September 17 – No Illusion, GNR Were Hot 31 Years Ago

A few days back we commented upon Guns’N’Roses #1 single from 1988, “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Today we look at their most ambitious project, which came out this day in 1991. Use Your Illusion dumped 30 songs and over 150 minutes of hard rock on their fans, on two CDs (simply entitled Use Your Illusion I and II). Rather than put it out on as a single two-disc release, Geffen records decided to sell them separately (to add to the continuity of the project they packaged them with the same picture on the covers but in different colors – orange for I, blue for II). The albums were huge hits and helped GNR dominate rock radio for over a year. In fact, between the two of them, they hit #1 in most markets including the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia, and the final single off them didn’t come out until 1994!

Fittingly the album had taken over a year to record in fits and starts. Overall I did a tad better than II, selling some 16 million worldwide instead of 15 million for II. Both are 7X platinum in the U.S. I spawned the rather remarkable nine- minute hit single “November Rain” (a top 5 in North America) as well as “Don’t Cry” and their cover of Wings “Live and Let Die” (which Rolling Stone described as “Wings on steroids”) while II gave us the rockin’ “You Could Be Mine” and their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” which had been released a year before on a movie soundtrack.

Reviews were surprisingly good for “metal” albums. Rolling Stone graded them 4-stars although noting they were physically assaultive and verbally incendiary, at times downright screwy” and that songs with names like “Back off Bitch” and “Double-talkin’ Jive”, they weren’t going to appeal to everyone. Entertainment Weekly rated it “A” pointing out that the band has “gained more fame for their riots and uncontrollable blasts of temper than for the excellence of their mega-platinum albums,” which it considered a shame. It wondered whether these two albums, “as diverse as the band’s moods” which showed an ability to “write songs that are complex structurally and emotionally” would change that perception.

Whether or not they did is debatable. Although the records sold more than their predecessor GNR Lies, it didn’t match their Appetite For Destruction‘s success – not that anybody at Geffen was complaining. However, after that in-fighting among the members and other troubles more or less sidelined the band for years and they never again rose to the lofty heights of the late-’80s,early-’90s. In 2016, Axl temporarily took over for Brian Johnson as the lead singer of AC/DC on their tour but in 2019 GNR were back at it with a hugely popular tour.

September 12 – A Diverse Range Of Art Folds Into Ben’s Career

On this day in 1966 (the same day the Monkees debuted on TV ) in North Carolina, the Folds family welcomed their newest member, Ben! So happy 56th birthday Ben Folds.

Rather like Warren Zevon, Ben is a “musician’s musician.” A highly talented keyboardist who learned to play Billy Joel and Elton John tunes by ear when a young lad, and smart writer, he’s earned a lot of respect from the music community, but not a whole lot of hits. The one exception is his platinum Whatever and Ever, Amen 1997 album with his trio Ben Folds Five which yielded the melancholy, North American top 20 hit “Brick.” Folds calls his music “punk rock for sissies” and among his interesting projects are William Shatner and Nick Hornby. He produced Shatner’s surprisingly good Has Been album and co-wrote parts of it and put out an album, Lonely Avenue, for which he wrote the tunes and novelist Hornby (High Fidelity) penned the lyrics. Critics assailed that one, but oddly the trite lyrics were the objects of derision, not Ben’s musicianship. In all, Folds has a trio of solo albums and four with Ben Folds Five, and while he hasn’t put one out for a few years, he’s not been inactive. His most recent work was a new single, “2020” about life in the age of Covid, but his main gig seems to be an artistic director… for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington! The only two concerts he has booked presently, in Florida and Ohio next spring, are both with orchestras as well.

Outside of music, he’s kept busy of late. In 2019, he wrote a memoir, A Dream About Lightning Bugs, A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons As well, he’s devoted a lot of his spare time to photography, becoming talented enough to have some of his shots used in National Geographic.

September 7 – The Turntable Talk, Round 6 : If It Sounds Good To You…

Welcome back to Turntable Talk! As by now, regular readers know, that’s when I have several interesting guest writers sound off on one topic related to the music that we look at here daily. This is our sixth round of it, and if you’re new here, I recommend taking a look back at some of the earlier topics we’ve covered like why the Beatles are still relevant, or “did video kill the radio star?”

This time around, we’re calling it “Shock Rock.” But wait, there’s a twist – it’s not about Marilyn Manson and his contemporaries…unless our writers want it to be. Rather, its more about what some would call “guilty pleasures.” Songs or records that you like that would “shock” most people. Ones that go against the grain of most of what you listen to. I once asked a well-known radio DJ who loved new music, alternative and artsy rock if he had a musical guilty pleasure and he responded that he’d always liked “Moonlight feels Right” by Starbuck… a ’70s piece of laid back yacht rock with a xylophone solo! (Hey, we like it too!) Not his usual fare, but a song that he loves regardless. Maybe the heavy metal types have a soft spot for a bit of late night opera. Or an “all-60s rock” person loves Bruno Mars too. You get the idea.

Today we wrap up this topic, with a few thoughts from yours truly about, “shock rock.” As always, I thank the others who’ve taken the time to contribute and let us see their darkest musical secrets, LOL.

Our guest contributors in the past week have shared some of the music they love that would surprise many who know them… a “country” artist hard-rock officinado Deke likes, a song by a rapper that appeals to “power pop” Max, for instance. I think it all highlights how music is a personal thing and it’s unfortunate that we’re so quick to label music to make it fit one easy-to-define genre or box. I’ve been guilty of that at times, but it’s something driven by the music industry itself. Look at Billboard magazine and you’ll find their Hot 100 that lists albums of all sorts based on sales and times streamed and so on…but also an array of weekly charts like “country”, “alternative rock”, “mainstream rock”, “urban contemporary” and on and on. Radio follows that largely and it all ends up making it rather easy for music we might love to slip through the cracks unnoticed. And there’s also the personal memories – many people have a song they love merely because it brings back memories of a great date when they heard it in the car, or a song that was playing in the hospital lobby as they went in to give birth to a baby. Songs that otherwise might have elicited yawns would then bring back a flood of good memories…and make that song important to them.

I don’t know that there are many examples of music that I like that would be surprising to many who know me. I have a definite love of Beatles, ’70s “AM pop” that I listened to as a kid, ’80s alternative/new wave that I listened to as a young adult and intelligent singer/songwriter types with a smattering of country, old standards and new music thrown in for good measure. One type of music I really tend to dislike though is opera. The booming, over-dramatic voices tend to grate on me, even if they are technically great. It doesn’t help that they’re generally in a foreign language so I can’t tell what’s being sung, but even English attempts tend to make my ears displeased. So one song that I like a lot might “shock” some people is “Miss Sarejevo”. People know U2 is one of my favorite bands, but also that they’re known for jangly guitar rock with political statements. Not arias worthy of tuxes and tails. So mixing them with Luciano Pavarotti was a risky proposition. Even Island Records thought so. So much that they originally put the song and its album out under the pseudonym “The Passengers”…they felt if they labeled this left-field album by Ireland’s most popular act as “U2”, it might kill of their career! To top it off, Bono and the Edge performed the song for the very first time as guests of Luciano Pavarotti in one of his operatic concerts, with a full orchestra replacing their usual guitars and drums. Only in later years did Bono get to tack the song on with various compilation albums clearly labeled “U2”. Yet surprisingly, it worked.

At least it did with me. The booming Italian voice kicks the song into gear and provides a great counter-balance to the understated delivery of Bono and the band; perhaps a fine metaphor for the emotions in war-torn Bosnia at the time, which the song was about. I’d be hard-pressed to sit and listen to a whole Pavarotti show, fine as his voice might be, but somehow I find this track very listenable. Many U2 fans didn’t, even if Bono himself has called it his favorite song in their catalog .But  that’s the beauty of music.

My friend, radio DJ David Marsden often says “there are only two kinds of music. Good and bad.” And if something sounds good to you, makes you feel more deeply or improves your day, whether ifs rock ( mainstream, alternative, classic…), pop, country, jazz, folk, opera, ambient country-rap… you name it. If it makes you feel better…that’s Good Music.

September 6 – Sugar Sweetened Up Grunge Sounds

One of the great alt rock releases of the grunge era arrived this day in 1994. With a band led by one of the genre’s beloved “founding fathers”, a guy who Nirvana nearly picked to produce their mega-seller Nevermind, and whom rehearsed at R.E.M.’s private space in Athens, Georgia, one would assume this was going to be a sales titan. Yet, inexplicably Sugar never came close to the mark set by those other bands or many of their contemporaries. Nevertheless, File Under Easy Listening (sometimes abbreviated with the acronym “FUEL”) , their third and final regular release sold decently and was one of those albums where it seemed those who liked it liked it a lot.

