Oasis

 Oasis

 Noel Gallagher – circa 2004

 “Because we need each other / We believe in each other” – ‘Acquiesce’ (Noel Gallagher)

In any discussion of U.K. rock band Oasis there is one topic that always seems to arise.  It goes something like this: ‘The fighting Gallagher brothers’, ‘started punching each other’, ‘sibling rivalry’, ‘typically heated backstage sibling altercation’ and ‘sibling disputes’.  Noel and Liam Gallagher seem to argue every day.  Why is this the case?  In his typically direct and laconic manner, Liam answers, “’Cos we’re brothers.”

Noel and Liam Gallagher are the children of Irish parents, Thomas and Peggy Gallagher.  The couple’s first child is Paul Anthony Gallagher.  Noel Thomas David Gallagher (born 29 May 1967) is born in Longsight, Manchester, U.K.  The couple’s third and final child is Liam (born William John Paul Gallagher, 21 September 1972).  Shortly after Liam is born, the Gallaghers move to Ashburn Avenue in Burnage, a suburb of Manchester.  Paul, as the eldest, gets a room of his own.  Noel and Liam have to share a room.  The disputes begin early.  Liam describes Noel as “the weirdo in the family.”

Tom Gallagher works in the construction industry.  He is alcoholic and frequently violent.  The boys are ‘often beaten’ and the two fearful elder boys both develop childhood stammers.  Tom Gallagher brings an old guitar home one day.  Noel reminisces, “When I was about 6 I started listening to records…The Beatles obviously.”  The popularity of the quartet from Liverpool verges on being ubiquitous.  The Gallagher boys are regularly taken to the football stadium on Maine Road to watch Manchester City play.  Although they become big fans of the team, the sound of the crowd singing or chanting in unison also proves influential, both for the sense of community and the sheer sonic power.

In 1976 Peggy Gallagher obtains a notice of separation, but it is not until 1982 that she finally leaves Tom Gallagher, taking the three boys with her.  Noel expects to become a builder like his father, but Liam is a bit more flamboyant.  His mother tells the tale of how, during a school nativity play, when Liam forgets his lines, he covers it up with an impression of rock star Elvis Presley.

Noel gets into trouble as a teenager.  Aged 13 he is arrested for stealing from a corner shop and is given six months’ probation.  With nothing better to do, Noel teaches himself to play the guitar his father left behind.  Although left-handed, Noel finds he plays guitar better with his right hand.  At 15 Noel is expelled from school for throwing a bag of flour over a teacher.  His interest in music fired up, Noel is particularly impressed with Manchester band The Smiths who break through on a national level in 1983.  “From that day on…I wanted to be [Smiths’ guitarist] Johnny Marr,” Noel recalls.

Like his elder brother, Liam also gets into trouble at school.  When he is 15 Liam is suspended from classes due to his fighting.

As teenagers, the Gallagher boys have limited contact with their father.  The main purpose of this is to help them obtain jobs in the construction industry.  Noel finds working with his father difficult.  “Because we were always arguing we’d still be working at nine o’clock every night,” he notes.  Noel moves to another construction company instead.  A heavy cap from a gas pipe lands on his foot and Noel is forced to take some time off to recuperate.  When he returns to work, Noel is given lighter duties at a warehouse.  During this time, he fools around with his guitar and begins songwriting.  Noel Gallagher spends most of the late 1980s unemployed, working on his music and ‘recreational drug use.’

When he is 18 Noel Gallagher becomes engaged to his girlfriend, Diane Ann.  They never marry and eventually split up.  In 1988 he begins living with Louise Jones.

While Noel Gallagher was inspired by The Smiths, Liam is more taken with The Stone Roses, another Manchester band, who make it big in the late 1980s.  Noel likes The Stone Roses too.  At one of their shows in May 1988, Noel meets Graham Lambert of the band called Inspiral Carpets.  Hearing the vocalist of Inspiral Carpets is leaving, Noel auditions for the job.  He is rejected.  However, Noel does get work as a part of the group’s road crew.  He spends around two years working as a roadie for Inspiral Carpets.

