My copy of the first official release by Oasis in the UK.
“Supersonic” is the debut single by the English rock band Oasis, written by lead guitarist Noel Gallagher. It was released on 11 April 1994 as Oasis’ debut single and appears on their debut album Definitely Maybe, released in August 1994.
The song was released on 11 April 1994 and peaked at number 31 on the UK Singles Chart, Oasis’s lowest-peaking single. However, over time it has amassed sales of over 215,000, making it their 13th biggest selling single ever in the UK, even outselling their 2002 number one “The Hindu Times”, and both of their 2005 number ones, “Lyla” and “The Importance of Being Idle”.
“Supersonic” was also the band’s first single to chart in the United States, where it peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart on 10 December 1994. The song was performed by the band on their debut national TV performance on Channel 4’s The Word. It remains a favourite song of both the band and their fans (on the Definitely Maybe DVD, Noel cites it as his favourite Oasis song). The single went silver in the UK in 2006.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Supersonic” at number 20 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In May 2007, NME magazine placed “Supersonic” at number 25 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.
In an interview, Noel Gallagher has said that it is his favourite Oasis single, and he kept playing the song live after the band broke up.
“Supersonic” was written and recorded in a single day at The Pink Museum recording studio in Liverpool. The band were there to record “I Will Believe” but first, as a warm up, they started jamming together. Soon Noel Gallagher was humming a melody over McCarroll and Bonehead’s rhythm until he called the jam to a halt as it was time to start recording “I will believe”. The intended song was not going too well so it was decided that they work on something new, based on a jam they had had earlier that day. The recording was completed in 11 hours and it was never remixed.
The identity of “Elsa” has caused confusion. The lyrics say: She done it with a doctor/On a helicopter/she sniffin’ in a tissue/Sellin’ the Big Issue. Gallagher has remarked: “Someone told me “Supersonic” was about teenage prostitution. Shit!”. It has since been revealed that Elsa was a nine-stone rottweiler with a flatulence problem. The dog belonged to the sound engineer Dave Scott and was in the studio on the day the song was written, hence the line “she’s into Alka Seltzer”.
Gallagher has said in interviews that despite their similarities, “Supersonic’s” guitar solo was not a deliberate copy of the riff to George Harrison’s 1971 single “My Sweet Lord”.
Oasis recorded two videos for the song for UK and US release. The UK version features the band playing on a roof, similar to The Beatles’ rooftop concert. The rooftop is on the south side of Euston Road, London, with King’s Cross station and the Great Northern Hotel clearly visible across the road. The US version features outer space views, the band in a car, big toy dinosaurs, and the band performing the song in a dark room. Scenes from this video can be seen on their debut single from their second album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, on “Some Might Say”, only on this video, the scenes are in black and white.
The single was released with three B-sides: “Take Me Away”, featuring only Noel Gallagher on acoustic guitar and vocals, “I Will Believe”, a mid-tempo rocker taped live in 1993, and a demo of “Columbia”, which would later appear on the band’s 1994 album Definitely Maybe.
In a 2009 interview with the Dutch radio station 3FM, Noel Gallagher said that after “Supersonic” was written and recorded, he and the rest of the band gathered at guitarist Paul Arthurs’ house as the song played at a certain time on BBC Radio 1.
The cover depicts the band and their instruments at Monnow Valley Studios in Wales. The black Rickenbacker is Johnny Marr’s guitar.
12″ vinyl (CRE 176T)
No. Title Length
1. “Supersonic” 4:43
2. “Take Me Away” 4:30
3. “I Will Believe” (live) 3:46
Total length: 12.59