Sugar was a trio of bassist David Barbe, drummer Malcolm Travis and, most significantly, guitarist, singer and all-around leader Bob Mould. Mould had been the driving force in Husker Du, the ’80s trio that were among the first to create the sound that eventually would morph into grunge. After they split up, he put up two solo albums , both of which were well-reviewed but not big sellers. That, coupled with his manager’s selling off his publishing rights for those works without his knowledge led him and Virgin Records to part ways and Mould to start over. He formed the power trio in Athens, yet first signed to a British indie label, Creation Records. Soon they got brought on board by Rykodisc for North America. They managed to merge the intensity and punk feeling of Husker Du with the melodies of classic pop and their first album, Copper Blue, was named by the NME and several other publications as the best album of ’92. That was followed by a darker EP, Beaster.

Which led to this one, by which point Sugar was, Mould admits, more or less just a pseudonym for himself. The other two played what they were told, with Mould writing nine of the ten songs entirely by himself (Barbe was given co-writing credit on one song) and producing the album. He described it as “pretty punk rock. Not real fast, just pretty basic…real beautiful and harmonic, but (also) real pile-driving.” Songs were kept compact because “I’m really starting to hate guitar solos.”

Reviews were good on both sides of the Atlantic. When it came out, Rolling Stone gave it 3.5-stars, New York’s Village Voice graded it “A” as did Entertainment Weekly. In Britain, the NME gave it 9 out of 10. In later years, allmusic would grade it 4.5-stars and Pitchfork 8 of 10. EW suggested “if Sugar has a signature sound, it’s frontman Bob Mould’s punk-pop hybrids” and called it their “most engaging release yet.” Q called it a “structured barrage of pop noises,” and allmusic noted “beneath the loud guitars lie the friendliest, most relaxed pop songs Mould had ever written”, suggesting the finest moment was “‘Gee Angel’, a powerhouse melodic scorcher.” Pitchfork opted for that song as well as “Your Favorite Thing” and “Gift” as “three of Sugar’s best songs.” Others pointed to “Panama City Motel” and the more acoustic “Believe What You’re Saying” as  highlights.

For all that it had going for it, File Under Easy Listening was hardly a powerhouse at the cash register. “Believe What You’re Saying” was a minor hit in the UK while “Your Favorite Thing” was their second top 40 hit there and reached #14 on Billboard‘s alternative rock chart. The album stalled at #50 at home and #32 in Canada, but did make it to #7 in the UK.

Sugar put out one more album of b-sides and outtakes but broke up by 1996.

August 31 – The Candle Went Out In Paris

A sad news event led to a smash record a quarter-century ago . On this day in 1997, the world lost a legend in the early morning hours. Lady Di was killed in a car crash in France, at age 36. Whether it was a simple case of drunk driving, harassment from paparazzi or a murder planned by the Royal Family remains a great topic of debate, but what isn’t debatable is her legacy.

As for us, it resonated because unlike other Royals at the time, Diana was a confirmed fan of pop/rock music…a decided rarity among Royal family members. As such it’s no surprise that years later a concert in her memory would have Duran Duran (reportedly her favorites), Elton John, Bryan Ferry, Fergie and others perform nor that Elton John would attend her funeral. There he played a reworked version of his classic “Candle in the Wind”, originally written about Marilyn Monroe and appearing on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It had been released as a single in Britain in 1974, getting to #11 there. But shortly after Di’s death, the BBC began playing it again in tribute, and Richard Branson called Elton to ask if he could change the lyrics and play it at the funeral. John called Diana “ a very dear friend for years” and wanted to, but given the time frame knew it was a “tough gig” to come up with meaningful new lyrics. He asked Bernie Taupin, who’d written the original words and Taupin faxed over the new set the following day. Elton played it at the televised funeral, “on autopilot” and panicking “what if I sang the wrong lyrics?” He got it right, was rushed to a studio, played and sang it twice, then left leaving Beatles-producer George Martin to dub in strings and other enhancements later.

The new lyrics for Diana touched a nation, and when it was released as a single (with money – in the range of 37 million pounds or $45M – going to her favorite charities) it was a smash. “Candle in the Wind ’97” was a #1 hit almost everywhere. It topped U.S. charts for 14 weeks, was among the top 20 selling singles for over two years in Canada and won Elton a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal. When all was said and done, it had sold 33 million copies, the most for any Rock Era single but John’s never performed it with the Di-lyrics since.

August 22 – Times Weren’t So Sour For Portishead

Just when some people were starting to grow tired of grunge, a British trio hit the limelight with something of an antithesis for it. Mixing electronica, jazz, lounge music, hip-hop and any number of other inspirations, Portishead put out their debut, Dummy, this day in 1994.

Portishead were formed a couple of years earlier in Bristol when singer/songwriter Beth Gibbons met multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow at a course designed to get unemployed people back to work or into starting their own business. Seems they decided to form a band as a business! They wrote a few songs and went to a studio, but it was “like a light bulb coming on” when they met the third member, Adrian Utley, a record producer, according to Barrow. They brought in a session drummer, jazzman Clive Deamer, and went to work mixing up the sounds with Beth’s “angelic” (in the words of allmusic) vocals. Adrian could play bass, guitar, and organ, while Barrow played keyboards and was good at sampling and programming. Surprisingly for such a modern outfit, they recorded it analog and sampled actual vinyl records played through a broken speaker. Utley perfected the use of tape loops to add to the mysterious nature.

The album epitomized what was known as the Bristol sound, but was quite different than most of what was on radio on either side of the Atlantic at the time. But, by and large the 11 song effort worked. Among the reviews, the L.A. Times gave it 3.5 out of 4, Rolling Stone rated it 4-stars, Entertainment Weekly gave it an A-, while in the UK, the NME gave it 9 out of 10. Allmusic later gave it a perfect 5-stars. EW suggested it “mixes cocktail keyboards, spaghetti Western guitars, eerie tape loops and dub-wise rhythms into what could be called ‘acid cabaret.’” sound confusing? Perhaps one just needed to listen to it to get an idea, something Melody Maker encouraged readers to. They described it as “undeniably the classiest, coolest thing to have appeared in the country for years…perfectly under-stated blues, funk and rap/hip-hop bracketed to urban angst then chill(ed) to the bone.” Brit DJ Max Reinhardt considered it “darkly alluring, atmospheric sounds” built around Gibbons “spine-tingling…torch song” sensibilities. He picked the hit singles as well as “Biscuit” and their initial effort, “It Could Be Sweet” as the highlights.

As different as Dummy was, it found a home in many homes. It did especially well at home, where it got to #2 (curiously both their subsequent albums also hit #2 in the UK) and going triple-platinum. But even in North America it did fine, reaching #16 in Canada and while it peaked at just #79 in the U.S., it did sell well enough to earn them a gold record there. Both singles, “Sour Times” and “Glory Box” got to #13 in the UK; the former made the Canadian top 30 and top 5 on the American Alternative Rock chart.

In later years, Mojo would list it as the 35th best “modern classic” while the Wire would retroactively call it the Record of the Year for 1994. Portishead is still ongoing, and appeared for the first time in six years at a concert earlier this year, however, they’ve not recorded anything new in over a decade.

August 22 – Cochrane Was On Express Lane To Hitsville

The road was paved with gold briefly for Tom Cochrane. His signature tune, “Life is A Highway” peaked at #6 on Billboard this day in 1992, making it far and away his biggest hit in the U.S.

In his native Canada though, he was already a big deal. He’d put out seven albums with his old band Red Rider which had several hits there and would go on to be one of the most popular singers of the ’90s. This one hit #1 in his land, where he’s had ten more top 20 tunes, and won the SOCAN award for most-played pop tune of the year as well as the Juno Award for Single of the Year It helped his Mad Mad World album, from which it came, go diamond status there. the album also had a couple more top 5 hits in Canada, “Sinking Like A Sunset” and “No Regrets”. In the U.S., the song was the 18th biggest hit of the year, owing to it spending week after week in the top 10, and has been used extensively in advertising as well as covered by Rascal Flatts who also had a top 10 with it which was used in the movie Cars. Cochrane wrote the song after doing charity work in Africa, which shook him up. “Africa was just mind-bending and soul-sapping,” he says because of the impoverished conditions there. “It became like a pep talk to myself, saying you can’t really control all this stuff, you just try to do the best you can.” 

