Ocean Colour Scene's first 7" single, "Sway", was released in the early 1990s UK indie era. However, when their record label was swallowed up by larger company Phonogram their eponymous d? album was mixed, against the band's wishes, to fit in with the Madchester musical trend of the time. The album was largely deemed a failure, and the band fell into dispute with their record compan.
Being in dispute with their record company, the band were forced back onto the dole, with no real direction and being only able to write new music, but with no outlet for it.
In 1993, the start of the turnaround occurred. Paul Weller invited Ocean Colour Scene to support him on some dates of his tour. On the back of these performances, Weller invited Cradock to play on one of his singles, and Fowler to sing on his forthcoming album, Wild Wood. Cradock was asked to play live with Weller on his tour, and the money Cradock made kept the band afloat during this time.
The band recorded a demo tape that was sent to various industry figures. After hearing this tape, Noel Gallagher invited the band to play with Oasis on their Autumn 1995 tour. This support slot brought Ocean Colour Scene to the attention of more record labels, and eventually in late 1995, the band signed with MCA Records.
Their second album Moseley Shoals was received to critical acclaim, containing four hit singles and reaching the heights of #2 in the UK Albums Chart.
Marchin' Already, the follow up to Moseley Shoals, went to #1 in the UK Albums Chart, displacing Oasis' Be Here Now at the top of the charts in 1997.
In 1998 they headlined their own arena tour in support of Marchin' Already and played three sold out nights at Stirling Castle, Scotland. Their arena tour became the biggest selling arena tour of any UK band in 1998.
Their song "The Riverboat Song" was featured on Chris Evans' TFI Friday as the backing music when guests were introduced. "Hundred Mile High City" was used in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and "July" (from their 1999 album One From The Modern) was used in the associated television series. More recently, their first hit single "The Riverboat Song" has been featured in the Vinnie Jones film Strength and Honour.
They have currently finished recording and mixing their latest album, Saturday, with a release date sometime in early 2010 to mark the 21st anniversary of the band. At a recent gig in birmingham the celebrate the opening of the new 02 Academy Simon Fowler commented that the new album will be released on Feb 7th 2010. The band also played two new songs from the forthcoming album called 'My Name is Saturday' and 'Magic Carpet Days'.
In late October the band announced that the album would no longer be called Rockfield, but Saturday, which is also a name of one of the tracks from the forthcoming record.
On November 2nd 2009 the band released a free downloadable version of a new song called Mrs Maylie, taken from the forthcoming album.
Most band members have supported/collaborated with other artists during the group's existence. Simon Fowler was one of the musicians involved in the official anthem for England's World Cup campaign, for France 98. England United as they were named also included Echo & the Bunnymen, Space and The Spice Girls. "(How Does It Feel) To Be On Top Of The World" reached number 9 in the official UK charts. Steve Cradock and former member Damon Minchella played/play regularly with Paul Weller, with Cradock also playing recently on Amy MacDonald's gigs.
Lead guitarist Steve Cradock and former bass guitarist Damon Minchella have been long-time members of ex-The Jam frontman Paul Weller's backing group, performing live and contributing to his solo albums before Ocean Colour Scene broke through to a wider audience. Lead singer Simon Fowler has also contributed to Paul Weller's albums in the past. Cradock and Minchella still regularly perform with Weller, despite Minchella no longer being an active member of Ocean Colour Scene.
During their peak (around the time of the Moseley Shoals release) OCS also regularly performed on stage with Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis with whom they were on tour at the time. These connections came about mainly due to Ocean Colour Scene's musical abilities, which both Gallaghers and Weller praised greatly. One particular performance of note with the Gallaghers was a storming rendition of The Beatles' "Day Tripper". The song was also included on the B-side compilation album B-sides, Seasides and Freerides. Noel Gallagher previewed an advance copy of the song during an interview on Radio 1 with DJ Jo Whiley. The interview mainly focused on Oasis's then-forthcoming gig in the grounds of Knebworth House, of which Ocean Colour Scene were one of the supporting acts. Over 2.6 million people applied for tickets for the shows, making it the biggest demand for concert tickets in British history. There was a combined audience of over 250,000 people.