On the 30th August, 1994, I started work in an independent record shop. I would work there for 7 years. It was, in many ways, a job I was born to do.
On that very same day Oasis released their debut album Definitely Maybe. The small shop I worked at had ordered 1 copy on CD. That CD was sold by 1 minute past 9. It was the first sale of the day. I was new so did not vent my lack of understanding why the shop had not ordered more copies. The following day the rep from 3MV (the independent arm of Sony) was carrying the album in his car. When asked how many copies we wanted I spoke up for the first time. “100 C.D.’s, 10 cassette, 5 vinyl”. I can remember it vividly now. Back then the owner, who to be fair barely knew me, took me aside to the back of the shop by the kettle and said “can we sell them, we can’t return them?” Although I am a fairly humble character I said “they’ll be gone by Friday” of which I was absolutely certain. The owner looked me firmly in the eye, it was his money after all. He saw how certain I was and nodded.
All of them copies of Definitely Maybe were gone by the Thursday let alone the Friday and we ordered the same quantity all over again. I was handed buying duties pretty much immediately and never questioned again in all of the 7 years I worked there.
Enough about me. Oasis are pretty much ridiculed these days but their first two albums saw a rollercoaster not only of sales but drama and, well, just really good guitar pop / rock. I had seen the band on the NME Stage at Glastonbury in the June of 94. It was the bands first Glastonbury (they played before Credit To The Nation on the Sunday afternoon). Oasis cited they could not afford to go to Glastonbury before they got a record deal. I couldn’t either – but I knew how to climb over a fence. Some things in life you just have to go for – and Oasis certainly did this.
In all my time working in the record shop only one group outsold Oasis. A certain girl power group that had the tills ringing like nothing I ever witnessed again. Oasis ran them a close second but for real music, albeit belittled nowadays, Oasis were success and real songs combined. I never listen to Oasis these days – who does – but I will never knock them and always have a soft spot for the way they just rocketed like rock stars really should…