August 20 – An ‘Empire’ Built On Prog Foundations And Metal

An album that made a band an overnight sensation… after a decade and three previous albums. People learned how to pronounce Queensryche this day in 1990, or soon after, as that’s when they put out their biggest album, Empire.

Queensryche were an unusual sort of band that had begun in Washington state a full decade earlier. As allmusic note, they work “drawing equally from guitar pyrotechnics and art rock.” Basically, it you like the big, artsy sounds of ’70s Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes as well as the in yer’ face rock of the ’80s Scorpions and Quiet Riot, Queensryche could be the band for you! They’d signed to EMI Records early in the ’80s, after changing their name. They’d originally gone by The Mob, but management wanted that changed, so they opted to co-opt one of their early songs for a name – “Queen of the Reich” became Queensryche. They changed the spelling of the second part to reduce the chance of being considered Nazi sympathists and added an accent – the dotted “umlaut” – over the “Y”, which they say “has haunted us for years. We spent 11 years trying to explain how to pronounce it.”

They didn’t have to try that often perhaps during the ’80s, since although they had a loyal fanbase, they never really connected on a big scale or had a legitimate hit record. This album would change that.

Like many Seattle acts, they headed across the border to Vancouver to record, and they got producer Peter Collins back to work with them. He’d worked on their previous release, Operation Mindcrime, and made a name for himself working on several records for another prog rock/hard rock crossover act, Rush.

Guitarist Chris Degarmo was the main writer for the 11 song, 63-minute effort, but singer Geoff Tate and guitarist Michael Wilton also took part. When it came out, it didn’t really jump out at most people as being a surefire hit or radio fodder…except for one song that almost didn’t make it on – “Silent Lucidity”.

The song many people figured sounded more like Pink Floyd than recent Pink Floyd had, was an elegant, orchestral piece about lucid dreaming (where one is aware of being in a dream while having it.) Degarmo wrote it but Tate says “I love that song. I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful piece.” However, producer Collins didn’t like it initially and lobbied to have it cut. That was in its original, acoustic guitar and vocals version. But the band liked it, and decided to bring in Michael Kamen and an orchestra to fatten up the sound for it, even drawing on a piece of Brahms classical music for it. Apparently it was worth the effort. The song alone got nominated for two Grammy Awards, and put the band on the musical map.

Other than that, the album was rather uneven in sound, but rooted in longer songs. Two topped seven minutes and only two clocked in just under five. Reaction was mixed. Rolling Stone gave it 3.5-stars but Entertainment Weekly reluctantly graded it “D”, calling it “tuneless bombast” by “relentless killjoys.” Later on, Record Collector gave it a middling 3-stars, and allmusic 4.5. The former praised it for being “intelligent, subtle and immaculately played” and for singer Geoff Tate “at his best throughout.” but they did suggest the album was “more progressive” than its predecessors making it “pleasant…also a little boring.” Allmusic liked that they seemed a little less “involved with the darker side of love,” and thought the love songs like “Another Rainy Night” and “Hand on Heart” were noteworthy, as was “Silent Lucidity.”

The album took awhile to take off, but eventually did thanks to the popularity of “Silent Lucidity” on FM rock stations. That one ended up being a #1 rock hit and top 10 single overall in the States and Canada (just missing it at #11 In New Zealand but failing to crack to top 40 in Australia). That was followed up by two more rock radio successes, “Jet City Woman” and “Another Rainy Night.” The album slowly lifted itself to #7 at home, and the top 20 in the UK, Canada, Norway and several other countries. At triple-platinum, it’s by far their biggest seller to date…but not for lack of trying. Since Empire, they’ve put out 11 more studio albums with another scheduled to drop this fall, featuring the new single “In Extremis”.

August 16 – Nondescript Intersection Saved BNL From Sophomore Slump

Artists often feel a lot of pressure when its time to come up with their sophomore album, especially if the first one was an unexpected hit. Record companies often have them on tight deadlines and expect big results, while the artists often feel like they had all their lifetimes to come up with the initial batch of ten or twelve songs while now they have perhaps a year to create a dozen more that are even better! Such was the case with the Barenaked Ladies who put out their second major-label album this day in 1994Maybe You Should Drive.

