Published Oct 06, 2016Few bands in history have been able to say they're "bigger than God" or "bigger and better than the Beatles," but for a fleeting moment in the mid-'90s, Oasis had convinced not only themselves, but millions of fans that they were. And they had every reason to. The Manchester band's meteoric rise from unknowns to the world's most popular band was unparalleled at the time. In the span of two years, they went from releasing their debut single to selling out arenas in America, a region that historically has been unkind to British bands.
Oasis were the right band at the right time. They reacted to the sour, downtrodden vibes of grunge and rose up to carry the Britpop movement on their shoulders. They were raw, wild and infectious both in their loud, hummable rock'n'roll and their winning personalities. Led by brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, Oasis became beloved as much for their outrageously colourful and controversial behaviour as their celebratory anthems. Of course, the good times didn't last.
Alcohol, cocaine and egos got in the way of their momentum, and infighting between members — especially Noel and Liam — would jeopardize both the band's success and their chemistry. They were covered just as much in the pages of News of the World as they were the NME. But somehow through all of the trash-talking, fist-fighting and hostile personnel changes, Oasis built a legacy that is just as fascinating now as it was during their 18 years together. In October, the production team behind the Oscar-nominated Amy will release Supersonic, which chronicles the first three years of Oasis's career.
1967 to 1987
Noel Thomas David Gallagher is born on May 29, 1967 in Longsight, Manchester to Irish parents Thomas and Peggy. His younger brother William (Liam) John Paul Gallagher is born in Burnage, Manchester on September 21, 1972. From a young age, Noel and Liam are forced to share a bedroom, which would establish a lifetime of squabbling. In VH1's Behind The Music, Noel admits, "I always resented him for that because he took up a lot of my space." Thomas, an alcoholic, is abusive towards his wife and sons (including the eldest Paul) and by the time Liam is four, Peggy files for separation from her husband. Noel tells The Guardian, "He was a typical Irish drinker-worker, always at the bookies, always gambling on something, didn't take his drink very well, quite violent."
One night in 1983 while their father is at the pub, the Gallagher boys and their mum gather up their belongings and flee the family home. Trouble at home seems to rub off on the Gallagher boys and they begin to misbehave in public. Liam takes up stealing bicycles and fighting at school, while at 13 Noel receives six months probation for robbing a convenience store and gets expelled at 15 for throwing a bag of flour over a teacher. Noel is confined to the house and out of boredom he picks up the guitar.
After seeing the Smiths perform "This Charming Man" on Top of the Pops, Noel realizes his dream to become a rock star. "From that day on I was… I wouldn't say… Yes, I probably would say, I wanted to be Johnny Marr," he tells John Harris, author of Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock.
Noel begins working as an apprentice for British Gas. Noel tells Behind The Music, "I'm either gonna go work in the local factory, be a drug dealer or see if I can do anything with this guitar innit. I decided that if I was gonna make anything of my entire life that was gonna be it." Noel injures his foot at work and takes another less physical job with the company working in the storehouse, which he later nicknames "the Hit Hut" after writing three songs from Definitely Maybe on the job.
1988 to 1991
On his 21st birthday, Noel goes to see Stone Roses and James perform at the International Two. There, he meets Inspiral Carpets guitarist Graham Lambert, who is bootlegging the show. Lambert recalls the meeting to Loaded in 1997: "He asked me for a copy of the tape, I started talking to him and he asked me if I was going to see the Inspiral Carpets later on that week. I told him I was kind of in them, sort of thing." The band's singer Steve Holt leaves and Noel auditions to replace him but according to Lambert "his voice didn't fit." Instead they nickname him "Monobrow" and hire him as the band's roadie for two years.
In 2012, Noel tells The Sun, "I was maybe the best-dressed roadie in the history of music. I used to wear white jeans and never got them dirty. I was too quick for the dirt."
Liam begins to follow a local band called the Rain, made up of Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Tony McCarroll (drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). Guigsy later tells Mojo, "[Hutton] was a twat. Swung his microphone round and all that. So we sacked him." The band invite Liam to audition and he's hired immediately. Liam suggests they change their name to Oasis, after the Oasis Leisure Centre, a venue Inspiral Carpets had listed on their tour poster that is hanging up in his bedroom.
Oasis make their live debut at the Boardwalk in Manchester on August 18, 1991 and Noel is in attendance. He later tells Q, "I get back from Frankfurt with the Inspirals and Liam's band have their first-ever gig, at the Boardwalk. I goes down, about 30 people there. They did four of their own songs. I know I've said they were atrocious, but they weren't that bad right. I thought, 'Our kid's got summat about him.' They came offstage and he went, 'What did you think?' 'You're alright, but you've got no tunes.' And he comes back with, 'Well, it's more than you ever fucking did — you've got loads of songs and you're sat on your arse being a roadie. Don't you slag my band off!'"
At the band's next rehearsal, Liam asks Noel to become the band's manager, but instead he demands to take over lead guitar and the songwriting. Guigsy recalls the experience to Mojo: "After about half-an-hour, he said, 'I'll go and get my guitar.' Then he came down and said, 'Your tunes are shit. I'll show you some tunes.' Everybody knew he was into playing guitar, but he'd never been in a band in his life. Then he said, 'Right, I'll be in charge.'"
Noel tells Behind the Music, "The stuff that Liam was writing was just awful. Fucking shocking. I mean, seriously. If you think, right, that some of my stuff is fucking bad, you really won't want to hear the stuff they were coming up with before I joined the band." Noel's plan is to keep the music loud and simple; he instructs Bonehead to only play bar chords, Guigsy to stick with root notes and McCarroll to keep a 4/4 rhythm. Under Noel's guidance, the band begin writing songs and playing gigs wherever they can get them. He continues to roadie for the Inspiral Carpets.
On May 31, Oasis hire a gold-painted, '70s tour bus with some mates and drive up to Glasgow, where they are to play a gig at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Invited by local indie act Sister Lovers, upon arrival they learn they aren't on the bill. In attendance to see headliner 18 Wheeler is Creation Records boss Alan McGee and Teenage Fanclub's Gerard Love. "I turned up at nine o'clock and was told that all these guys had arrived from Manchester in a bus and entered the building," Love would tell David Cavanagh, author of The Creation Records Story. "There was a bit of excitement because they were refusing to leave unless they were allowed to play."
Oasis convince the promoter to let them play four songs, and they impress McGee so much that after talking to them — when Noel brags that he's written more than 50 songs, when in fact they just had the six — he offers them a record deal on the spot. Oasis show interest, but their manager Marcus Russell holds off on signing. McGee becomes obsessed with the band's demo, Live Demonstration, and begins playing it for everyone in the Creation camp.
Over the following months buzz begins to build in the press, and despite McGee's best efforts to keep them a secret, other labels discover Oasis. Both Go! Discs and U2's label Mother show interest, but Russell signs a six-album deal with McGee through Sony International, which includes Epic for America and a licensing deal with Creation in the UK. Oasis begin recording sessions with Dave Batchelor, soundman for Inspiral Carpets, but the band aren't satisfied with the results. They scrap £50,000 worth of recordings. Oasis end the year playing some dates supporting the Verve, and release a white-label demo called "Columbia." BBC Radio 1 begins playing it substantially.
Oasis make their London debut in January with a gig at the Water Rats. The venue quickly reaches its 200 capacity with another 200 left out in the cold. The band take the album tapes to some studios in London, but fail to find a spark. In February, the band are scheduled to play their first gig outside of the UK in Amsterdam, supporting the Verve. During the cross-channel ferry trip, members of Oasis and a group of Chelsea FC supporters proceed to drink the boat dry. The two sides begin to have a "massive punch-up" and Liam, Bonehead, Guigsy and Tony are locked up in the brig; they are eventually deported back to England from Holland.
Noel, who was asleep during the altercation, stays in Amsterdam to hang out with the Verve. Two months later the incident is discussed during an interview with the NME, and the Gallaghers unleash a barrage of cursing towards each other. The conversation becomes so buzzed-about that indie label Fierce Panda releases it the next year as Wibbling Rivalry under the name Oas*s; it becomes the highest charting interview release in UK history.
They relocate to the idyllic Sawmills studio on the riverside in Cornwall to continue work on the album. With Noel and the band's live sound engineer Mark Coyle producing the sessions, they try to replicate the band's guitar-heavy live sound to tape. For a third time, they were unable to meet expectations. On recommendation by Johnny Marr, Russell calls in Owen Morris, who worked with the engineered records by Electronic and The The. The first order of business for Morris is to strip away all of the guitars that Noel laid down. The band's debut single "Supersonic" is released on April 11 and charts at #31 in the UK; Noel admits it was written in the time it takes to listen to it.
