Oasis came from Manchester and had a strong local following before they were hugely successful so I’m a bit surprised the photograph on their album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was taken on a narrow street in Soho, London. I thought it more likely the album would show the unsmiling, mean and moody band members sat on a torn up playground on a gritty housing estate in Salford.
I was blue-plaque-spotting in Marylebone and decided to stroll back to Hyde Park via Berwent Street in Soho to find the exact spot where the photographer stood to take the album cover photo. I soon found it by matching up the tops of buildings with the ones in the photograph in my hand.
(What's the Story) Morning Glory was Oasis’s second album and since its release in October 1995 it’s sold 16 million copies, 347,000 copies in its first week. With six hits on it the group ascended from indie act to worldwide rock group.
The men in the album photo aren’t passing strangers. Sean Rowley is a disc jockey and Brian Cannon designed the album cover. The man on the left footpath holding the album's master tape in front of his face is Owen Morris who produced the album. Berwick Street was chosen for its abundance of record shops at the time (I didn’t see any.)
The albums that followed this weren’t as brill somehow. If Liam wasn’t such a prized eunuch and Oasis had remained together how many more albums might they have created by now – five, seven? When they’re both down to their last £40 million I suppose they’ll do a few concerts but there’ll be no new stuff.
On that sunny Sunday afternoon Soho was throbbing with people so it’s a bit of a haven for people-watchers like me. A sudden gust of wind that seems to form in the rabbit-warren of streets blew my hat off and close to a plate of noodles. A woman’s skirt blew up to reveal a silk underskirt. I didn’t know women wore them anymore. Also I didn’t know there were so many women sleeping rough across London (see last photo.)
1999 and 2016
Looking down Berwick Street in 2016…
The legendary Jeffrey Bernard lived and died in Kemp house on Berwick Street…
Soho residents (note woman on top right)…