As we’ve noted here before, the Ladies were a Toronto band who’d worked hard to become wildly popular Canada -wide through the beginning of the decade, even scoring a gold “record” for an indie cassette tape they made themselves and largely sold off the stage. When signed to Reprise Records, their debut, Gordon – full of wacky, lo-fi, tongue in cheek songs like “Be My Yoko Ono” and “If I Had $1 000 000” – was a #1 hit, eventually selling to diamond status. All they had to do was top that…

Reprise sent them west to work with Ben Mink, who was well-known as a regular collaborator with and producer for k.d. lang. They weren’t all thrilled by it. Keyboardist Andy Creegan wanted to quit; they convinced him to stay to complete the record and do a tour before he departed (soon after going to university). And Steven Page, by many people’s (including us here at A Sound Day) estimation the most talented writer in the band, wasn’t opaque about making the record. “We did most…in Burnaby,” a suburb of Vancouver, “a cold industrial wasteland, with a big budget we didn’t really need…all a big budget does is put you further in debt.”

Page had become friends with Stephen Duffy, a British producer who had briefly been a member of Duran Duran. They co-wrote four songs for the album, including the two hit singles, “Jane” and “Alternative Girlfriend.” The former was the idea of Duffy, who looked at a map of the band’s hometown of Toronto and figured the intersection of Jane St. and St. Clair Ave. “sounded like the most beautiful intersection in the world.” Page adds “I didn’t want to break his heart and tell him it wasn’t.” The latter song was a deliberate attempt to write something that sounded current and gave a nod to the prevalent Seattle scene at the time.

Co-leader Ed Robertson wrote two tunes, “Am I The Only One?” and “These Apples” and co-wrote two more with Page while departing Andy Creegan wrote and sang one, the appropriately-named “Little Tiny Song.”

The album had far less of a giddy, goofy sound than their debut or most of what they had done in live sets up to then and set the tone for the more mature tunes they’d come up with later on albums like Maroon. While the departure helped them avoid being labeled as a novelty-only or spoof band, with the exception of “Jane” little on the album really stood out much. Both Rolling Stone and allmusic graded it 3-stars, with allmusic noting the band was “a little less interested in the quirky and comic on their second album” comparing them to XTC in the better moments of the record but adding “one thing they aren’t is alternative.” Although quirkily enough, in the time it came out, perhaps their melodic lightweight pop was in fact an alternative to the mainstream material of the time.

Alternative Girlfriend” got to #22 at home, with “Jane” reaching #3 and making the year-end top 20. Neither song hit the charts elsewhere however, and although the album did at least scrape onto both American and British charts, international success was still a couple of years away for the BNL. At home however, despite getting only lukewarm reviews, the album did reach #3 and go double-platinum.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the band recorded the next album back in Toronto with Michael Phillip Wojewoda, who’d produced their first album.

August 10 – Oasis – And Quarter Million Fans – Rolled With It

Another big Knebworth Festival moment .On this day in 1996, Oasis headlined one of the biggest concerts ever in Britain there, and cemented their status as the land’s most popular group that decade.

This was day one of the weekend event, with the Gallaghers playing both shows. The Saturday had act like Manic Street Preachers and Chemical Brothers opening; the Sunday, MSP returned and were joined by Kula Shaker, the Charlatans and others. Both days the crowd was a sellout 125 000 (at the time a record for Knebworth and still the biggest two-day draw there) but more remarkable was that over 2.5 million people applied for tickets! Potentially Oasis could have done it to a sold-out field 20 nights in a row! The BBC said of it “a quarter of a million eventually got to see (Oasis) as they confirmed their status as the most popular British band since the Beatles.” This must have pleased Noel Gallagher; not surprisingly the band ended their well-reviewed show with a cover version of the Fab Four’s “I Am the Walrus.”

It was the apex of the band’s popularity. Guitarist “Bonehead” remembers “I’ll never forget the sheer scale of it.” They got to see the extent of the concert when they were helicoptered in over top of the crowds. In case you had forgotten the sheer scale of it or were among the two million odd people denied tickets, Oasis put out a live recording of it last year, both as a film (which became Britain’s highest-grossing documentary of 2021) and double-CD. The music release had 20 songs culled from the two days, finishing with the “I Am the Walrus” finale after 19 of the band’s own favorites including “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” “Roll With It” and “Champagne Supernova.” The album went to #4 in their homeland and also made the top 10 in Japan.