At the height of the 1990s Britpop boom, Radiohead and Oasis seemed to occupy opposite ends of the spectrum. While Radiohead spurned the limelight, the Gallaghers milked it for all it was worth – revelling in the fame, wealth and social cache that came with being one of the biggest bands on the planet. On stage and in the studio, they were completely different animals, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t appreciate one another’s work. In fact, songwriter and guitarist Noel Gallagher once revealed his favourite Radiohead song.
In 2015, Stereogum asked 33 musicians to name their favourite Radiohead tracks. For Dinosuar Jr’s J Mascis, it’s all about ‘Black Star’ from The Bends. The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, meanwhile, opted for ‘There, There’ from 2003’s Hail To The Thief: “Of the 50 Radiohead songs that you would listen to, that one would go by and I’d say, ‘Fuck, that’s cool,’” he recalled. “I was just drawn to it. I would talk to other people and they’d say, ‘Yeah, me too.’ It just has an urgency.”
Like Mascis, Noel Gallagher confessed to liking The Bends best of all: “I do like The Bends,” he said. “I remember buying it when it came out, actually. I remember ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ fucking blowing me away when I heard it. I was in the middle of writing songs like ‘Champagne Supernova’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger,’ and it had the same kind of thing, d’you know what I mean? So it felt familiar already.”
“It’s just a great song. I only wish they’d write more songs like it,” Gallagher added. “Oh, they’ve done loads of great stuff. What’s it called, ‘Karma Police’ is great. I’m not too familiar with the titles of them. Listen, they’re a fucking good band with a good singer. I’ve seen them, they’re fucking brilliant live.”
Gallagher went on to heap praise on Radiohead guitarist and now-celebrated film composer Jonny Greenwood. “Jonny Greenwood is one of my favourite ever musicians. I think he’s a genius,” Noel said. “The last time I saw them, at Coachella, I had a physical reaction to them where I couldn’t be in the same fucking field while it was on.”
High praise indeed – especially coming from a musician who helped define the sound of the 1990s. You can revisit ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ below.