In 1991 a group called The Rain are formed in Manchester.  The members are: Chris Hutton (vocals), Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs (guitar) (born 23 June 1965), Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan (bass) (born 9 May 1971) and Tony McCarroll (drums) (born 4 June 1971).  Chris Hutton proves unsatisfactory so Arthurs auditions his acquaintance, Liam Gallagher, for the job.  Liam gets the position, but also suggest The Rain change their name to Oasis.  The inspiration for the new tag is a tour poster for Inspiral Carpets on the wall of Liam’s bedroom.  One of the venues on the tour is the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon, Wiltshire.

As the newly-named Oasis prepare for their first gig, Liam Gallagher’s elder brother, Noel, returns home.  Noel decides to come along and see the lads in action on 18 August 1991 at the Boardwalk Club in Manchester.  Noel is not particularly impressed, but the show does get him thinking.  He rejects Liam’s offer to become the band’s manager.  Noel’s counter-offer is this: “Let me write your songs and I’ll take you to superstardom, or else you’ll rot here in Manchester.”  Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs assesses the brash newcomer and observes, “He had loads of stuff written.  When he walked in, we were a band making a racket with four tunes.  All of a sudden there were loads of ideas.”  The decision is made.  Noel Gallagher joins Oasis as lead guitarist, sole songwriter and, sometimes, lead vocalist.  Liam still handles the bulk of the lead vocals.  The rest of Oasis takes to calling Noel Gallagher ‘The Chief’.

A period of intense rehearsal and small club gigs follows as Oasis shape their sound.  A group called Sister Lovers shares a rehearsal room with Oasis.  Sister Lovers get a gig in Glasgow, Scotland, in May 1993 and invite Oasis to come along.  This show at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut proves fateful.  Alan McGee, co-owner of Creation Records, is in the crowd that night.  A band on his label, a group called 18 Wheeler, is also on the bill so he has an interest in the show.  McGee is impressed with Oasis and accepts a demo tape from them.  Four days later, he meets with Oasis in London and signs them to a recording contract.  It is an international deal with Sony who licence the band to Creation in the U.K.  Oasis set to work on their first recordings.

Oasis – along with a band called Blur – are at the forefront of a movement called britpop.  Emerging in the mid-1990s, britpop features guitar bands with a certain sense of nationalism.  The American grunge bands have been dominant immediately before britpop.  Both genres are loud and guitar driven.  However, where Nirvana, the standard bearers of grunge, purveys a sort of liquid industrial noise sludge, Oasis’ brand of britpop is more sandpapery, if not less corrosive.  While grunge absorbs aspects of heavy metal, punk and alternate rock, britpop harks back to the British invasion bands of the 1960s, the glam rock of the 1970s and British punk.  Other britpop acts besides Oasis and Blur include Pulp, Supergrass, The Verve and The La’s.

One issue associated with Oasis is that, to the ears of some, their songs are a bit too similar to their sources of inspiration.  Noel Gallagher describes himself as “a fan who writes songs.”  He points to his inspirations and says, “These are the greatest songwriters in the world.  And I’m gonna put them all in this song.”  So while he borrows from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, T-Rex, The Sex Pistols, The Jam and The Stone Roses, Oasis ‘ties it all together with a massive guitar roar.’

Noel Gallagher is firmly in charge of Oasis.  That was the condition he imposed on joining the band.  “If I was a control freak, I’d be in the nuthouse by now,” Noel later contends.  He justifies his dominance by saying, “Someone’s gotta carry the can.”  Most of Oasis are cowed by Noel.  Liam is the exception.  Asked to specify when Noel is wrong, Liam grunts, “When I’m right.”  Noel acknowledges Liam’s importance: “He’s like the face of the group.”  Liam shrugs off the idea that he’s a sex symbol, stressing, “I’m about the singing.”  Most often Liam emulates Sex Pistols’ vocalist Johnny Rotten, using a similarly brattish, petulant whine.

A demo of the Oasis song ‘Columbia’ has a very limited release, but the first real single from Oasis is ‘Supersonic’ (UK no. 31) on 11 April 1994.  “I’m feeling supersonic / Give me gin and tonic,” drawls Liam Gallagher in a cocksure pout, establishing his image and, by extension, the stance of Oasis.  The follow-up, ‘Shakermaker’ (UK no. 11), is notable chiefly for being the subject of a plagiarism suit, due to its similarity to The New Seekers’ 1971 hit ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’.