The seeds of the Oasis-Blur feud are first sown when the Gallagher brothers confront Blur guitarist Graham Coxon at London hangout the Good Mixer. Liam says, "Good band Blur. Shit clothes, though." They then bump Coxon around until he spills his drink on his trousers. Coxon convinces the bar's landlord to kick them out.
Their followup, "Shakermaker," is released in June and fares better, charting at #11. The song becomes subject to controversy when the New Seekers accuse Oasis of jacking the melody from their 1971 hit song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," which was originally written as a jingle for Coca-Cola. Oasis are forced to pay $500,000 Australian to the original songwriters. Asked about the lawsuit, Noel tells the press, "We only drink Pepsi from now on."
While recording the song "Whatever," the band are kicked out of London's Columbia Hotel after they trash a room and throw furniture out the window, some of which lands on the hotel manager's Mercedes. Oasis land the covers of both the NME and Melody Maker for the week of August 6. Two days later they release "Live Forever," which cracks the top ten for the first time. Originally the song's guitar solo is twice as long, but Morris chops it down. In a band documentary, he explains, "I thought it was a bit like fucking Slash from Guns N' Roses."
The next day at a gig in Newcastle, Noel is attacked by a stage invader and the show is abruptly ended. Noel later tells Mojo: "I looked up and there was this guy stood right in front of me, and he fucking smacked me right in the eye, nearly took my eye out with a sovereign ring he was wearing. I just took me guitar off and belted him across the head with it, and then he got dragged into the crowd. Me and Our Kid, like a pair of idiots, jumped straight in and it all went off, fucking proper. I had blood all over the place, there as no way I was going back on."
After playing the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden, Oasis, the Verve and Primal Scream get drunk at the hotel bar and cause a fracas. Liam documents the incident to Mojo: "I was walking along and this chair come flying past me, then another, then another. I thought, 'It's gonna be good tonight.' Primal Scream took off because we were getting a bit rowdy. They booked out about two in the morning after we'd smashed the place up — ripped the phones out and threw 'em out the window. We got arrested and banned from Sweden, and Primal Scream got off, the cunts." The bands cause £1,000 in damage to the hotel bar. The Swedish press puts them on the front pages and denounces them as "English Scum."
Noel and Owen Morris finish the final mix of the album, which is released on August 29. Definitely Maybe becomes the fastest selling debut album in UK history, and goes on to sell more than 15 million copies worldwide. The albums success rescues Creation Records, which is £2 million in debt.
During a European tour, Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando becomes obsessed with Oasis and begins following them around wherever they go, making impromptu guest appearances and assisting with their equipment. He and Noel write a song called "Purple Parallelogram," named after a drug Dando had on him one night. He tells the i, "I'd been saying this phrase, which actually denotes a certain substance. It was prescribed to me, a legal drug, Eurythnol, 'cause I'd had trouble sleeping and we'd been out in Amsterdam trying to score drugs all night and couldn't find any. Noel got up the next morning singing this song 'Purple Parallelogram,' 'cause that's what I called them, and we finished the song that night at the table at some hotel." Two years later Noel blocks Dando from releasing the song on the next Lemonheads album.
During a gig at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in L.A., Liam changes the lyrics of "Live Forever" to "Maybe I don't really wanna know / Why you pick your nose" and allegedly hits Noel over the head with his tambourine. The two brothers have a dust-up and Noel runs off to San Francisco with $8,000 of tour money. He later writes "Talk Tonight" after a girl who let him stay the night and talked him down from the ledge. Creation marketing executive Tim Abbot tracks Noel down in Las Vegas and convinces him to join the band in Texas.
Oasis release their fourth single "Cigarettes & Alcohol" and it charts at #7. Liam walks off stage at the Glasgow Barrowlands after some problems with his throat; Noel finishes the set on lead vocals. Noel meets Meg Matthews. Oasis close out the year by releasing a brand new single, "Whatever," which just misses out on becoming the lucrative Christmas number one, charting instead at #3.
Oasis win Best Newcomer at the BRIT Awards and the press begin focusing on an Oasis-Blur rivalry, despite the two bands showing respect for one another. In the NME, Noel and Blur frontman Damon Albarn appear with arms around each other, while Blur guitarist Graham Coxon kisses a befuddled-looking Liam. Noel plays acoustic guitar on a track from his hero Paul Weller's Stanley Road. On April 24, Oasis release a new single called "Some Might Say," which becomes their first #1 single. Noel recorded a demo for the song in the studio while Owen Morris was producing the Verve's A Northern Soul; he used the Verve's equipment and played all of the instruments himself. Liam performs handclaps on the Verve single "History."
The band throw a party at London's Mars Bar to celebrate a number one single. Liam confronts guest Damon Albarn and almost single-handedly starts the Battle of Britpop. Albarn later tells NME, "I went to their celebration party, y'know, just to say 'Well done.' And Liam came over and, like he is, he goes, 'Number fookin' One!' right in my face. So I thought, 'OK we'll see…'"
Liam and Tony McCarroll get into a fight in a Paris bar. McCarroll is sacked by Marcus Russell over the phone. Noel explains that McCarroll was let go because "he wouldn't have been able to drum the new songs," although it's reported that Noel has been trying to oust him for two years at this point. McCarroll is replaced by Alan White, whose brother Steve drums for Paul Weller. MTV asks Noel about the change in drummers, to which he replies, "Drummers are really smelly, useless, horrible, talentless losers, man. I mean, fancy having a job where you bang things all day. Orangutans do that, don't they? And gorillas and monkeys, they just bang things, like dustbins on their head. That's what they do, isn't it? And drummers do it and get paid loads of money for it. Sack 'em all. Drum machines, I say."
Oasis begin recording their next album at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, again with Owen Morris. According to the producer, it was made in 15 days. The Gallagher brothers quarrel in the studio over a song called "Wonderwall." Noel tells Mojo, "When we were first playing 'Wonderwall,' Liam said he thought it was shit. We were doing the backing track, and Liam goes, 'I'm not singing on that. It's fuckin' stupid, man. It's fuckin' reggae music.' I said, 'Why don't you go off to the chippy then, and we'll see you in a bit?' Now that he's sang on it, of course, it's the greatest song ever written."
While recording "Don't Look Back in Anger," Liam heads to the pub and drinks with the band Cable. He invites them back to the studio and tries to smash Noel's guitars. Liam and Bonehead throw punches at one another, and Noel hits Liam repeatedly with a cricket bat. Noel leaves the studio with White and says he's quitting the band to go solo. Noel gets Matthews a job at Creation as the label's artist liaison.
A couple of weeks later, the band return to the studio to finish the album. In June, Noel tells the NME that Oasis will probably only make one more album. The UK press begins to flaunt the Britpop movement and the BBC airs Britpop Now, a program hosted by Albarn and excluding Oasis, who have distanced themselves from the London-centric scene.
Oasis announce their next single, "Roll With It," will be released on August 14. Blur move up the release of their single, "Country House," to the same date, inciting "The Battle of Britpop." The media begin to fixate on the showdown, with the NME hyping it up as the "British Heavyweight Championship." Blur win the battle, outselling Oasis 274,000 to 216,000, but not without controversy. A barcode error on the Oasis single was discovered after it went to shops, which prevented all sales from be accounted for. Oasis also had their single priced higher, while Blur had two different versions at a cheaper price. Liam tells the NME, "I cared, 'cause I want Number Ones. I think 'Roll With It' is a great song. I met that Alex in the pub, so I bombed over and said, 'Congratulations on Number One — it's about fucking time, mate' and he goes, 'Oh yeah. But both our songs were shit anyway.' And I went, 'No, this is where you're wrong. And this is why I fuckin' hate your band, and you. I thought our song was top.' And then I went, 'Do you want a line?' and I gave him one and it was cool. But I still think they're shit."
In an interview with The Observer, Noel utters the words, "I hate that Alex and Damon. I hope they catch AIDS and die." The press has a field day with the comment. He later retracts it and adds, "As soon as I had said it I realized that it was an insensitive thing to say, as AIDS is no joking matter, and immediately retracted the comment. Although not being a fan of their music, I wish both Damon and Alex a long and healthy life."
Blur win the battle of the singles, but Oasis trounce their opponent when it comes to album sales. (What's The Story) Morning Glory? is released on October 2; the album isn't received as strongly by critics than Definitely Maybe was. Melody Maker's David Stubbs complains that the album sounds "laboured and lazy. On this evidence, Oasis are a limited band... they sound knackered." Noel later criticizes the album himself, telling Behind The Music, "I like 'Some Might Say' and I like 'Don't Look Back In Anger.' I like 'Wonderwall' and 'Champagne Supernova.' But when I listen back to the album as a whole, I can't fucking stand it, to be honest with you."
