner can be declared.

And, it’s Oasis.


Because on New Year’s Eve, Blur bassist Alex James, hosted a bash to which were invited David and Samantha Cameron. I was deeply shocked when I heard this, I was actually nauseous when I read of David Cameron actually Dad Dancing after a few glasses of red wine. Now, say, what you like about the Gallaghers and the various members of Oasis, but there is no way on God’s green earth, that Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan, James’ Oasis bassist counterpart would have ever invited a Tory MP to a Party.

And, that, dear reader, is the simple reason behind this verdict – it goes to integrity: at the end of the day, despite their faults, Oasis are left with some of it, whilst various members of Blur (there are exceptions) aren’t.

Roll with it.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East January 9, 2015 at 10:54 am

No no no no. Alex James is certainly an arse (and pretty much always has been) but he is surely balanced out by Dave Rowntree who retrained and now practices as a criminal solicitor. And in music terms there is no contest. Blur were capable of reinventing themselves again and again. Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon continue to record and be involved in vital and interesting music; whereas the Gallaghers are Dadrock personified – releasing the same old tired stadium rock until they bore us all to death.
You might vote for Oasis. For me it is Blur every day of the week.


Ray_North January 9, 2015 at 10:56 am

You make good and relevant points sir, but, they are all utterly destroyed by the single act of a bassist turned cheese-maker inviting a banker come Prime Minister to his fancy New Years Eve bash – I rest my case.


George_East January 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

I still don’t see how you can ignore Dave Rowntree. Give me him over Liam Gallagher every day of the week. I can’t think of a single rock star ever who has decided to retrain to take a (relatively) low paid and massively unglamorous job. Maybe you are just irritated that he doesn’t instruct you?


Ray_North January 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

There’s a long fucking list of solicitors who don’t instruct me! I do like Dave Rowntree, but, well, he’s only the drummer isn’t he.


George_East January 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

Yeah but if you are going to play the ‘he was only the drummer’ card, Alex James is only the bassist. The creative force in Blur was Albarn and Coxon. The creative force (if it can be described as that) in Oasis was Noel Gallagher. So if you compare like with like there really is no contest. No contest at all.

Geoff Elliott January 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

What George said. Your argument holds no water. It’s as full of holes as a Swiss cheese.

First Oasis album was a relative breath of fresh air. Everything afterwards, including both Gallagher’s solo stuff has been a dreadful bore. Albarn’s solo work is at very least interesting/thought provoking.


Ray_North January 9, 2015 at 11:04 am

All that’s true – but, that one piece of evidence about Alex James just damns them. Tonight, I’m a rock and roll star.


Ray_North January 9, 2015 at 11:17 am

(Only the bassist! How very dare you.) The band is a collective and all that good work carried out by (the wonderful) Coxon and Albarn is undone by the image of Davie Cam dancing in Cheese Boys barn. Would Weller or Strummer or Marr, or for that matter, Bruce Foxton, Paul Simonon or Andy Rourke have invited Cameron to their New Years Eve bash – no chance, because their bands (as was Oasis for all it’s faults), had a certain integrity, Blur were always art school boys posturing themselves.
I’m prepared to fight with fists over this one.


Kate Milner January 9, 2015 at 11:22 am

But Noel Gallagher leapt at the chance to hobnob with Tony Blair….??


Ray_North January 9, 2015 at 11:24 am

Yeah but that was in 1997 we were all a bit confused then!


George_East January 9, 2015 at 11:24 am

Excellent point Kate. And Damon Albarn famously turned down that hideous ‘Britpop’ Downing Street party that (thankfully) pretty much killed Brit pop dead.


George_East January 9, 2015 at 11:23 am

A very Oasis reaction. All belligerent bombast and no artistic subtlety. Parklife.


Jackie_South January 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Didn’t The Jam initially support Thatcher before she was elected?


George_East January 9, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Indeed so. Which brings me back to one of my favourite quizzes, great right wingers in music:

1. Mo Tucker (tea party loon);
2. Johnny Ramone;
3. Neil Young (at least from 1980-1989);
4. Mark E Smith (big Thatcher fan in back in the day, though possibly just to wind Red Wedge up);
5. Early Paul Weller

Any others (Bryan Ferry doesn’t count because he only found his politics once he was shit)?


Jackie_South January 9, 2015 at 6:45 pm

6. Gary Numan
7. Frank Zappa
8. Arguably, given the far-right origin of their names Joy Division/ New Order.


George_East January 9, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Zappa is a good call. Was Numan any good? Cars and Are Friends Electric aside? There are of course plenty of shit right wingers in popular music.

I’m not sure the JD/NO thing was anything more than another example of a punk/new wave artist flirting with nazi imagery.

Mike Killingworth January 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Not sure about Zappa. American libertarianism comes out of a very different culture, and really is agin everyone, left or right, rich or poor.

Geoff Elliott January 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

I’m intrigued that 20 years on this issue still has the capacity to provoke debate. Not sure I really give a shit. Oasis are certainly shit.

Ray, I think you’re on shifting sands here. I’d pack your bucket and spade and go home.


George_East January 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Only I think because it involves world beating wrong-ness on the part of Ray.


Jackie_South January 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm

A win for Blur, although I agree it looked different at the height of the Blur vs Oasis battle. Surely Dave Rowntree standing for Labour in 2010 and almost getting selected for very winnable Norwich South for them this time around easily balances out Alex James’ sins, in which case it all comes down to the music.

I think the battle was pretty much settled in 1997. Whilst ‘What’s the Story’ was probably a better album than ‘The Great Escape’ in 1995 (and certainly seen that way then by most), ‘Blur’ was so far ahead of ‘Be Here Now’ that the comparison was frankly embarrassing. ‘Blur’ showed that Blur could evolve, ‘Be Here Now’ condemned Oasis to be stuck in a twelve-year rut until they finally split.


Jackie_South January 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Oh, and the Songs to Learn and Sing stats don’t lie: 6 songs for Blur, 2 for Oasis (both posted by me!).

Good debate though Ray – and if you’d plumped for Blur you’d have had less of it! Have you been taking tips on picking an argument from a drunken Bobby West by any chance?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: