Monkey and Beatles

Years after vying for rock's top slot, Damon Albarn and Oasis still have nothing in common

Lawrence Watson

Still making arena rock, still mining the Fab Four

In the pre-Winehouse era, the British exported their music, not their dirty laundry, which is why it's possible for Americans to recall the mid-'90s moment when Oasis and Blur jostled for the title of rock's best band in complete ignorance of the fact that the groups genuinely loathed each other. The divisive issues were class and ambition: Oasis' Noel and Liam Gallagher boasted that they had neither, while the members of Blur were posh college kids who briefly went by the band name Seymour, after J.D. Salinger's suicidal genius. Blur's music had oblique melodies and omnivorous influences; Oasis ripped off as...

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