Upcoming Take That Vs. JLS UK Chart Showdown Seems A Bit Familiar
There's a great little writeup Neil McCormick did in the Telegraph that likens this impending chart battle to the now-classic Blur vs. Oasis one from 1995 on the UK singles chart.
"Somehow there was more at stake in the Oasis versus Blur chart battle of 1995. It was a time when British rock and pop music was genuinely exciting the nation, somehow bringing youth culture into alignment with the politics of (still brand spanking) New Labour to potentially forge a fresh identity for the country, trademarked as Cool Britannia. Oasis versus Blur was a battle for the heart of Britpop, north versus south, plebeian versus arty, laddism versus aestheticism. Somehow, the question of whose single the young people of the country were going to buy actually seemed to say something about the future."
(Speaking of which, there's a great book on this very subject by John Harris that I read about six years back, which I can never recommend enough. It's called Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock.)
Anyway, McCormick sums up the whole Blur vs. Oasis history lesson with this:
"Blur won the singles contest, when 'Country House' pipped Oasis’sOne thing worth noting: Neil doesn't mention the most ironic part of all this—the #1 single in the UK the week this pop battle was playing out was "Never Forget" by none other than Take That.
'Cigarettes and Alcohol'[as commenter cheremoneq points out, it was 'Roll With It'] to number one. Oasis won the war, when they surged on to become the biggest selling British band since the Beatles. And 15 years on, both groups are as defunct as (no longer) New Labour, the record industry is rapidly going down the tubes in an era of free downloads and calamitous sales, and the only way anyone can generate music headlines is by conjuring up artificial controversy between mainstream manufactured bands locked into the shiny showbusiness values of a pre-Britpop (actually, a pre-rock and roll) generation. It’s a competition between two brands of the same soap to see which produces more bubbles."
Aston Merrygold from JLS, on the other hand, was 7 years old at the time.