It doesn't matter, however. The album sells 342,000 copies in its first week, breaking the UK sales record. It will spend the next ten weeks at #1 on the UK albums chart and go on to sell over 22 million copies worldwide. The album was a huge commercial success, but it was also kick-starting a momentous social change in Britain. All of a sudden Oasis became the face of a newly established lad culture that began to influence everything: music, fashion and attitude. Bands like Hurricane #1, Northern Uproar and Embrace are all accused of ripping off the Oasis sound. Best of all though is No Way Sis, a cheeky, self-proclaimed tribute band that score a Top 40 hit with their cover of "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing" — the song Oasis were accused of ripping off for "Shakermaker." Noel calls them the "second best band in the world" and gives his doppelganger in the band a replica of his golden Les Paul guitar.
Guigsy leaves the band citing nervous exhaustion and the band recruit Scott McLeod of the Ya Ya's on bass for their U.S. tour. McLeod doesn't last long, and flies home to England from Pittsburgh without telling the band. A couple of weeks later, he phones Noel expressing that he made the wrong decision, to which Noel says, "I think you have too. Good luck signing on." Guigsy is coaxed into coming back to finish the tour.
In October, "Wonderwall" is released as a single and it debuts at #2. The song will become a huge, international crossover hit for the band and spawn covers by Ryan Adams, Jay Z and the Mike Flowers Pops, a British act that records a lounge version of the song to great commercial success.
"Don't Look Back In Anger" is released and goes in at #1 on the UK Singles chart. At the BRIT Awards, a very antagonistic Oasis win for British Album, Best British Video and Best British Group. When INXS frontman and Oasis fan Michael Hutchence presents them with Best British Video, Noel accepts and says, "Has-beens shouldn't be presenting awards to gonna-bes." When they accept for Best British Group, Liam taunts fellow nominee Blur by singing a version of their song "Parklife" he calls "Shitelife." The Sunday Times gets the quote that the world has been waiting for Oasis to give. "It's really important to be bigger than the Beatles," says Noel. "I think we're better than the Beatles. And we've only done two albums. It was different when they were around. We'd just come out of the war, and a bunch of Scousers could make us happy again. I reckon we've pissed all over the Beatles. 'Masterplan' — as good as anything; 'Roll With It' — as good as 'Paperback Writer,' 'Hard Day's Night.' We wrote half the third album in 1991 and it betters the Beatles. They ain't the best band in the world — we are." At the press conference, Noel admits that the awards mean nothing to him.
In an interview with CMJ, Noel pushes the Blur feud further, saying, "The thing that gets me is, people will say that [Blur's] the Beatles and we're the Stones. The fact of the matter is, we're the Beatles and the Stones, and they're the fucking Monkees."
Oasis play two outdoor shows at the Maine Road football stadium where their beloved Manchester City FC play. Noel reveals his soon-to-be iconic, custom-made Epiphone Sheraton, painted with the Union Jack. The concerts are recorded and later released as the ...There and Then film.
Noel refuses to accept a prestigious Ivor Novello award for Best Songwriter of the Year because Damon Albarn is the co-winner. His spokesperson issues a statement saying, "This is obviously a cheap attempt to gain attention for the Ivor Novellos by reviving this hackneyed media-invented conflict. We invite Damon to join us in deploring this cheap, sensationalist act." Noel later auctions off the award to raise money for children with cancer.
Noel and his fiancé Meg go to the Caribbean island of Mustique on vacation with Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, where he begins writing the third Oasis album. He later shares his regrets to Spin: "I regret going … and trying to write Be Here Now. I was doing it for the wrong reasons. And that's how you get a situation where, at the beginning of 'D'You Know What I Mean?,' there's no music for the first minute. It's the sound of an airplane landing, which we recorded on the airstrip outside the house I was renting. And, of course, we thought it was the most amaaaazing thing we'd ever recorded."
While on tour in Dublin, the Gallagher brothers are confronted by their father, who is being paid by tabloid News of the World to force a reunion. Noel walks away, later telling Behind The Music, "As far as I'm concerned, I haven't got a father. He's not a father figure to me, y'know? I don't respect him in any way whatsoever." However, Liam confronts Thomas Gallagher and threatens him with violence. The tabloid runs a story titled "I Thought Liam Would Kill Me… Oasis dad reveals his night of torment."
Oasis play Balloch Castle Country Park at Loch Lomond in Scotland. More than 80,000 fans attend, making it the biggest concert of the decade for Scotland. One week later, Oasis perform their legendary concerts at Knebworth House. More than 2.6 million people apply for tickets, and it becomes the largest demand for any concert in UK history. The band play to 250,000 people over two nights with support from the Charlatans, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers, the Bootleg Beatles, the Chemical Brothers, Ocean Colour Scene and the Prodigy. After the event, Noel tells Mojo, "Yeah, we are now bigger than the Beatles. They had better songs than us. But we are the biggest band in Britain, of all time, ever."
Oasis are scheduled to film a MTV Unplugged show in London, but Liam pulls out at the last moment due to a sore throat. Noel sings all of the songs in front of the audience, which includes Liam and his fiancé, actress Patsy Kensit. Instead of joining them, Liam decides to care for his throat by sitting in the auditorium balcony smoking, drinking beer and heckling his band relentlessly. One week later, Liam walks out of Heathrow Airport just as Oasis are to depart for their U.S. tour. He reportedly tells The Sun, "I am Oasis. I started the fucking band. I'm mad for it, but I have to move house. I can't go looking for a house in America while I'm trying to perform to silly fucking Yanks." The rest of the band decide to go without him, but he eventually shows up for some dates.
They perform "Champagne Supernova" at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards, but during the song, Liam makes rude gestures at Noel during his guitar solo, and then spits beer all over the stage before walking off while the band are still playing. Days later, Liam and Noel reportedly get into a fistfight and cancel the remaining five dates of the U.S. tour. Noel tells the press, "I don't give a fuck about America as long as they buy the fucking records."
The Chemical Brothers release their breakthrough single, "Setting Sun," featuring Noel on vocals; it reaches #1 on the UK singles chart.
Oasis begin to record their third album at Abbey Road Studios in London on October 7. The first week is described by producer Owen Morris as "fucking awful," but the band continue to work.
In November, The Sun reports that a fan accused Liam of biting her on the nose at an Ocean Colour Scene concert in London. "He lunged at me with this huge open mouth, screamed 'Aaaarghhh' and bet me on the nose and lip," she explains. "It made my eyes water. He must have been drinking — or something." After investigating, police decide there isn't enough evidence to pursue the case. An Oasis spokesperson says, "It's complete and utter rubbish. He's a human being, not a vampire."
Oasis attend the Q Awards where they win Best Act in the World Today. Afterwards, Liam is arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession but released with a caution. The band relocate to Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey. Originally it is reported that the move is because of the pestering paparazzi, but a year later, Noel tells the San Francisco Chronicle that it was actually because of noise complaints: "The reason we left halfway through recording there was there was a fellow next door, and he knocked on the door and asked us could we turn it down? It was a bit loud for him, because he was mixing some fucking classical band next door. By the time we stopped laughing, he'd left the room. It was the first time I've been in a recording studio where someone told us to turn it down."
At the new studio, everyone begins to indulge in heavy drug use. Alan McGee later tells author John Harris, "I used to go down to the studio and there was so much cocaine getting done at that point… Owen was out of control, and he was the one in charge of it. The music was just fucking loud."
Noel marries Meg Matthews, and Liam follows two months later, marrying Patsy Kensit. Noel causes a big stir in the UK press when he defends pop star Brian Harvey of East 17, who condoned using ecstasy in an interview. Noel tells BBC Radio 1, "As soon as people realize that the majority of people in this country take drugs, then the better off we'll all be. It's not like a scandalous sensation or anything like that... drugs is like getting up and having a cup of tea in the morning."
Liam contributes vocals to a song called "Love Me and Leave Me" by the Seahorses, John Squire's post-Stone Roses band.
While in Los Angeles, Liam and singer Lisa Moorish have a brief affair, only months after he marries Kensit.
Leading up to the release of the new album, the band's label Creation Records and management Ignition become paranoid over the album leaking. After sending Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq a three-song sampler, Ignition insist that he speaks over top of the songs he plays. One day later, they revoke his right to play them after accusing him of not talking enough over the songs when he played them.
Creation, meanwhile, check the phones of all employees out of fear that The Sun had tapped them. The label sends out promotional cassette copies of the album with a contract clause stating that journalists are not allowed to discuss the album with anyone.
In July, Noel attends an official reception to welcome the newly elected British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The two are immortalized sipping champagne in a photograph. Fans, the media and peers criticize Noel for turning his back on the working class by schmoozing with politicians. He later tells NewStatesman, "When Tony Blair spoke, his words seemed to speak to people, young people. Call me naive but I felt something — I'm not quite sure what it was, but I felt it all the same. I do regret that picture at No. 10 that night, though . . . I can still smell the cheese!"
