This week marks 25 years since the release of Oasis’ debut album, Definitely Maybe; the fastest selling debut album in British rock history. To commemorate this musical milestone, h Club London (formerly The Hospital Club) and The Archivist’s Gallery are pleased to announce a brand-new free exhibition of Oasis photography coming to h Club London’s gallery. The exhibition will include never-before-seen images, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the album artwork and give them access to behind the scenes photography and memorabilia from throughout the band’s career.
Masterplan25 features the work of Michael Spencer Jones, one of the UK’s most influential rock photographers, responsible for creating some of the most iconic sleeve art in recent British rock history. Spencer Jones has worked with some of Britain’s most recognisable rock bands including The Verve and Oasis. He was the only photographer that was allowed access throughout most of Oasis’ career, accompanying them from their pre-fame days in 1993 to their milestone gig at Knebworth in 1996, and on through to the tours that accompanied the release of Be Here Now in 1997 and 1998. He was granted VIP access throughout, from in-studio recording sessions, to the backstage dressing rooms and front row areas, giving him an intimate insight into the band’s life in full.
The exhibition will showcase the artwork for three of Oasis’ earliest and most influential albums; Definitely, Maybe (1994), What’s The Story (1995) and Be Here Now (1997), with scenes re-created with a series of to-scale immersive mock ups, giving visitors the chance to recreate the iconic poses for themselves. From Bonehead’s front room, to a semi-submerged Rolls Royce the exhibition will provide content like no other. Visitors will also be able to view the art work from a selection of Oasis’ singles including Supersonic (1994), Live Forever (1994), Cigarettes & Alcohol (1994), Whatever (1994), Some Might Say (1995), Roll With It (1995), Wonderwall (1995), Don’t Look Back In Anger (1995), D’You Know What I Mean? (1997) and All Around The World (1998).
In addition, the exhibition will delve beneath these famous covers, giving visitors a look behind-the-scenes and on to the set of all the shoots for the legendary Oasis album and single covers. Featuring everything from informal, off-guard moments to frame-stealing play-acting; and from fully-polished alternative covers to original, marked-up contact sheets (some of which have never been exhibited before) – all images will be accompanied by interviews and anecdotes from Spencer Jones and the band. Shots will include behind the scenes recording sessions at Rockfield Studios, unseen photography of Oasis on tour and previously unseen outtakes from their famous covers.
A devoted collector, Spencer Jones had the opportunity and wherewithal to hold on to the various letters, scraps of paper and props from his myriad shoots with the band. Exhibiting these together for the first time in the UK, these provide a fascinating insight into the band. Items include props from the original shoots, original handwritten song lyrics and correspondence with the fans.
There will be limited edition photographs on-sale throughout the exhibition.
Michael Berg, CMO h Club said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be exhibiting Michael Spencer Jones’ brilliant work, which shaped Oasis’ image. It’s difficult to imagine ‘Definitely Maybe’ without seeing a spinning globe in a living room; ‘Be Here Now’ without a Rolls Royce in a swimming pool; or ‘Wonderwall’ without a girl in a picture frame – without Michael, Oasis may have been an entirely different band.”
Michael Spencer Jones added: “I am delighted to be exhibiting my work with Oasis at h Club London, especially the shots and artefacts fans will never have seen before. Seen from the digital matrix in which we now live, Oasis were the last gasp of air in the analogue age; the last great rock’n’roll band before Zuckerberg, before iPhones and before the internet began to shape and control our lives. I hope this exhibition gives fans a chance to pause and reflect and look back upon a time when the face and image of Britain was being revolutionised from below.”
There will be a series of free events at the exhibition which will be announced in due course.
Masterplan 25: The Oasis Photographs runs at the h Club Gallery from Friday 22 November 2019 – Sunday 12 January 2020.
Photo credit: Michael Spencer Jones