Thunderwall! The day Noel snapped over Oasis photo
Ahead of an exhibition of his work, Michael Spencer Jones reveals story behind artwork for band's hit Wonderwall
08 November, 2019 — By The Xtra Diary
Liam by Pool – Stocks House 1997. © Michael Spencer Jones
AS photographer Michael Spencer Jones steadied his camera to take images of Liam Gallagher for rock and roll band Oasis’s single Wonderwall, he heard a cab screech to a halt.
He had posed the singer by a fence in Primrose Hill – but the shoot was not going to go according to his plans.
The photographer has revealed what it was like to work with the group as a new exhibition of his work is set to be displayed at the h Club London in Covent Garden.
They had decided to use Creation Records employee Anita Heyert for Wonderwall – but Jones felt that Liam would make a better subject for the cover than Noel’s suggestion of a girl. Liam agreed – but as they were shooting the image the black cab pulled over.
“A guy got out and came up to the railings, yelling and sounded furious,” recalls Jones.
It was Liam’s brother Noel.
“What the hell are you doing? What’s our kid doing here?”
“He’s appearing on the sleeve.”
“Our kid on the cover of f****ng Wonderwall?!”
“Yes, is that a problem?”
“Is that a f****ng problem?” came the incredulous reply, “Wonderwall is a love song! It’s about a girl! I should know, I wrote it! There’s no way our kid is appearing on the f****ng cover, you’re wasting your time!”
Noel ducked back into the cab and Jones and Liam decided to call it a day.
Jones’s pictures are a crucial part of Oasis’s identity. He was responsible for artwork for three of the best-known albums – Definitely Maybe (1994), What’s The Story (1995) and Be Here Now (1997). He also travelled with the band on tour, giving him the chance to photograph them backstage and on days off. It creates a valuable archive of life with Oasis as they clambered to the pinnacle of the music industry.
Jones could see their value – and so gathered up props, letters, scraps of notes while they conquered the world. Items on show include original handwritten song lyrics and letters to and from their fans.
Jones told Diary: “I am delighted to be exhibiting my work with Oasis at h Club London, especially the shots and artefacts fans will never have seen before. Seen from the digital matrix in which we now live, Oasis were the last gasp of air in the analogue age; the last great rock’n’roll band before Zuckerberg, before iPhones and before the internet began to shape and control our lives.
“I hope this exhibition gives fans a chance to pause and reflect and look back upon a time when the face and image of Britain was being revolutionised from below.”
And for real Oasis heads, the show will give them the chance to recreate the famous poses on the global-selling albums.
A space at h Club London will become the “The Definitely Maybe room” – where the props used in the cover will be on display.
Visitors will be able to take a selfie with Noel’s guitar – and the show even includes half a Rolls-Royce emerging from the floor, in honour of the shot of the car coming out of a swimming pool in Be Here Now.
• Masterplan 25 – Michael Spencer Jones – Iconic & Unseen Photographs of Oasis runs from November 22 to January 12. Entry is free – h Club London, Endell Street, WC2.