In June 1994 Noel Gallagher breaks up with Louise Jones.  The relationship had been a bit off-and-on, but Noel still proclaims, “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.”  That doesn’t stop him from starting to date Rebecca de Ruvo, a presenter on cable television’s MTV, before the end of the year.

‘Live Forever’ (UK no. 10, US no. 39) is released on 8 August 1994.  Noel Gallagher writes this song in reaction to grunge’s ‘song about wanting to die [Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide on 5 April 1994], so he decided to write a song about wanting to live forever.’  “We see things they’ll never see / You and I are gonna live forever,” the lyrics proclaim.  The arrangement has the glow of sunrise, heralding the dawn of Oasis’ reign.  Never shy about his own achievements, Noel smirks, “If you’d written ‘Live Forever’, you’d be walking to a different tune the next day too.”

‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994) (UK no. 1, US no. 58, AUS no. 23), the debut album from Oasis, is released on 30 August.  ‘Supersonic’, ‘Shakermaker’ and ‘Live Forever’ are included here.  Production duties are shared between Oasis, Mark Coyle, Dave Batchelor and Owen Morris.  The key track may be ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’: “In my mind my dreams are real…Tonight, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star.”  In a way, the whole album is the manifestation of Noel Gallagher’s fantasies about becoming famous.  Some of the tracks (including ‘Live Forever’) were written as far back as when Noel was working in a warehouse.  From the abrasive statement of purpose in ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’, the sound modifies to a white noise buzz for ‘Slide Away’, a song reputedly written for Louise Jones when she was Noel’s partner: “Two of a kind / We’ll find a way.”  On 10 October ‘Cigarettes And Alcohol’ (UK no. 7) becomes the album’s fourth single.  Although the song’s rooster-like riff bears a resemblance to T-Rex’s ‘Get It On (Bang A Gong)’ from 1971, this good song about bad habits further advances the band’s outlaw reputation: “But all I need are cigarettes and alcohol.”  ‘Definitely Maybe’ is ‘a stone cold classic.’

As Oasis tour to support ‘Definitely Maybe’ the squabbling between the Gallagher brothers becomes quite public.  On their first trip out of England, Oasis are ‘deported after a brawl on the ferry to Holland.’  At an interview with British rock newspaper ‘New Musical Express’ Liam and Noel start punching each other.  Subsequently, they refuse to be interviewed together because they are aware that they always fight.  In Los Angeles, California, during a tour of the U.S.A. in September 1994, Liam changes the words of songs so that they become offensive to Americans and his brother.  There follows a backstage brawl in which a chair is thrown and Noel is hit in the head with a tambourine.  ‘The Chief’ is so upset he quits the band and heads to San Francisco.  Tim Abbott from Creation Records tracks Noel down and, after they make a trip to Las Vegas, convinces the guitarist to rejoin Oasis and the tour resumes in Minneapolis.

On 18 December 1994 the ‘string-laden’ ‘Whatever’ (UK no. 3, AUS no. 40) again finds Oasis in trouble for borrowing liberally from the work of another composer.  Later releases of the song credit Neil Innes, perhaps best known for his work with comedic rockers The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, as co-songwriter.  This is because of the similarity to his 1973 song ‘How Sweet To Be An Idiot’.  The B side, ‘Half The World Away’, is a quiet sing-along with Noel Gallagher on lead vocals.  As may be anticipated, Noel’s voice is similar to Liam’s but a bit deeper and more considered.

Liam Gallagher is first linked to British actress Patsy Kensit in 1994. On 3 January 1992 she married another rock star, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.  In 1993 Jim and Patsy had a son, James, but, evidently, by 1994 the marriage is troubled.  Still, Liam’s attention wanders elsewhere in any case.  From 1995 to 1997 he is also involved with Lisa Moorish.

In 1995 Noel Gallagher dumps Rebecca de Ruvo in favour of her roommate, Meg Mathews.

In April 1995 drummer Tony McCarroll is fired from Oasis due to what he describes as a “personality clash” with the Gallagher brothers.  Noel Gallagher’s version is a bit different: “I like Tony as a geezer but he wouldn’t have been able to drum the new songs.”  His replacement on drums is Alan White (born 26 May 1972), the younger brother of Steve White.  The elder White has been working with Paul Weller (formerly of new wave band The Jam) and it is Weller who recommends Alan White for the job since Weller is one of Oasis’ new celebrity friends.

