From a Big Sur retreat to an Italian mountaintop to a sold-out stadium in Manchester, we unearth the curious links between Mad Men, Coca-Cola, and Oasis.
We woke up today with the collective realization that our years-long affair with Mad Men is officially over, a curious craving for a bottle of coke, and “I’d Like to Teach The World to Sing” stuck in our heads. Thank you, Matthew Weiner. But that song reminded us of more than just a cola’s power to unite the world’s people in song. It reminded us of the band Oasis and their own bizarre relationship with what may be (or may not, depending on which Mad Men finale theory you read) Don Draper’s crowning achievement.
While Oasis has long been accused of shamelessly nicking Beatles tunes for their hits (a charge that ignores most of Oasis’ music and the number of other influences they brilliantly weave through it, from Burt Bacharach to T. Rex to Paul Weller…but that’s another rant), it was Coca-Cola, rather than Lennon and McCartney, who actually sued songwriter Noel Gallagher over similarities between “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” and Oasis’ “Shakermaker.”
Gallagher settled with Coke, but in typical style, declared that Oasis now “all drink Pepsi” and then began sarcastically working the lyrics to Coke’s theme song in to live versions of “Shakermaker.”
But like Don Draper, Noel got the last laugh— or a least the last knowing smile. In 2012, to celebrate their 125th anniversary, Coke gathered up a children’s chorus to sing the Oasis’s single “Whatever” for a new TV spot that revived the feel-good spirit of “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” and even included a clip from the ’70s spot. Not only did this lead to the band undoubtedly ending their Coke boycott, it brought extra attention to one of the band’s most underrated hits (at least here in the States).
But of course this did little to abate the controversy that has forever swirled around this band and perhaps unfairly come to define them. Oasis would lose a piece of this song, too, and to an even more unlikely source: sometime Monty Python collaborator Neil Innes, who felt “Whatever” sounded a bit too much like his song, “How Sweet to Be An Idiot.”
But, as Don Draper proved last night on the shores of Big Sur, inspiration comes when and where you least expect it, but the results can be exhilarating.
We still consider Oasis, for all their worldwide success, to be severely under appreciated in America. So if you only know their biggest hits, or don’t think you like them at all, here are a few Trunkworthy Oasis songs — nothing that charted in America and nothing from the first two albums that have rightly attained classic status — that just might have you rethinking a band that has been unfairly maligned in these United States: