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RETRO CHART 1997: 25 years ago, Oasis topped charts with 7-minute D’You Know What I Mean

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The cover of D’You Know What I Mean. The photo was taken in front of the ‘Blind Steps’ in Wigan, so called because they run past the Blind Workshop.

The cover of D’You Know What I Mean. The photo was taken in front of the ‘Blind Steps’ in Wigan, so called because they run past the Blind Workshop.

The cover of D’You Know What I Mean. The photo was taken in front of the ‘Blind Steps’ in Wigan, so called because they run past the Blind Workshop.

1 D’You Know What I Mean Oasis

2 I’ll Be Missing You Puff Daddy & Faith Evans

3 C U When U Get There Coolio feat 40 Thevz

4 Freedom From Desire Gala

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5 History/Ghosts Michael Jackson

6 Ecuador Sash! ft Rodriguez

7 Piece Of My Heart Shaggy featuring Marsha

8 Free Ultra Nate

9 Gotham City R Kelly

10 How Come, How Long Babyface ft Stevie Wonder

D’You Know What I Mean was the third Oasis single to reach number one in the UK charts - after Some Might Say in 1995 and Don’t Look Back In Anger in 1996. (Wonderwall, the band’s biggest selling song in their homeland, had stalled at No. 2 in 1995 - held off the top by Robson & Jerome’s cover of I Believe).

The lead single from the band’s upcoming third album Be Here Now, D’You Know What I Mean was released in the first week of July 1997 amid great fanfare and anticipation.

Following the worldwide success of 1994’s Definitely Maybe and 1995’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, the third album from Oasis was virtually guaranteed success. Released in August, it become the fastest selling album in British chart history and the top selling album of 1997 with 1.47m units sold.

D’You Know What I Mean had paved the way the previous month, selling 162,000 copies in the UK in its first day of release and 370,000 copies by the end of the week. It was the band’s second chart-topper in the Irish singles chart (after Don’t Look Back In Anger) and reached number one in Finland and Spain.

The song samples a drum beat from N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton and the lyrics reference two Beatles songs — The Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine — as well as the Bob Dylan album Blood on the Tracks and the Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back. The line “I ain’t good looking but I’m someone’s child” is adapted from a line in Blind Willie McTell’s Statesboro Blues.

Clocking in at over seven minutes, D’You Know What I Mean was at the time the Oasis single with longest runtime. It’s among a number of tracks on Be Here Now extending beyond 5 minutes in length, a feature criticised in many retrospective negative reviews of the album. Regarded by some critics as bloated and overblown, the BBC included it in a 2018 list of “the acclaimed albums that nobody listens to any more.”

Noel Gallagher has criticised the album on a number of occasions. “Just because you sell lots of records, it doesn’t mean to say you’re any good. Look at Phil Collins,” he told the BBC. Brother Liam has consistently defended Be Here Now. In the documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop, he said, “At that time we thought it was f**king great, and I still think it’s great. It just wasn’t Morning Glory.”


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