Before the "beef" that was Drake vs. Meek Mill, a different kind of beef was born, all the way on the other side of the pond. Twenty years ago today, Britain's biggest bands, Blur and Oasis, battled it out in what the ravenous media dubbed "The Battle of Britpop." NME and BBC were all over the story, fans chose sides, shade was thrown left and right...but how did it all start? And why?
On Aug. 14, 1995, the two bands released their singles at the same time (Blur's "Country House" and Oasis' "Roll With It") in a chart showdown of epic proportions—the kind that's never heard of today. It was the first real juicy battle the English music world could sink their teeth into since this timeless question was raised: the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Though, like most beefs, this was spun by the media, neither the Gallaghers nor Blur's cheeky members shied away from throwing insults. Blur bassist Alex James ironically wore Oasis T-shirts at gigs, and the ever-pleasant Noel Gallagher said he hoped they would "catch AIDS and die." The press loved reporting on their brawls at run-ins, as well as the battles fought between Oasis and Blur fans.
In the actual battle, Blur won. Coming in at No. 1, the foursome beat the fivesome by 50,000-something copies. Noel Gallagher, perhaps butt-hurt, later commented on Blur frontman Damon Albarn, "The thing that still pisses me off to this day is that cunt fuck said we engineered the battle with his bunch of wankers. Oasis don't need to compete with a bunch of cunts." (Again, what a pleasant man!)
Blur came out on top of the pop charts, but people still question who the real winner is. Oasis had a bigger impact stateside, not to mention the albums that housed those singles. Oasis found more success with (What's the Story) Morning Glory? than Blur did with The Great Escape. As insufferable as "Wonderwall" is, Oasis' track has found a much more secure place in the rock canon (even in comparison to Blur's widely known "Song 2," a.k.a. "the woo-hoo song"). Even as Blur's biggest fan, I'll admit it's not ludicrous to say that even though Blur won the battle, Oasis may have won the war.
But Blur fans (myself included) won't give up the crown so easily. People still talk about this feud (and fans still argue), which is why when Gallagher and Albarn were photographed looking chummy together a few years ago, we watched with mouths agape. And when Blur returned with an album this year (The Magic Whip), on the heels of Gallagher's new solo album (Chasing Yesterday), Battle of Britpop 2 jokes abounded. Of course, because this is 2015, and the two have seemingly made up, nothing exciting or beefy came out of that. But Oasis, as a band, is no more, while Blur's made a surprisingly impressive return.
So, 20 years on, who's the winner now?