4 words that any musician that has ever performed in a pub, bar or on the street will have heard countless number of times. It doesn’t just have to be Oasis however. Ed Sheeran and Paolo Nutini, (more popular here in Scotland), can also be used as substitutes. But for the purpose of this blog, Wonderwall will be the weapon of choice.
Members of the audience, (or people that are drinking who happen to be sitting next to the PA system), can appear out of no where at any time and ask if you know Wonderwall. You could be an hour in to your set or sometimes even when you’re tuning up before you start playing. If the proposition is declined, it’s usually followed up by “Are you sure? C’mon you know it” or, “I’ll sing it if you play it?”
I’m still not sure what it is about this particular song that people latch on to so much. Perhaps it’s because it’s comprised of only a handful of simple chords and the famous chorus is a perfect drunken sing-a-long.
Whatever it is, after you’ve strummed the third chord of the phrase, people are cheering and already preparing to embrace their friends as one of them inevitably breaks down as he relives a past break-up and begins to cry into his 4-pint pitcher.
A lot of my musician friends tell me how much they hate the song and they hate how it’s one of the first songs that guitarists seem to learn these days, and will then proceed to play it to death. But to me, that’s ok.
In my view, if someone’s sole musical goal is to be able to play that song, then fine. Not everyone that picks up a guitar or sits down at a piano wants to become an accomplished professional. Most want to be able to have a fun party trick to impress people, like being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 2 minutes (that’s impressive right? Good because that’s my party trick…if I was ever invited to parties…)
But spare a thought for the grafters out there playing original songs or carefully chosen covers to audiences everywhere. The last thing they want to here is “do you know Wonderwall?”
“I’m not interested in making money. It’s just that with my talent, I’m cursed with it.”