‘Some Might Say’ (UK no. 1), released 24 April 1995, is the first U.K. no. 1 single for Oasis.  Over a backwards-leaning guitar riff, Liam Gallagher chews over his brother’s latest lyric: “Some might say they don’t believe in heaven / Go and tell it to the man who lives in hell.”  This EP includes two interesting songs beyond ‘Some Might Say’.  ‘Talk Tonight’ is a more intimate, acoustic number with Noel Gallagher on lead vocals.  Like ‘Half The World Away’, it proves Oasis can work at a lower volume just as effectively.  ‘Talk Tonight’ is written as a thank you for the girl Noel stayed with in San Francisco during his temporary split from Oasis in September 1994: “I wanna talk tonight / ‘Bout how you saved my life.”  ‘Acquiesce’, the other track on the EP, renews the bond between the Gallagher boys amid buzz-saw guitars.

Around this time the press plays up a feud between Oasis and rival britpop band Blur.  “It was nothing to do with us,” says an exasperated Noel Gallagher.  “We never instigated it or nothin’ like that.”  It comes to a head when both acts release singles on the same day, 14 August 1995.  Oasis’ ‘Roll With It’ (UK no. 2, AUS no. 48) is a motivational speech urging listeners to learn to cope, to take the good with the bad.  Oasis get to provide a real life demonstration when ‘Roll With It’ is comprehensively eclipsed by Blur’s single from the same date, ‘Country House’ (UK no. 1, AUS no. 28).  Noel Gallagher’s habit of speaking his mind hits what may be an all-time low when he says he hopes Damon Albarn and Alex James of Blur “catch A.I.D.S. and die.”  Realising that this time he has gone too far, Noel apologises in a formal letter for general publication.

In September 1995 bassist Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan leaves Oasis…sort of.  He is replaced by Scott McLeod until, during a U.S. tour, McLeod, too, abruptly leaves.  McLeod has a rethink and tells Noel Gallagher he believes he’s made a mistake.  Unsympathetic, Noel tells McLeod, “I think you have too.”  ‘Guigsy’ is convinced to return to the fold.

The second album by Oasis, ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ (1995) (UK no. 1, US no. 4, AUS no. 1), is released on 2 October.  Drummer Alan White makes his album debut here and Paul McGuigan was still with the band during the recording sessions.  The album is co-produced by Noel Gallagher and Owen Morris.  The album cover shows two men passing on the street.  These fellows are not the Gallagher brothers; they are London disc jockey Sean Rowley and co-producer Owen Morris.  The setting is Berwick Street in the Soho section of London.  The site was chosen because it is a popular location for record shops.  The album includes ‘Roll With It’ as well as ‘Some Might Say’ but not the other two tracks from the ‘Some Might Say’ EP.  The best Oasis song of all time, ‘Wonderwall’ (UK no. 2, US no. 8, AUS no. 1), comes from this album and is released as a single on 30 October.  As Beatles fans, Oasis would be aware that ‘Wonderwall Music’ (1968) is the title of the first solo album by Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison – though, aside from the inspiration for the title, it has nothing to do with this Oasis song.  Noel wanted to sing ‘Wonderwall’ but Liam Gallagher insisted on being given the job.  It’s an eerie song with an acoustic guitar, fractured drums and ‘cellos the size of oak trees’ (or is that an E-Bow?).  “Because maybe / You’re gonna be the one to save me?” asks Liam in the lyrics.  “And after all / You’re my wonderwall.”  It may not be the most typical Oasis song, but this ‘glorious’ track is the best introduction for newcomers, its strange magnetism drawing in the curious.  Not included on the album is the B side to ‘Wonderwall’, the dark and brooding ‘The Masterplan’ in which Noel casts himself as a kind of guru (and the lead vocalist).  As compensation for handing ‘Wonderwall’ to Liam, Noel gets to sing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ (UK no. 1, US no. 55, AUS no. 19).  Over pounding piano chords, Noel comes across as vaguely profound, sagely counselling, “Please don’t put your life in the hands / Of a rock ‘n’ roll band / Who’ll throw it all away.”  Then again, Noel has said, “When I’m halfway through ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ I say to myself, ‘I still don’t know what these words mean.’”  Along the way the album takes in the aching ‘Cast No Shadow’ and the babbling brook of silliness that is ‘She’s Electric’, but saves the juice for the closing tracks.  ‘Morning Glory’ is a burst of noise sculpted into an anthem to slogging it out on a daily basis.  ‘Champagne Supernova’ (US no. 20, AUS no. 26), in a triumph of contradiction, is both grandiose and calm.  This song includes Noel’s mate, Paul Weller, on backing vocals and guitar.  ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ is the finest Oasis album.  It sees them ‘establish themselves as a rock ‘n’ roll force in their own right’ and becomes the ‘second biggest British album in history.’

