What’s a wonderwall anyway? What an excellent question! (Especially since spellcheck, the wonderful invention students now worship, doesn’t even recognize “wonderwall”…or “spellcheck” for that matter. Is it “spell-check” or “spell check”?!)
But ANYWAY, “What’s a wonderwall anyway?” is a line in the Travis song, “Writing to Reach You”, and it seems to be poking fun at Oasis in the same way Travis sings “There’s no devil’s haircut in my mind” (Yes, that would be a Beck reference). But this is not the question… Besides a classic Oasis song, what is a wonderwall??
“Wonderwall” is also an erotic and trippy movie made in the 60’s. The professor, Oscar Collins, becomes literally obsessed with Penny Lane, a model that lives next door to him. He drills holes in her wall (the wonderwall) to watch her and the beauty she radiates. However, Oscar’s obsession is not disgusting in any way. It’s beautiful in an unexplainable way, maybe in a “Lolita”, “Carmen”, or “Harold and Maude” way. It’s a cult classic for those that care, and a handy phrase for others to throw around because of the score by George Harrison. As Monica Sullivan writes, “Even the biggest Beatles fans in the world know the title, but nothing else about ‘Wonderwall’.” Although Monica may be correct, the fan base will surely improve due to the new box set version of “Wonderwall”. Very recently, this film has been re-edited and the sound quality has been improved to DVD standards. The box set includes all kinds of goodies, like George Harrison’s soundtrack, a guitar track by Eric Clapton, and some production stills. Is it worth the investment? You decide… there have been many positive reviews but even more negative reviews of the film.
So, inspired by The Beatles, Oasis created the song “Wonderwall”. Or are they just thieves? This is also a debatable question. There are many anti-Oasis critics that call Oasis “Beatles wannabes”. But let’s face it, the Beatles have influenced the world more than any other band. They were bigger than The King. They were bigger than the King of Pop. They were bigger than anything, and for many, they still are. I think Oasis knows they owe much of their success to The Beatles. Let’s remember, Oasis re-made “I am the Walrus”, a song few Beatles fans know all of the words to but even fewer understand. I think the Oasis version of “Wonderwall” is merely an interpretation and a tribute to George Harrison.
What’s that leave us with? It’s obvious that we can only think of Travis as a tertiary source. “What’s a wonderwall anyway?” It’s a tricky question because a wonderwall could be a number of things for many different people. It could be the mystical gate between reality and fantasy. It could be that impermeable wall that makes the impossible dream so impossible. It could be a mere soundtrack title or a trippy movie as well… or even a stolen song title. It’s all a matter of opinion and interpretation, as all art should be.