If you grew up in America, you may only vaguely remember the rivalry between Blur and Oasis. However, if you lived in the U.K., or were someone who had any interest in British music in the ’90s, you most definitely remember it because it was one of the most heated and publicized oppositions by two popular rock bands ever.
While implied rock & roll rivalries of the past had always been thrust upon by fans, and accepted only in a playful manner by the artists themselves, for instance, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, the battle between Blur and Oasis was pretty venomous. While pretty minor in comparison to the violence and deaths caused by concurrent hip-hop rivalries, the Blur/Oasis battle was like a high school popularity contest, with Oasis representing the bad boy biker kid, and Blur taking on the role of the preppy, smart guy, both of whom were running spirited campaigns for class president.
At the time, Oasis won out. “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” became a world wide smash, while Blur’s “The Great Escape” fared considerably well in England, but was only a blip in the US. Still, Oasis became like the class president who flunked out of college when they fell on their faces with “Be Here Now” in 1997. Meanwhile, Blur humbly sucker punched America with “Song 2,” along with their Pavement inspired self titled album, which along with its two followups, “13″ and “Think Tank,” have now gone onto be incredibly revered records.
Long after the dust of 1995 settled, former Oasis guitarist and main songwriter, Noel Gallagher has continued to criticize Blur and frontman Damon Albarn in interviews, most candidly in the 2003 documentary “Live Forever,” so now, despite having another full decade past that, it’s still very shocking to see Gallagher and Albarn embraced at the Brit Awards afterparty (pictured), where apparently Gallagher kissed Albarn on the lips. “It’s funny to think Blur were last here 17 years ago when we were big rivals,” said Albarn to the London Evening Standard. “Isn’t it funny how we’ve both mellowed after all these years? We’ve buried the hatchet.”
While probably just in jest, Gallagher did entertain the idea of collaborating with Albarn on some music where “He’d get a load of hip-hop dudes working on, which itself would be fucking mental.” The two have apparently been friendly since a meeting last year where they grabbed a beer together. Gallagher went on to describe Albarn as being “as mad as a box of frogs,” which is a far cry from the posh suburbanite he and his brother Liam had pegged him as for a number of years.
It’s amazing to think that the infamous “Battle of Britpop” took place nearly seventeen years ago, when Blur and Oasis both strategically released their new singles on the same day in an effort to see which band would claim the No. 1 spot on the UK charts. “Country House” ended up beating out “Roll With It,” with Blur selling 274,000 copies to Oasis’ 216,000. Check out the videos for both songs below. Which would you have chosen?
Blur – “Country House”
Oasis – “Roll With It”