The subsequent tour turns into the familiar public circus of highs and lows.  In March 1996 Tom Gallagher, the estranged father of Noel and Liam, turns up at their hotel during the tour.  Noel snaps, “As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t got a father.  He’s not a father to me, y’know? I don’t respect him in any way whatsoever.”  Oasis headline concerts at the home of the Manchester City football team, the Maine Road football ground, on 27 and 28 April 1996.  This is followed by shows at Knebworth on 10 and 11 August 1996 that have ‘a record-breaking number [of audience members] for an outdoor concert held in the U.K.’  Later the same month, Oasis are scheduled to play at the Royal Festival Hall in a performance to be broadcast on ‘MTV Unplugged’.  Liam withdraws citing a sore throat, so Noel handles all the lead vocals.  Liam sits in the balcony nursing his sore throat with booze and cigarettes while jeering his brother.  As Oasis gear up for a U.S. tour, Liam continues to drag his feet, leaving Noel to act as frontman until 30 August when Liam joins the tour in progress.  Their appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on 4 September 1996 finds Liam making gestures at Noel during the guitar solo, spitting beer on the stage, and storming off.  Noel flies back to the U.K. and rumours spread that the group have broken up.  Yet, somehow, ‘the fighting Gallagher brothers’ bury the hatchet again and Oasis soldiers on.

In 1997 both Liam and Noel Gallagher get married.  On 7 April 1997 Liam weds actress Patsy Kensit.  They go on to have a son, Lennon (born 13 September 1999), named after John Lennon of The Beatles, one of the greatest influences on Oasis.  On 5 June 1997, Noel marries his girlfriend Meg Mathews.  They later have a daughter, Anais (born 27 January 2000).

The recording sessions for the third Oasis album, ‘Be Here Now’ (1997) (UK no. 1, US no. 2, AUS no. 1) released in August, are subject to the almost obligatory ‘quarrels between the Gallagher brothers.’  The album is heralded by the single ‘D’You Know What I Mean’ (UK no. 1, AUS no. 16).  ‘Gas Panic’, Noel’s song about panic attacks, is also on this album as are the singles ‘Stand By Me’ (UK no. 2, AUS no. 48), ‘All Around The World’ (UK no. 1) and ‘Don’t Go Away’ (US no. 35).  Buoyed by the success of the previous disc, expectations – and early sales – are high.  However, a backlash sets in.  Looking back, Noel Gallagher regards this album as having been ‘rushed’.

‘The Masterplan’ (1998) (UK no. 2, US no. 51, AUS no. 36), ‘a compilation album of fifteen B sides’, follows.  “The really interesting stuff from around that period is the B sides,” offers Noel Gallagher.  “There’s a lot more inspired music on the B sides than there is on ‘Be Here Now’ itself, I think.”

Work begins on the next Oasis album but it proves to be a troubled process.  Noel Gallagher imposes a no drinks or drugs policy to get Liam to sing properly.  In August 1999, Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs resigns and, two weeks later, Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan also departs.  When questioned at the time of Bonehead’s exit, Noel sniffs, “It’s hardly Paul McCartney leaving The Beatles, is it?”  Noel overdubs most of the guitar parts and bass himself.  Before the album is released, Oasis has two new members: Gem Archer (guitar) (born Colin Murray Archer, 7 December 1966) and Andy Bell (bass) (born 11 August 1970).  Bell was previously in Ride where he was songwriter and guitarist, but had never played bass before.  “If he can play guitar, he can play the f***in’ bass,” according to Liam Gallagher.

‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ (2000) (UK no. 1, US no. 24, AUS no. 6) is released on 7 February.  Noel Gallagher co-produces the album with Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, who is perhaps better known for his work with dance music acts.  Creation Records has, by this time, gone out of business, so this and subsequent Oasis albums are on their self-created Big Brother label.  The album’s highlight is the sweeping rhythm of ‘Go Let It Out’ (UK no. 1, AUS no. 23).  ‘Who Feels Love?’ (UK no. 4) and ‘Sunday Morning Call’ (UK no. 4) are also released as singles.  The disc includes ‘Little James’, the first Oasis song written by vocalist Liam Gallagher.  This album is a more ‘experimental, psychedelic’ set of songs.

On tour in Barcelona, Spain, in 2000 drummer Alan White’s arm seizes up in an attack of tendonitis.  Oasis are forced to cancel the gig and the Gallagher brothers spend the night drinking instead.  Liam casts doubt on the paternity of Noel’s daughter, Anais, and receives a head-butt in exchange from his sibling.  Noel makes tracks back to the U.K., grumbling about quitting Oasis.  Still, he turns up for their show in Dublin, Ireland, on 8 July 2000, and the fraternally fractious duo shake hands on stage after performing ‘Acquiesce’.

Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit divorce on 22 September 2000.  Liam then takes up with Nicole Appleton from All Saints, a female vocal group.  Liam and Nicole go on to have a son together, Gene Appleton Gallagher (born 1 July 2001).

A live album, ‘Familiar To Millions’ (2000) (UK no. 5, US no. 182), recorded at an Oasis show at London’s Wembley Stadium, is released in late 2000.

On 19 January 2001 Noel Gallagher and Meg Mathews divorce.  Noel is accused of adultery with Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald.  The pair met at a nightclub, ‘Space’, on the Spanish island of Ibiza (a popular destination for British tourists) in June 2000.  Gallagher denies being unfaithful but, after the divorce, Sara MacDonald becomes the new woman in his life.

‘Heathen Chemistry’ (2002) (UK no. 1, US no. 23, AUS no. 4) is the first Oasis studio album on which Gem Archer and Andy Bell appear.  With production credited to the band, this disc is released on 1 July.  The contents include ‘The Hindu Times’ (UK no. 1, AUS no. 22), ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ (UK no. 2, AUS no. 48) and ‘Little By Little / She Is Love’ (UK no. 2, AUS no. 54).  Perhaps the most notable aspect is that, with this album, Oasis become more democratic.  Though Liam Gallagher contributed ‘Little James’ to the previous studio album, here he provides three songs, including the acoustic piano ballad ‘Songbird’ (UK no. 3).  What is more, Gem Archer and Andy Bell each contribute a song to the album.  Guitarist Johnny Marr of The Smiths, one of Noel’s biggest influences, makes a guest appearance on the album.

In summer 2002, while on tour in the U.S., Noel Gallagher, Andy Bell and touring keyboardist Jay Darlington, all receive minor injuries when their taxi collides with another vehicle in Indianapolis.  In December 2002 Liam Gallagher and his entourage get into a street fight in Munich, Germany.  Liam loses his two front teeth and kicks a police officer in the ribs.

January 2004 sees the resignation of drummer Steve White.  Zak Starkey (born 13 September 1965) takes over on drums.  Zak is the son of The Beatles’ drummer, Ringo Starr.  Zak’s position with Oasis is only semi-official at first as he settles in.

‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ (2005) (UK no. 1, US no. 12, AUS no. 5) is released on 30 May 2005.  Noel Gallagher is assisted by Dave Sardy on production duties for this album, recorded in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.  Zak Starkey’s pounding drums are used to good effect on ‘Lyla’ (UK no. 1, US no. 108, AUS no. 23), a song that mixes riffing electric and acoustic guitars.  Noel handles the lead vocals on ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’ (UK no. 1), a music hall tribute to laziness.  ‘Let There Be Love’ (UK no. 2) is also issued as a single.  Again, the other members of Oasis are active in the songwriting for this album.  ‘Love Like A Bomb’ is co-written by Liam Gallagher and Gem Archer, Liam offers up two other songs, Gem scores one more, and Andy Bell notches up two contributions.  ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ is the best Oasis effort for some time and is seen as ‘a triumphant return.’

Late in 2006, without Oasis, Noel Gallagher undertakes an international tour of intimate acoustic shows.  He is accompanied by Gem Archer (guitar) and Terry Kirkbridge (percussion).  Noel denies that these performances mean he is leaving Oasis for a solo career.

