Following in the footsteps of idols such as The Smiths and The Jam, Oasis continued the tradition of releasing tracks that were left off of each album they released as b-sides amidst their colossal rise to worldwide fame in the mid-‘90s. While common sense might suggest that b-sides are lower in quality than any album track, that’s not the case with Oasis; several of these unreleased tracks are among the best the band ever produced.
With most of the best-hidden gems coming from Oasis’ golden age of mid-90s chart domination, we have ranked the 15 best b-sides from Noel and Liam Gallagher. So, feel free to continue having “Wonderwall” perpetually on pause and instead indulge the underappreciated tracks that truly made Oasis a great band.
15. “Angel Child” – B-side to “D’You Know What I Mean?” (1997)
Not only was it released as a b-side, but “Angel Child” never made it past demo form, But still, it holds up as one of Noel’s cleanest and fully realized compositions. A straightforward acoustic rendition, this tune finds Gallagher speaking to an adolescent in the middle of an existential crisis and one is left to ponder whether perhaps he is singing to himself.
14. “(You’ve Got) The Heart of a Star” – B-side to “Songbird” (2002)
A horn section, inspirational lyrics and the sound of sleigh bells round out this undeniably “Christmas” feeling B-side, sung once again by Noel. Furthering Oasis’ reputation as “the people’s band,” Noel quietly reminds his listeners that amidst all that goes on in life, we simply have no choice but to be ourselves.
13. “Cloudburst” – B-side to “Live Forever” (1994)
Not typically known for complex lead guitar parts, Noel sports several standout riffs on this particularly edgy rocker, sung perfectly by brother Liam. Oasis had the ability to take a subject such as the weather and turn it into a hopefully optimistic statement. Be sure to note the beginning of Liam’s signature word-pronunciation, namely on the lyrics involving “change” and “rain.”
12. “Rockin’ Chair” – B-side to “Roll With It” (1995)
A minor-key lament requires a desperate vocal delivery, and for “Rockin’ Chair” Liam does more than provide. Speaking on behalf of those growing old and losing hope of their dreams, Liam offers a sympathetic tone in his delivery that ranks among his best vocal performances.
11. “Flashbax” – B-side to “All Around the World” (1998)
This Noel-sung electric tune comes with a feeling of freedom and arrogance characteristic of his public persona. Seemingly dismissing of anyone’s opinion other than those of his own and his mates, Noel triumphantly declares that all is okay in his world and the certainty in his voice makes it hard to argue with him.
10. “Idler’s Dream” – B-side to “The Hindu Times” (2002)
The simplicity of Oasis has often been criticized and praised alike, but on this fantastic track it stands apart as its highlight characteristic. Piano and vocals remain the only two sonic elements, yet the three-minute song sees a striking shift in tone as Noel grieves over a love that is unattainable.
9. “Round Are Way” – B-side to “Wonderwall” (1995)
An undeniable anthem for English schoolchildren, “Round Are Way” is a nostalgically joyful tune that traces its way back to the days of adolescence. With lyrics about football and birds singing in the air, a sun-filled visual rises from the sonic airwaves in the aftermath of this tune.
8. “Listen Up” – B-side to “Cigarettes and Alcohol” (1994)
A bittersweet declaration of accepting a solitary existence highlights an extended track that stands in opposition to many of the shorter unreleased Oasis tracks. Filled with another sympathetic vocal delivery and an equally somber guitar solo, “Listen Up” commands attention to a subject content with his situation.
7. “Stay Young” – B-side to “D’You Know What I Mean?” (1997)
Dismissed by songwriter Noel in the years since its release for being too “poppy,” this track remains a singular testament for much of what Oasis stood for as a band and as a cultural phenomenon. With a catchy hook, an upbeat tempo and teen-rallying lyrics, it is easy to understand this track’s popularity among fans.
6. “D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman?” – B-side to “Shakermaker” (1994)
Perhaps the quintessential representative of a young Noel Gallagher that signals the great work that was to come, this early track stands on its own as a fine song. Telling the tale of two childhood friends who have seen their dreams slip by, Noel reminds us of the power of imagination and friendship. Liam also provides a subtly beautiful background vocal track that perfectly rounds out the composition.
5. “Half the World Away” – B-side to “Whatever” (1994)
One of Noel’s sadder tracks still manages to seem strikingly uplifting, thanks in part to the major key and the optimistic final lines that end the song. Perfectly capturing the loneliness that comes from being separated from a loved one, “Half the World Away” somehow manages to offer some comfort for its listeners.
4. “Fade Away” – B-side to “Cigarettes and Alcohol” (1994)
Recorded as a punk rocker and evolving into an acoustic mainstay over the years, either rendition of “Fade Away” provide listeners with a great message from one of the spokesman of a generation. With a simple chorus about the pains of growing old, this track transforms a particularly somber inevitability of life into a welcoming aspect of life.
3. “Talk Tonight” – B-side to “Some Might Say” (1995)
Supposedly written for the person who talked Noel back into rejoining the band after a brief separation in the early days of the group’s touring, “Talk Tonight” embodies the product of Noel and his guitar, the driving force behind Oasis. Perhaps a tribute to his fans or simply another love song, “Talk Tonight” will forever remain one of the most poignant tracks in the entire Oasis canon.
2. “The Masterplan” – B-side to “Wonderwall” (1995)
A full orchestra, a striking vocal delivery and perhaps one of Noel’s strongest lyrical compositions, “The Masterplan” builds into a sprawling epic that tackles the broadest subject of nearly any Oasis song. Transforming into a hymn over the years, “The Masterplan” is a testament to the band’s ambition and confidence in themselves and their ability to speak on behalf of a generation. Once again, the simplicity of the lyrics and chord progression allow for a broad reception to the song.
1. “Acquiesce” – B-side to “Some Might Say” (1995)
Embodying friendship in true rock n’ roll form, “Acquiesce” may in fact be the quintessential Oasis track, let alone the top b-side ever released by the band. Whether Noel really wrote the song about he and his brother or was just speaking on behalf of any group of childhood friends, this song is a necessary inclusion to an art form filled with too many love songs. With Liam handling the verses and Noel belting out the triumphant chorus, “Acquiesce” is a near-perfect representation of everything Oasis once was and everything they stood for.