Liam is cautioned by the police for criminal damage after he allegedly grabs a cyclist's shirt and drags him alongside the car that he is riding in.
The band release "D'You Know What I Mean?" the first single from the new album, and it goes in at #1 on the UK singles chart. In an interview with the NME, Noel is asked, "Do you think Oasis are more important to the youth of today than God?" Noel replies, "Now that is a loaded question. I would have to say, without a shadow of a doubt, that is true. Yeah. Football is more important to me than religion. Some of the pop stars I like are more important to me than God, so yeah. I would hope we mean more to people than putting money in a church basket and saying ten Hail Marys every Sunday. Has God played Knebworth recently?" The next day, the Daily Mirror prints the headline: "Oasis: We Are Bigger Than God."
Alan McGee publicly predicts that the new Oasis album will sell 20 million copies, which pisses off the band, who think he is overhyping it, despite careful plans made by Creation's marketing department not to hype it too much. Be Here Now is released on August 21 and sells 424,000 copies in the UK in its first day, the fastest-selling album in UK chart history. The album's release is treated like a historic event by Creation: the date is printed inside the sleeve of the album and some customers who bought it on release date are given a special receipt that acknowledges the day.
Early reviews by the UK press are positive, but over time Be Here Now is remembered for being the self-indulgent, over-ambitious, bloated and drug-fuelled effort that killed off Britpop. Noel himself goes on to repeatedly pan the album over time. In the 2003 documentary, Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop, he blames the mountainous supply of cocaine the band had at their disposal. "It's the sound of ... a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck," he says. "There's no bass to it at all; I don't know what happened to that. And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there's a fuckin' guitar riff in there in a Wayne's World stylie."
Noel later tells the NME that the only way to listen to the album is "accompanied with a crate of beer and a bag of fucking charlie, and don't be making any plans for the next couple of days. That's the spirit in which it was intended. And if you listen to it in that spirit, it might be the greatest album of all time." Liam, however, defends Be Here Now, telling the NME, "If he didn't like the record that much, he shouldn't have put the fucking record out in the first place. I don't know what's up with him but it's a top record, man, and I'm proud of it — it's just a little bit long."
The album's cover photo — which features the band outside an 18th Century mansion and a Rolls Royce inside a swimming pool — itself costs the band approximately £75,000 to produce. "You can't just turn up at a hotel and put a Rolls Royce in a swimming pool for nothing," record sleeve designer Brian Cannon tells The Big Issue. "The mad thing about that sleeve is it looks Photoshopped, because the Rolls Royce looks too small. In actual fact, that Rolls Royce really is in that pool — it took us two days to put it in."
In an interview with the Associate Press, former Beatle George Harrison is asked what he thinks about the new Oasis album. He answers that it's "not very interesting" and the band could do without Liam, who he describes as "the silly one." Liam responds, telling MTV, "I still love George Harrison as a songwriter in the Beatles, but as a person I think he's a fucking nipple. And if I ever meet him I'll fucking tell him."
Ten days after the release of Be Here Now, Princess Diana is killed in a car accident. Oasis are reportedly asked to contribute a song to the Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute album and the band turn it down. When later asked by the San Francisco Chronicle if he's listened to it, Noel responds, "Well, I would imagine it's appalling. I do believe that somebody phoned our management to ask if Oasis would play on the record. By the time we stopped laughing, the phone had gone dead."
Liam contributes backing vocals to the Verve's "Come On," from their album Urban Hymns. He also sings back up and plays tambourine on Echo & the Bunnymen's single, "Nothing Lasts Forever."
During a gig in Glasgow, the band walk offstage after Bonehead is hit by a bottle. Liam tells reporters, "I don't care if they're supposed to be hard in Glasgow. No [expletive] throws a bottle at me and gets away with it. We're superstars, so nobody gets to do that to Oasis now."
Liam is kicked out of a pub in the Glasgow Airport by police after he begins ripping pages out of a book and throws it over a balcony to the concourse below. While in Cardiff to perform with Oasis, Liam interrupts the launch of shamed rocker Gary Glitter's Christmas tour. Liam gets into a heated argument with journalists covering the event, yells at Glitter fans ("I wouldn't go to his show — you want to see him after all that's been in the papers!") and pours several drinks over the head of a TV reporter.
1998 to 1999
Noel plays guitar on Goldie's "Temper Temper," from the jungle legend's Saturnz Return album.
On a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Australia, a drunken Liam begins verbally abusing and throwing warm scones at passengers. Liam tells the press in Perth, "Some pilot told me to shut up. Some pilot who needs stabbing through the head with a fucking pickaxe. If someone tells me to shut up then I'm not going to like that, am I?" The airline responds by banning him for life.
In Sydney, Liam is accused of following a woman from her hotel and making sexual advances towards her and stuffing a used tissue down the front of her shirt. Liam gets into more trouble on the tour, when he headbutts a 21-year-old fan in Brisbane who is taking photos of Oasis outside of their hotel. He eventually settles with the fan for $100,000.
Noel is interviewed on Australian television and asked about the late Diana, Princess of Wales, to which he answers, "So she died in a car crash. Big deal. Half the people [at the funeral] probably wouldn't visit their grandmothers' graves, and they go throwing flowers at the coffin of a bird they'd never met because she'd done some work for charity. What was she supposed to do? Sit around all day and eat cream cakes? We're paying for her kids to go to school. Lazy cow, ha! No, I'm sure she was probably a nice woman."
Liam becomes a father for the first time when Lisa Moorish gives birth to their daughter Molly. Initially Moorish names Elastica drummer Justin Welch as the father. While watching the World Cup in June, Noel suffers a panic attack, which have now become a regular thing for him. He calls a doctor, who checks him out and doles out some advice: give up drugs. He follows the doctor's orders and later tells Behind the Music, "I just went to bed… stayed in bed for a couple of days. I was actually surprised at how easy it was. It was no big deal for me. I just stopped doing it and that was the end of that."
In 2009, he tells Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera that up until 1998 he imagines he must have spent £1 million on drugs. Noel issues an ultimatum to Liam, demanding that he too stays sober, and eventually the singer agrees.
Noel contributes a song called "Teotihuacan" to the soundtrack to The X-Files film. Oasis release a compilation of B-sides called The Masterplan on November 3. Although it's not a brand new studio album, it showcases just how much care Oasis put into their B-sides, following the lead of bands like the Smiths and the Jam. He later tells Mr. Hyde, "From '93 to '96 every song I wrote was a classic — I thought it'd last forever. If The Masterplan, the B-sides album, had come out instead of Be Here Now, we may have won the Nobel Peace Prize. I don't think there'd be war in the Middle East, I don't think there'd be radical Muslims. I think we'd have saved the world, the songs were that good."
Liam is arrested outside of a London pub after damaging a photographer's camera.
In April 1999, Oasis begin recording their fourth studio album at Château de la Colle Noire in Montauroux, France with Mark "Spike" Stent producing. Noel explains the choice to The Guardian: "If there's one person who can embellish a rock'n'roll sounding band, then Spike's the man, because he's worked with U2, Madonna, Massive Attack and Bjork, and he has one foot in the rock'n'roll camp and one in contemporary, electronic music. He'd always liked the band, but he thought that the records sounded crap, which was his opening line to us."
In August, Bonehead leaves the band, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Noel shares his thoughts with the NME: "It's hardly Paul McCartney leaving the Beatles." Just weeks later, Guigsy also leaves the band. In a statement released via Creation he says that he has "finished his work on the new album and feels now is an opportune time to leave before the band undertakes touring and promotional activities later on this year."
The remaining members of Oasis hold a press conference in London to address the two departures and assure fans "that the future of Oasis is secure. The story and the glory will go on." Adds Noel, "We were a bit shocked at first, but we just have to get on with it. We've got to keep going because I, for one, don't have any money left."
A few years later, he once again comments on the two founding members quitting to Behind The Music, asking, "Who the fuck leaves the band the size of Oasis when they don't have to?" The band continue working on the album as a trio, and Noel has to re-record the tracks that Guigsy and Bonehead laid down.
Heavy Stereo vocalist/guitarist Colin "Gem" Archer hears the news of Bonehead leaving and is worried that Oasis might now split up. Unbeknownst to him, Noel is looking to recruit him to fill the rhythm guitarist position in Oasis. Archer leaves Heavy Stereo to join Oasis. Because he doesn't play on the album and isn't an official member, at first he is only paid a standard session musician wage of £85 per gig.
Oasis try out David Potts, former singer of Monaco, as a potential bassist, but after auditioning he decides he'd rather front his own band. Instead they bring in Andy Bell, former guitarist for Ride and Hurricane #1, who is just beginning to play with rising indie band Gay Dad. Bell has never played the bass before, but he receives encouraging words from Liam: "If he can play the guitar, he can play the fookin' bass."
Noel once again collaborates with the Chemical Brothers, singing on a single from their Surrender album called "Let Forever Be."
Liam and Patsy Kensit welcome son Lennon on September 13.
On November 25, 1999, Alan McGee announces that he and Joe Foster are shutting down Creation Records.
Former drummer Tony McCarroll sues Oasis for £18 million, but accepts a £600,000 settlement.
2000 to 2001
Noel and Meg Matthews welcome daughter Anaïs.
The Gallaghers start off the new millennium by launching their own label, Big Brother Recordings Ltd. The name is a reference to Noel being Liam's elder sibling, and each release is given a catalogue number beginning with "RKID" — a term of endearment Northerners use for brothers.
The first release is "Go Let It Out," the first single from the fourth Oasis album. On the Stop The Clocks DVD, Noel describes the single as "the closest we came to sounding like a modern day Beatles." Three weeks later, on February 28, Oasis release Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, which includes "Little James," the first Oasis song written by Liam instead of Noel. It debuts at #1 in the UK and sells over 300,000 copies in its first week, but the overall sales are a small fraction of what their first three albums sold. The band describe it as a "grower," and it gets mixed reviews in the press.
Over the years, both Gallaghers defend the album, but in 2011, Noel tells Chuck Klosterman, "We should have never made Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. I'd come to the end. At the time, I had no reason or desire to make music. I had no drive. We'd sold all these fucking records and there just seemed to be no point. Liam, to his credit, was the one who was like, 'We're going to make a record, we're going into the studio next month, and you better have some fucking songs written.' We should have gone to wherever it is the Rolling Stones disappear to, wherever the fuck that is. Rent a boat and sail around the Bahamas or whatever. But I went ahead and did it, even though I had no inspiration and couldn't find inspiration anywhere.4I just wrote songs for the sake of making an album. We needed a reason to go on a tour. But at the time, I wasn't thinking like that."
In May, the band are forced to cancel a show in Barcelona because drummer White is suffering from tendonitis. The remaining band members decide to go out drinking and after a few, Liam begins to question the legitimacy of Noel's daughter Anais. Noel jumps on Liam and starts punching him, splitting his lip. Noel then leaves the tour and he is replaced by Matt Deighton. Noel re-joins the band for the UK tour.
Within one month, both Noel and Liam end their marriages to Meg Matthews and Patsy Kensit, respectively.
Meg Matthews takes Noel to court for a settlement, which he discusses with the Daily Telegraph. "I just walked straight past Meg when I saw her in court. That woman has taken me to court and I abhor it. It is all so unnecessary. But if somebody wants their pound of flesh that badly, there is nothing you can do to stop it. If it means that much to her that she is going to drag me through the courts and have our lives splashed all over the newspapers again because she can't keep her mouth shut, then fine. Fuck it."
Noel plays drums on the debut album by Tailgunner, a band formed by Oasis producer/collaborator Mark Coyle.
Oasis release their first live album, Familiar to Millions, on November 13, 2000.
Noel launches his own record label, Sour Mash, which will release albums by Liverpool greats Shack, newcomers Proud Mary (produced by Noel), and eventually, his solo work.
The band embark on the Tour of Brotherly Love across North America with fellow sibling-led bands the Black Crowes and Spacehog.
Nicole Appleton gives birth to a baby boy named Gene. To celebrate his son's birth, Liam has a pint of Guinness at the pub across the street. When a photographer takes his photo, Liam allegedly punches him in the face.
Oasis head into Wheeler End Studios to begin working on their fifth studio album. Noel tells the NME that Liam is delaying the process. "I was really happy with [the album] until recently, but I'm fucking livid now," he says. "I finished my bits three-and-a-half months ago, and then we handed it over to Liam, and in three-and-a-half months he's done nothing. Just concentrated on his drinking habit again. It's just drifting at the moment. All the backing tracks are done and it's a fantastic album of instrumentals. Hand it over to the singer and it just slows down and becomes this one really long, drawn-out, painful process. So, to be honest with you, I don't know when it'll come out now. It's down to him."
2002 to 2004
In April, Oasis release the first single from their new album, "The Hindu Times," which reaches #1 in the UK singles chart. In May, Oasis perform four songs at Piazza San Giovanni in Rome in front of 500,000 people. Heathen Chemistry is released on July 1 and marks a return to the meat and potatoes, anthemic rock'n'roll of their first two albums. Still, critics aren't rekindling the romance with the band giving it mixed reviews.
It's the first album to feature the playing of Bell and Archer, the last to feature White on drums, and includes contributions by Johnny Marr. Three of the album's songs are written by Liam, including a ballad he wrote for Appleton called "Songbird." As usual, the album debuts at #1 in the UK.
Three members of the band — Noel, Bell and tour keyboardist Jay Darlington — are injured in Indianapolis when their taxi hits another car head-on. Noel suffers heavy facial bruising and seatbelt cuts and Darlington a hand injury, forcing Oasis to cancel some gigs.
Liam contributes vocals to the title track of Death In Vegas's Scorpio Rising.
In December, members of Oasis and the band's entourage are involved in a brawl with five Italians at a club in Munich. White gets an ashtray to the head and Liam has several of his teeth punched out. When the German police detain Liam, he allegedly kicks one of the officers with "full force" in the ribs. Two years later Liam is fined £40,000 for the incident by a German judge.
Noel plays drums, percussion and bass on Paul Weller's new album, Illumination.
Oasis announce they're working with Death In Vegas on their sixth album, but it doesn't work out. Noel tells Billboard, "We drew up a list of songs, booked Sawmills Studio in Cornwall and gave ourselves three weeks. Unfortunately, after the recording process, we decided we didn't like anything we had played/recorded during those three weeks, and because of commitments with Death In Vegas, Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes couldn't find any more time to give to the project."
In January 2004, Alan White leaves Oasis. The band post a message on their website that reads, "Alan White has been asked to leave Oasis by the other band members." Noel blames White's personal life being "fucking chaos" as the reason. Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr and drummer for the Who, is recruited as White's replacement to play gigs and record the next album.
In June 2004, Oasis headline Glastonbury with a greatest hits set. The band are not up to the task though and their performance is panned by both the press and fans. BBC calls it "a lacklustre and uneventful performance."
Noel collaborates with Ian Brown on a song called "Keep What Ya Got," and appears in the music video. He also appears on the debut album by Liverpool band the Stands.
Liam contributes vocals to "Shoot Down" from the Prodigy's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned album.
After a few months of struggling in the studio, Oasis bring in producer Dave Sardy to mix some of the recordings. He eventually takes the band to Capitol Studios in Los Angeles to re-record the album.
2005 to 2007
Noel teases the band's sixth album, telling Radio 1's Jo Whiley, "The finished album is my favourite one of the last four. Because we're all contributing to the songwriting, there's a different feel to it. In fact, the only songs that sound like Oasis are Andy Bell's, funnily enough."
Before the UK's general election, Noel shows support for the Labour party again, telling MTV, "Vote Labour: if you don't and the Tories get in, Phil Collins is threatening to come back from Switzerland, and none of us want that." In another interview Noel adds, "People fucking hate cunts like Phil Collins — and if they don't, they fucking should." In response, Phil Collins tells BBC2's Room 101, "[The Gallaghers are] rude and not as talented as they think they are. I won't mince words here but they've had a go at me personally."
They release the album's first single, "Lyla," on May 16 and it goes straight in at #1 on the UK singles chart. Don't Believe The Truth is released on May 30, four weeks after iTunes accidentally leaks it by selling it early in Germany. This is the first album to feature every member of the band contributing songs, as well as the first to feature Starkey on drums. It reaches #1 in the UK and receives better reviews than the previous couple of albums.
Showing some solidarity for once, Oasis play headlining 113 gigs in 26 countries — the most since 1994. The tour is filmed by director Dick Carruthers and released as Lord Don't Slow Me Down in 2007.
In a December 2005 interview with MTV, Noel takes a shot at Jack White for some reason. "Jack White has just done a song for Coca-Cola. End of," he says. "He ceases to be in the club. And he looks like Zorro on doughnuts. He's supposed to be the poster boy for the alternative way of thinking.... I'm not having that, that's fucking wrong. Particularly Coca-Cola, it's like doing a fucking gig for McDonald's."
Noel also attacks Coldplay's Chris Martin, telling NME, "[He] looks like a geography teacher. What's all that with writing messages about Free Trade? If he wants to write things down, I'll give him a pen and a pad of paper. Bunch of students."
Speaking to News.com.au, Noel mentions an upcoming greatest hits album Sony is planning to release. "We've come to the end of our contract with Sony," he says. "We won't sign with them again. I'm worried they'll cash in and release a best-of. I've always said we'd never do one until we'd split. I think they're going to force our hand. I really wouldn't want to do one, but if they put one out we'll have to get involved otherwise it'll be shit. I hope we don't do one. It's all a scam. You should put one out only when you're finished — in chronological order. But I have a feeling they'll do the dirty on us."
Oasis release a career-spanning compilation called Stop the Clocks on November 20, 2006. The band reassure fans that they are not breaking up, and that the purpose of the album is for "future fans" to discover music the way he discovered the Beatles through their compilations. More than half of the songs are lifted from their first two albums. It becomes the band's best-selling album since Be Here Now.
Talking about that album, Noel tells Exclaim!, "You can't be sentimental about these things. It was just like, 'If it's that good, then why haven't we played it for fookin' six years? Subconsciously, in the back of all our minds, we've dismissed [Be Here Now]. Anyway, who's gonna argue that my best work was done over the first two records, and it's only recently come back to work over the last two records? The middle two, well, not much inspiration going on there not that anybody out there shouldn't go out and buy them!"
Noel and Archer play a series of semi-acoustic gigs in select cities across the world to promote Stop the Clocks.
In January 2007, Noel tells the NME about plans for the band's next record. "All the tunes I've written recently have been on the kind of acoustic side, you know? But for the next record I really fancy doing a record where we just completely throw the kitchen sink at it. We haven't done that since Be Here Now. I'd like to get, like, a 100-piece orchestra and choirs and all that stuff. I think since Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, we've been trying to prove a point of just bass, drums, guitar and vocals and nothing fancy. But I kind of like fancy! I'd like to make an absolutely fucking colossal album. You know? Like literally two orchestras, stuff like that."
In February, Liam is filmed by ITV taking a swing at a photographer while he is out walking with wife Nicole and son Gene.
Oasis receive "Outstanding Contribution to Music" honours at the BRIT Awards. Liam collects the award and says, "Seeing as we don't get nominated for this shit any more I supposed this will have to do!"
The band head into Abbey Road Studios with Dave Sardy to begin working on a new album in August. When they arrive they learn that U2 have already reserved the studio for their next album. However, Noel tells Music Radar, that all they needed was some cash to take the spot. "U2 were booked in there with [producer] Rick Rubin," Noel says. "I was like, 'U2? U2 have to have a fucking six-hour meeting [to decide] whether to get tea or coffee in the rehearsal room! They are not coming in here any time in the next five years.' The guy from Abbey Road was like, 'I've got it block-booked for the exact time you want it. We actually went down to Abbey Road with a bag of money and said, 'We can pay for the studio now.'"
In September, Noel and girlfriend Sara MacDonald welcome their first child together, Donovan Rory.
Noel reportedly puts his Ibiza home on the market to escape his newest neighbour, sad-sack singer-songwriter James Blunt. An anonymous source reveals to The Sun that "Noel has been going to Ibiza every summer for years. But he's fed up of hearing James Blunt bang on about Ibiza like he owns the place. It's taken the charm out of it for him so he's put his villa up for sale. It's close to Blunt's place, and [Gallagher] says he can't stand the thought of Blunt writing crap tunes up the road."
Q holds a readers poll asking what the Best British albums of all time are. Oasis come in at #1 and #2 with Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, respectively; Don't Believe the Truth is at #14 and the much-derided Be Here Now reaches #22.
Phil Collins announces his retirement from music, and once again responds to Noel's comments from 2005, saying, "I don't care if he likes my music or not. I do care if he starts telling people I'm a wanker because of my politics."
Noel plays bass, piano, mellotron and Wurlitzer on 22 Dreams, the new Paul Weller album.
Jay Z is announced as a headliner for Glastonbury, and Noel publicly disagrees with the decision, telling BBC News, "Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curveball in on a Sunday night you go 'Kylie Minogue?' I don't know about it. But I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong. If it ain't broke don't fix it. If you start to break it, then people aren't going to go. I'm sorry, but Jay Z? No chance."
Before the festival, Jay Z tells Radio 1, "If Noel Gallagher saw me perform… he wouldn't say that." During his set he straps on a guitar and mockingly begins playing Oasis' hit "Wonderwall." Two months later during a gig at Madison Square Garden, Jay Z refreshes the beef again, rapping, "That bloke from Oasis said I couldn't play guitar. Somebody should have told him I'm a fuckin' rock star." Noel tries to quash the feud by telling the NME, "I wasn't saying I was better than Jay Z as a person or rock was greater than hip-hop. I said what I said, and it was wrong, or it was taken wrong."
In September during a performance at the V Festival in Toronto, Noel is pushed from behind by a stage invader and falls hard on his monitor. The attacker then lunges for Liam but he is tackled by security. Noel suffers three broken ribs but finishes the gig before being taken to hospital. Footage of the attack goes viral online and Oasis are forced to cancel a number of concerts.
Liam tells Sky News, "It's not nice when you look down and see your brother on the deck. If it was up to me, I'd have cut his [the attacker's] dick off and made him eat it." The attacker, Daniel Sullivan, later pleads guilty to assault causing bodily harm and admits he was drunk at the time. Sullivan is eventually receives a conditional sentence of 12-months to be served in the community, not in custody. During the sentencing, the court is read a statement prepared by Noel that reads, "I would describe the impact and shock as feeling as if I had been hit by a bus. I ended up in a heap. I have been told that I will never really recover from the damage, and still feel painful twinges. The emotional impact it had was essentially coping with the pressure to perform so as not to let the band down. For a considerable period I was operating at 50 percent of my capabilities."
Liam reveals to the NME that he's been banned from the prestigious London hangout the Groucho Club, after attacking former footballer Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne, who approached him while he was eating soup and asked, "Do you want a roll with it?" Liam didn't like the reference, so "I squirted him with a fire extinguisher. I got banned and I won't be back."
The band release "The Shock of Lightning" on September 22 as the lead single from the band's seventh album. It reaches #3 on the UK singles chart, making it the first lead single of theirs not to reach #1 since "Supersonic." Dig Out Your Soul is released on October 6, 2008. The album is promoted with a worldwide guerrilla marketing campaign that includes billboards, spray-painted sidewalks, a songbook included in the NME, and sheet music handed out to buskers. Once again though, critics give the album a mixed reaction, but it debuts at #1 in the UK and spends 30 weeks on the French album chart.
Zak Starkey leaves the band and re-joins the Who; he is replaced by Chris Sharrock, who's drummed for the La's, World Party and Robbie Williams. During their first gig with Sharrock in Seattle, Noel jokes that the band are "trying to break Spinal Tap's record" for most drummers in a band.
Talking about the album to Spin, Noel throws shade at Radiohead: "Making records should be fun. I remember seeing Radiohead on the cover of a magazine in the UK when In Rainbows came out, and it said, 'Radiohead: The Pain.' And I thought, 'Won't you fucking give it a rest, you bunch of moaning children?' The pain? Of making an album? I don't buy it. If you're not having a laugh, then don't do it."
2009 to 2010
Oasis are scheduled to play their first-ever shows in China, but they're cancelled by the Chinese Culture Ministry, after it discovers Noel had played a Free Tibet benefit concert back in 1997.
In June, Oasis perform three nights at Heaton Park in Manchester. On the first night the generator fails, and after coming back on stage for a third time, the band announce it is now a free concert. Of the 70,000 concertgoers, 20,000 claim the refund.
Liam launches his own line of "classic clothing with a modern twist" under the name of Pretty Green, as a tribute to the Jam. He explains the label in a promotional video: "I'm just doing it because there's a lack of…the stuff I want. You can't really get it. I'm not gonna be putting anything out unless I'd wear it. I'm not into the skinny look. These skinny things. That's what I'm here for, to fucking get rid of that shit. You know them shoes that just come at you like a fucking snooker cue?! It's like, leave it out man! You got a license for them bastards or what?!"
In August, Oasis are forced to cancel their V Festival performance in Chelmsford after Liam suffers a reported bout of laryngitis, but Noel later reveals it was a hangover. The following week in Paris, the brothers get into a fight backstage before their performance at the Rock en Seine festival. Liam reportedly tries to take Noel's head off by swinging a guitar at him, then throws a plum at Noel. That night Noel posts a message on the band's website that he is done with Oasis: "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer." He further elaborates that "The details are not important and of too great a number to list. But I feel you have the right to know that the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable. And the lack of support and understanding from my management and band mates has left me with no other option than to get me cape and seek pastures new."