Noel Gallagher’s partner, Sara MacDonald, gives birth to their son, Donovan (born 22 September 2007).  The couple have a second son, Rory (born 1 October 2010).

‘Lord Don’t Slow Me Down’ (UK no. 10) is a one-off Oasis single released in 2007.

In May 2008 Zak Starkey leaves Oasis after completing the recording sessions for their next album.  Chris Sharrock steps in as the band’s new drummer.

The seventh Oasis album, ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ (2008) (UK no. 1, US no. 5, AUS no. 5), is released on 29 September.  Dave Sardy again serves as producer.  ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’ (UK no. 12) and ‘Falling Down’ (UK no. 10, US no. 106) are the singles from this set.

On 20 August 2009 an Oasis concert at the Rock en Seine Festival in Paris, France, is cancelled after an ‘altercation within the group.’  There had been a fight between the Gallagher brothers backstage that ended with Liam smashing Noel’s guitar.  The band’s manager announces that Oasis ‘does not exist anymore.’  Noel Gallagher writes on the band’s website, “With some sadness and great relief…I quit Oasis tonight…I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”  At first, given the band’s turbulent history, it seems possible that this dispute, like so many others, will be papered over and things will get back to normal.  However, as time passes, it becomes clear that, this time, it really is the end of Oasis.

Liam Gallagher takes the rest of the band – Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock – and they rebrand themselves as Beady Eye.  From 2010, they carry on as this new entity.

Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton split up in 2013.  Liam begins a new relationship with Debbie Gwyther in the same year.

On 13 June 2011 Noel Gallagher marries Sara MacDonald, the mother of his sons, Donavon and Rory.

Noel Gallagher begins a solo career with a loose affiliation of backing musicians performing as Noel Gallagher And The High Flying Birds, beginning with the album of the same name released on 17 October 2011.

As to an Oasis reunion, “I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” says Noel Gallagher.  “It would be great for everyone else except me,” he adds with characteristic egotism.

‘Oasis: Supersonic’ (2016), released on 26 October, is a documentary about the band directed by Mat Whitecross and Asif Kapadia.

Contrary to the implications of their name, Oasis (the band) was never a peaceful little paradise.  However, if an Oasis is seen as a fertile spot in a desert, then the group was certainly creatively fertile, carving out the britpop genre from the wastelands of pop.  Their first two albums, ‘Definitely Maybe’ and ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’, were great stuff, packed with brash imagination and the appropriation of rock history for their own purposes.  Their later works were patchier.  Although, ultimately, the conflict between Noel and Liam Gallagher destroyed Oasis, it was a battle that simmered throughout their career in the best of times as well.  That makes it difficult to see the sibling rivalry as a new and deadly element in their saga, for it was an ingrained characteristic throughout.  Although Noel Gallagher’s ego could be overbearing, it’s hard to deny that his was the guiding hand.  Noel claimed, “I’d like to be remembered as someone who wrote some good songs, said some daft things, did some daft things, wore good shoes [and] supported a crap football team.”  ‘No songwriter so effortlessly distilled the most potent elements of classic British pop into contemporary feel-good anthems as Noel Gallagher did.’  Oasis was ‘responsible for returning British guitar pop to the top of the charts.’

Sources:

  1. ‘The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ – ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (February 2004) p. 67
  2. ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 184, 185
  3. ‘The History of Rock’ by Mark Paytress (Parragon Books, 2011) p. 280, 281, 283
  4. allmusic.com, ‘Oasis’ by Stephen Thomas Erlewine as at 3 October 2013
  5. wikipedia.org as at 26 August 2013, 7 January 2017
  6. ‘The O-Zone’ (U.K. television program, BBC Network) – Oasis interview conducted by Jayne Middlemiss (1996)
  7. ‘Stop The Clocks’ – Sleeve notes by Sylvia Patterson, Andrew Smith (Sony BMG Music Entertainment (U.K.) Limited, 2006) p. 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25
  8. whosdatedwho.com as at 26 August 2013
  9. musicradar.com as at 26 August 2013
  10. Notable names database – nndb.com – as at 26 August 2013
  11. ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ – Anonymous sleeve notes (Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 1995) p. 2

Song lyrics copyright Oasis Music / Creation Songs / Sony / ATV Music Publishing Ltd.

Last revised 13 January 2017

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