Ryan Adams Reflects on His Cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall”
Covering a famous song is tricky for musicians to do. Most of the time, they’ll either nail it dead-on and get criticized for playing it too close to the original, or they’ll be crucified for changing it up too much and making it barely recognizable. Then you have incredible covers like the one Ryan Adams did of the mega Oasis track, “Wonderwall.”
Adams did so well with his version of “Wonderwall” that the song’s writer, Noel Gallagher, told SPIN this in 2008: “I think Ryan Adams is the only person who ever got that song right.” Nope, you can’t get a higher compliment than that.
In a new interview with Relix, Adams was asked to reflect on what motivated him to record “Wonderwall” many years ago.
“I recorded ‘Wonderwall’ for Love Is Hell because it fit into the interpersonal dialogue of that record,” explained Adams. “That record was very quietly about the time I lived in London. I was seeing someone who was English and, in England, you either like Blur or Oasis. They were like English football teams. The person I was dating was very much into Blur. When I ended up recording ‘Wonderwall’ and making it much sadder and much more morose, it was because, as time went on, that reminded me of saying, ‘I’m telling you this is a really great song—you just have to listen to it completely broken down on an acoustic guitar.’
“Of course, by the time I recorded it, it was me lamenting that funny exchange that I had,” he continued. “It was futile trying to convince someone who doesn’t like Oasis to like them. It’s like trying to convince someone who doesn’t like the Grateful Dead to listen to the Grateful Dead. They won’t fucking do it. There’s a preconceived notion in their mind.”