Liam later shares his side of the story to Radio 1's Edith Bowman in 2011, admitting Noel wasn't honest about the band's break up. "In my opinion, he's a control freak," Liam says. "He's making up lies to get brownie points... I got diagnosed with laryngitis for the V festival. I wasn't hungover. I do gigs when I've been hungover. I'm a big boy. I'm not going to cancel a gig because I've got a headache. I'm partly to blame, but I'm not solely to blame. It's breaking my heart. People need to know that it wasn't just me who split the band up, it was Noel too."
In October, Noel announces he is embarking on a solo career, telling the Daily Mirror, "I'm looking forward to doing my own thing, bringing out my own music. I'm glad that's what people want to hear. I am not thinking about much else, Oasis or Liam, I'm just having a good time."
Liam reveals that he's also been writing songs with some of his former band's members, telling MTV, "I'm feeling a million percent confident that they could be better than Oasis." Liam reveals that the band is currently operating under the name Oasis 2.0, but shortly after confirms to XFM that, "No, it's not Oasis, that was a shit name anyway."
In February 2010, Oasis are presented with the honour of Best Album of 30 Years at the BRIT Awards for (What's The Story) Morning Glory?. Liam accepts the award, thanking Bonehead, Guigsy, and White for being "the best band in the fucking world," but refuses to mention Noel. He then throws the microphone and award into the crowd. A stage manager has to plea with fans in order to get the mic back so Kasabian can perform.
Host Peter Kay calls him a "knobhead" on camera, and Liam responds on Twitter, writing, "Listen up fat fuck as a real northerner I was brought up 2 say shit 2 people's faces not behind their back. Live forever LG."
In an interview with Oasis fan site Stop Crying Your Heart Out, Liam explains why he didn't thank his brother: "I'm sick of it all being about me and Noel, the last couple of months has pretty much been all about me and him, so I thought it was only right to mention the other lads who played on the album and the best fans in the world." He also says that he threw the award into the crowd because "I thought it was a nice gesture to give this to the fans, obviously it was misinterpreted as per usual."
In a post-BRITs interview with XFM, because someone must have asked, Liam disses Florence Welch: "I'm sure she's a nice girl, but she sounds like someone's stood on her fucking foot. I'm not having someone with ginger hair making music. I'm not going down that road."
In May 2010, Liam reveals that is new band is called Beady Eye, featuring former Oasis members Andy Bell and Gem Archer on guitar, and Chris Sharrock on drums. They begin work on their debut album at RAK Studios with producer Steve Lillywhite.
In June, Big Brother releases Time Flies… 1994-2009, a compilation of all the band's 27 singles. Speaking to the NME, Noel discusses the collection, saying, "I tried to look at it like a gig — albeit a very fucking long one 'Supersonic' seems like a great opener, and 'Falling Down' seems like a great last song in the set. You could do it chronologically, but then all the real iconic stuff is at the front.' Noel becomes an official ambassador for England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. On October 1, Noel and Sara MacDonald welcome another son, Sonny Patrick.
2011 to 2012
Liam accuses Noel of stealing Oasis songs for his solo album. Speaking to Contact Music, Liam says, "I've heard his fucking new record 'cos I fucking sung on half of it. When I was in America for Dig Out Your Soul he swiped some off, because he obviously knew he wanted to do a solo album. So he can talk all the bullshit about, 'Oh, I was intimidated,' and all that. Fucking nonsense. Behave. He knows. The people know. And I know."
On February 28, Beady Eye released their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding. It receives fairly positive reviews and reaches #3 on the UK album chart. Speaking with Exclaim!, Liam explains the difference between Beady Eye and Oasis. "It's hard when you've been in the same bands, know what I mean?," he says. "You're doing the same thing, but obviously Noel's not there. I'm not singing any differently or trying to get a new style. Obviously Andy's playing guitar now, so that's different. I just think the music, it sounds like a debut record. There's a good vibe to it… I think it is right up there [with Definitely Maybe]. Musically, the songs are just as good. The playing's fookin' better, as far as I'm concerned. The production is better. I'm singing better."
At the NME Awards, Johnny Marr presents Noel with the Godlike Genius Award. In a very earnest moment, Noel thanks his fans: "To all the people up there who bothered to buy a ticket, a CD or a T-shirt — because that's what fucking counts, the merchandise — thank you."
Noel contributes vocals to Miles Kane's debut album, Colour of the Trap.
In an interview with The Quietus, Liam reviews the new Radiohead album, The King of Limbs: "I heard that fucking Radiohead record and I just go, 'What?!' I like to think that what we do, we do fucking well. Them writing a song about a fucking tree? Give me a fucking break! A thousand-year-old tree? Go fuck yourself! You'd have thought he'd have written a song about a modern tree or one that was planted last week. You know what I mean?"
In June, Noel marries long-time girlfriend Sara MacDonald.
During an interview with the Times, Liam disses Bob Dylan for some reason. "I know all about him and that, but he's a bit of a miserable cunt as far as I'm concerned," he says. "I like that tune he did, 'Lay Lady Lay.' People go nuts for him, but he doesn't really do it for me."
Liam then shares his thoughts with ShortList about Mumford & Sons: "I'm sure they're all nice lads, but that's not for me. They look like fucking Amish people. I need music to be a bit more sexy and played by people who look a bit fucking dangerous."
On July 6, Noel holds a press conference to announce his debut solo album, which will be released under the name Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, which pays homage to both Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac. About the album he says, "It's different because there are different musicians on it, and it's all my songs, and I'm singing them, so I didn't have to explain to anybody how [the song] went or what it was about or what the delivery should be. The box of teabags lasted longer too."
He also reveals that he has a second album he plans to release the next year that is a collaboration with psychedelic electronic act Amorphous Androgynous. He describes the collaboration as "fucking far out, man. Some of it's Vaudeville, some of it's actual space jazz, some of it's Krautrock, some of it's soul, some of it's funk… and that's just the first song. It's the furthest out I've ever been, put it that way."
Noel is also asked what he thinks of Beady Eye, to which he responds, "I know most of the songs anyway, because they've been going around for a few years for Oasis albums. I've read a few of the reviews and it got better reviews than any of you fuckers gave to Oasis albums. You can't begin to imagine how annoying that was." After the press conference, Liam tweets "SHITBAG."
The debut album by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds is released on October 17, 2011. It debuts at #1 on the UK album charts and sells almost twice as many copies as the Beady Eye album. It's also received better critically.
Liam threatens Echo & the Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch on Twitter, writing, "Ian McCulloch you wanna watch what your saying about my lyrics or I will come and tattoo them on your forehead ! LG" The press speculate that the threat stems from an interview McCulloch did with the Irish Independent where he called Beady Eye "crap" and said Liam has "never been the greatest frontman in the world."
Beady Eye close out the London 2012 Olympics by performing "Wonderwall." Noel tells XFM that his brother's band had to re-record the song and get his permission before they could play it live, however. "They had to re-record it and then send it to me," he says. "I did play a bit of cat and mouse with them for a few days — I took it until Friday night at 10 o'clock before I said yes and they were shitting it."
In November 2012, Beady Eye begin work on their second album with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. Liam tells Live Magazine, "Even though I love Beady Eye, I'd prefer to still be in Oasis, because that was my thing. Oasis was my life."
2013 to 2014
In February 2013, a couple of teens run into Liam outside of a pub in Brockenhurst, where he teases the new Beady Eye album: "It's rock'n'roll, but it's fired out into space. If you're into drugs you'll like it. it's pretty druggy." Like any teenager would, they post a video of the chat to YouTube.
Paul McCartney is asked by Q about Oasis claiming to be bigger than the Beatles in their day. "I'm actually kind of honoured [when bands copy us] — they could be copying anyone," he says. "Even when things happen like Oasis saying, 'We are the next Beatles.' But I also think, 'Listen, lads, you can't say that. And don't say that, because it's probably the kiss of death! In Oasis's case, I think it was coming from them. In others, it's the record label or management, and that's never a good idea. The poor band, 'Now go and do better than the Beatles did.' Not an easy task.'"
Noel is asked whether he'd get in to heaven with his past and he apparently tells The Sun, "I'd say, 'You've heard "Don't Look Back In Anger?," and they'd say, "Of course." I'd say, "Look it's me, let us in. I can play you a tune. I robbed some stuff, I took a lot of drugs, but I'm all right."'"
On March 23, one of music's biggest hatchets is buried when Noel and Damon Albarn come together to perform at a Teenage Cancer Trust gig. Noel joins Albarn, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller on drums to play a version of Blur's "Tender." A few months later, Blur bassist Alex James tells an Irish radio station that "Ironically, Noel and Damon are like best mates now. They go off and smoke cigars together. I think we realized we we're all on the same side eventually."
In May, Liam suffers an anaphylactic shock after eating a peanut M&M. He is rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a peanut allergy. He tells NME, "That peanut, man, it nearly tipped me over the edge. It was a fucking blue one and all, the cheeky bastard. I had a fucking M&M and it felt like I'd been shot in the mouth."
