The Britpop Greats: Blur Vs Oasis

Here at Jon Barrie we completely love our Britpop music, but like many others the team is torn between Blur & Oasis, two acts that are Britpop and British music royalty. So we’ve put together blog dedicated to finding out who the greatest. Obviously the demise of Oasis has let Damon Albarn and Co power right through as becoming one of the most wanted live acts on the planet, but if Oasis were ever to reform (and there has been plenty of rumours every year, every time Glastonbury comes around and every time one of the brothers is pictured within 20 miles of each other) It’s been very definitely, maybe (pun intended) when it comes to these rumours over recent years, but can it actually happen?

1991: Blur – ‘Leisure’

The first Blur album came around three years before Oasis had even started releasing material in the form of ‘Leisure’. The album was pretty well received, reaching number 7 on the UK chart and achieving gold status on the way, it even sold a fair few over in America, just nowhere near enough to really make any impact at all of their presence. Singles included; She’s So High, Bang and There’s No Other Way.

Albums Sold: 950,000 worldwide

1993: Blur – Modern Life Is Rubbish

Blur’s follow up on their debut album was ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’, which unfortunately was disappointing in the sales, selling at least 200,000 less than its predecessor, and only reaching number 15 in the UK charts. The album did however produce some great music that was pleasantly received by a fair few still, no massive hits that have really stood the test of time really other than ‘Sunday Sunday’. Singles included; For Tomorrow, Chemical World and Sunday Sunday.
Albums Sold: 750,000 worldwide

1994: Blur – Parklife vs. Oasis – Definitely Maybe

Finally, in 1994 Oasis dropped their debut album, and what an album, it was, going down as one of the greatest of a British band of all time and one of the quickest selling debut albums in British music history. But in the same year Blur released now one of their most iconic albums, with their most iconic song, ‘Parklife’, with the southern tones of Phil Daniels getting a whole nation singing along. When it comes to sales Oasis’s debut album came out on tops selling millions more around the world that Blur ever had, it’s easy to see why when their album had singles including; Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, Shakermaker, Live Forever, Supersonic, Cigarettes & Alcohol, Slide Away and Whatever, not bad for a debut album to produce that many now legendary songs. Parklife gave it a good try though with singles including; Girls & Boys, End Of A Century, Parklife, To The End, This Is A Low, plus they did have one of the biggest singles of the year in ‘Parklife’ and both albums managed to snag the top spot in UK charts, with Oasis going one better and managing to even make it to number 58 in the US charts.

Albums Sold:
Parklife – 2.5 million worldwide
Definitely Maybe – 8 million worldwide

1995: Blur – The Great Escape vs. Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory

The biggest year in Britpop history, with both bands releasing singles for the albums in the same week to compete for the chart top spot it was a pretty big deal two decades ago. Blur’s offering of ‘Country House’ eventually won out, beating Oasis’s ‘Roll With It’, with around 50,000 sales being in it.It was a pretty important victory for Blur considering overall their album The Great Escape went on to take the top spot at a different time of the year and has sold a respectable 2.5 million worldwide, but compared to (What’s The Story) Morning Glory it’s a tiny number, selling ten times as much, leaving many Oasis fans saying Blur may have won the battle but they won the war. Also, going on to gain a top 5 spot in the US proves it really was the bigger album. Both albums provided mammoth singles that has gone down in Britpop history, singles from The Great Escape included; Stereotypes, Country House, Charmless Man and The Universal, while singles from Morning Glory was pretty much just hit after hit including; Roll With It, Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back In Anger, Some Might Say,Morning Glory and Champagne Supernova, so easily the biggest hits of the 90’s.

Albums Sold:
The Great Escape – 2.5 million worldwide
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory – 22 million worldwide

1997: Blur – Blur vs. Oasis – Be There Now

Blur’s biggest selling album came in ‘97 in the form of ‘Blur’ but with Oasis being on a global roll it was apparent that anything or anyone that got in their way would be squashed, at this point they were global superstars in their own right, but with Blur being British music icons as well at this point they couldn’t be ruled out releasing their anthem ‘Song 2’, both unsurprisingly reached number one in the UK, but the album was Oasis’s highest ever chart entry in the US reaching number two. Singles from Blur included; Beetlebum, Song 2, M.O.R and On Your Own, while Oasis’s included; D’You Know What I Mean, Stand By Me, Don’t Go Away and All Around The World.

Albums Sold:
Blur – 3 million worldwide
Be Here Now – 8 million worldwide

1999/2000: Blur – 13 vs. Oasis – Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

On the turn of the millennium both Blur and Oasis could do no wrong, both being pretty much untouchable in the music world, obviously Oasis were much bigger around the world, but Blur had an incredibly strong following. 2000’s Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants is Oasis’s second worst selling album to date, but still managed double of Blur’s 1999 release 13, so what does that say really? Oasis’s album included singles such as; Go Let It Out, Who Feels Love, Where Did It All Go Wrong and Sunday Morning Call, with Blur’s album dishing out singles including; Tender, Bugman, Coffee & TV, Caramel and No Distance Left To Run.

Albums Sold:
13 – 1.55 million worldwide
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants – 3 million worldwide

2002/2003: Blur – Think Tank vs. Oasis – Heathen Chemistry

2002 brought about one of the least known Oasis albums, which still managed to sell millions worldwide and bag the top spot, shock, here in the UK, where a year later Blur released their offering of Think Tank, which again reached the top spot here in Britain, but also gave Blur their highest even US entry of number 53. Singles released from Think Tank were; Out Of Time, Crazy Beat and Good Song, while the singles released from Oasis’s album consisted of the now mega-anthem Stop Crying Your Heart Of, The Hindu Times, Songbird and Little By Little.

Albums Sold:
Think Tank – 1.5 million worldwide
Heathen Chemistry – 3.5 million

2005-2008: Oasis – Don’t Believe The Truth & Dig Out Your Soul

With Blur going on ‘hiatus’ after their last album, it was all about Oasis for the next few years who could pretty much control and demand whatever they wanted. Both albums reached number one in the UK, but it was apparent with their antics on tour and in the news that cracks were forming in Oasis and their split came a year after releasing their now last album 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul. With the album performing poorly and tensions running high between the Gallagher brothers it all ended and the rest is now history. Singles from the first helping, 2005’s Don’t Believe The Truth were pretty tasty music; Mucky finger, Lyla, The Importance Of Being Idle and Let There Be Love.

Albums Sold:
Don’t Believe The Truth – 7 million worldwide
Dig Out Your Soul – 1.6 million worldwide

2015: Blur – The Magic Whip

With Blur making a triumphant return to live shows a few years back we finally got what we all wanted an album from one of the Britpop legends. The Magic Whip has gone on to receive critical acclaim and with a mix of new and old music performed at shows Blur have never been stronger, time for an Oasis return, or will hell freeze over first?


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