Previewing the new Beady Eye album, Liam allegedly tells The Sun, "If we're barking up the wrong tree with this record, I don't know if I can be arsed with barking up it again. Maybe I'd just sail off into the distance and enjoy my life, instead of worrying about what some spotty little twat from Hastings thinks about the record."
On June 10, Beady Eye release their second album, BE. Despite leaning towards a more experimental sound, the album doesn't fare much better with critics than its predecessor. Pitchfork writes, "Sitek's pristine production only highlights how half-baked many of these songs are, especially lyrically." The album, however, enters the UK album charts at #2.
About the album's more psychedelic edge, Liam tells The Quietus, "We didn't set out to do it like that. We just went in there with a load of songs we thought were great, regardless of Dave Sitek, and they're a bunch of good second-album songs. It was only until we got Dave and he started doing his mad shit we thought, 'Fucking hell! We're onto something here!' He just took it somewhere else, man! He opened the door and we went through, bowled in, took our shoes off and we fucking stayed for lunch. So maybe next time, we might fucking stay the night and have a sleepover and wake up in the morning in another fucking dimension. That's basically it. We just went with the flow."
Liam is sued for $3 million by Liza Ghorbani, a journalist who claims he fathered her daughter after they had an affair in 2010 while she interviewed him for the New York Times. Liam sues the New York Post for initially reporting the story. Two years later, Liam settles with Ghorbani for a rumoured $5,000-a-month to pay for their daughter Gemma's child support.
Beady Eye are forced to cancel their remaining dates after Archer fractures his skull falling down a staircase in his home. One month later, Archer breaks two bones in his leg in another freak accident at home.
In October, Beady Eye play a tribute concert for late Charlatans drummer Jon Brookes. Former Oasis guitarist Bonehead replaces Archer on guitar and they perform "Live Forever" and "Columbia." Rolling Stone ask Noel if he would be up for an Oasis reunion, to which he responds, "If there is a reunion, I won't be in it."
In February 2014, Big Brother announces that it will begin to reissue the Oasis catalogue, beginning with Definitely Maybe for its 20th anniversary.
In April, Damon Albarn tells NME that he and Noel have discussed making an album together. "I still see Noel from time to time. We text a bit," Albarn says. "I can imagine [recording together] being a very distinct possibility at some point in the future. But, as yet we haven't really talked about it, although… OK we have a little bit. We're talking. It's not anything to get excited about yet. I mean, he's doing his thing. He's finishing a new record. I've got my record coming out, but the principle of us making music together is something…you know, it would be fair to say, we have discussed it at least once."
On October 25, 2014, Liam posts on Twitter that Beady Eye have split, writing, "Beady Eye are no longer. Thanks for all your support. LGx"
In an interview with NME, Noel is asked about Liam going solo now that Beady Eye have split up. "I'd write him a few songs, I've got a few songs lying around that he'd be good at singing. Some fucking good ones, better than the lot he was singing last time for sure. But I'm not sure what he plans to do or if plans to do anything."
Noel releases his second High Flying Birds album on February 25. Chasing Yesterday debuts at #1 on the UK album chart. Noel tells Rolling Stone, "The last record was produced by a professional producer, and it sounded expensive. This one was produced by me, so it's more rough around the edges. It's got more character. And there's a bit more guitar action on this one, where the last one was very choral and symphonic. Apart from that, they're fucking identical."
In the same interview, Noel delivers arguably his greatest diss: "Do you know that track by Alt-J, 'Left Hand Free'? That is a great track. But Alt-J can fuck right off as far as I'm concerned. It's a great tune, and I paid 79 pence for it, but I am in no way a fan of Alt-J.... One of them's got a moustache, and that's unacceptable."
In March, Liam tweets a photo of himself wearing a backstage laminate for one of Noel's concerts. He writes, "Keeping it in the family...LG x," but the peace doesn't last long.
After Noel calls former One Direction star Zayn Malik a "fucking idiot" for leaving the group, Liam attacks his brother on Twitter, writing, "Hey NG leave those 1D kids alone. Just coz you have a SAXAPHONE on your new record and you think your all Pink Floyd. Everybody knows your just another PRICK in the wall."
Liam also shows that he's over the Britpop feud with Blur by tweeting that their song "Lonesome Street" is "song of the year."
Rolling Stone asks Noel what he thinks of Tidal. His response, "Do these people think they're the fuckin' Avengers? They're going to save the fuckin' [world].' I was speaking to Chris [Martin] the day after, and I said, 'Are you after a Nobel Peace Prize? Is that what you're after?' They were like, 'We're going to fuckin' save the music business.' And I'm just sitting there, thinking [imitates smoking weed] you might want to write a decent chorus for a fuckin' start. Never mind fuckin' royalties and the 'power of music.' Write a tune. Fuckin' start with that."
TMZ catches up with Noel at LAX Airport and ask him about when he said Oasis were bigger than the Beatles and Jesus, to which he responds, "I might have been high when I said that."
Gary Cobain of Amorphous Androgynous writes an op-ed for the Guardian about how Noel refuses to release the album they made together. Although two of their songs are included on Chasing Yesterday, he argues that Noel should have released the album they made with him. "I believe ours is the album people wanted him to make — a liberated, exploratory Noel Gallagher, cutting loose from Oasis, enjoying his freedom; the Noel who name-drops our Monstrous Bubble albums and Krautrock, and who had hits with the Chemical Brothers. He obviously loves that kind of music, but has no idea how to make it."
In an interview with Esquire, Noel once again goes after Radiohead, saying, "Radiohead have never had a fucking bad review. I reckon if Thom Yorke fucking shit into a light bulb and started blowing it like an empty beer bottle it'd probably get 9 out of 10 in fucking Mojo. I'm aware of that."
Noel plays guitar on Coldplay's new album, A Head Full of Dreams. After more than 15 years together, Nicole Appleton divorces Liam, and receives £5.5 million as a settlement. The judge accuses Liam of "prolonged deceit," acknowledging that he also had an affair in 2013 with his PA.
Rumours of an Oasis reunion begin to heat up when Noel talks about his regrets over breaking up the band with BBC Radio 2's Jo Whiley. "Leaving Oasis — that was a horrible night [in Paris, 2009]," he recalls. "I knew that it was going to be a decision that would follow me around — there's still not a day where I don't read something about us getting back together — so I knew what I was getting myself into. [It was the right thing to do], definitely. What Oasis had in its future was to do bigger tours and generate more money, which is great. I wasn't planning on going solo, but it was such a mess that I was happier off [doing that]."
Noel also invites Gem Archer to perform some Oasis tunes with High Flying Birds for an intimate radio gig in Lincoln.
At a 60th birthday party for Paul Simonon of the Clash, Noel, Damon Albarn and Chrissie Hynde headline a supergroup that play a selection of Clash songs. They also perform a version of Gorillaz's "D.A.R.E."
A few months later, Noel is asked by the Daily Star about working with Damon. He says, "Yeah. Well he's making a new Gorillaz album and he's got my number, so he only has to ask. There is talk of doing something, but I'm not sure what it is."
Liam starts off the year denying he is making a solo album on Twitter, writing, "Solo record are you fucking tripping dickhead im not a cunt." Liam also allegedly tells a fan that he is now retired. "I can write 25 songs but all of them will be a shit," he says. A spokesperson later dismisses the story as tabloid fodder.
When asked if he has any final thoughts by Rolling Stone, Noel says, "I remain fucking totally awesome. In 2016, I'm as awesome as I was in the back end of 2015. My hair is impeccable; it's not showing any signs of thinning, at all. I'm fuckin' thriving. Thriving!"
During the BRIT Awards, Liam tweets, "Music in the UK has been abducted by massive cunts THE END… Thank fuck I got out when I got out out."
Actor Sacha Baron Cohen tells Conan O'Brien that he not only based his character in The Brothers Grimsby on Liam, but that Liam once threatened to stab him in the eye at the GQ Awards.
Liam throws shade at Noel on Twitter over his performance of a Gorillaz song. The tweet reads "What's that, Noel?" and links to an older interview where Noel dismisses Gorillaz as "fucking appalling, music for 12-year-olds."
Noel tells the Daily Star that he would reunite Oasis if he's offered £20 million for one gig. Soon after, Liam unleashes a series of tweets, repeatedly calling Noel a "POTATO" and proclaiming "FUCK OASIS." Over the next couple of months, Liam will send three more "POTATO" tweets featuring photos of Noel.
In July, former Oasis and Beady Eye drummer Chris Sharrock joins the High Flying Birds.
The production team behind the Oscar-nominated Amy announce they've made a new career-spanning Oasis documentary titled Supersonic (out October 2 in select theatres and October 31 on DVD). The news has everyone thinking the band might reunite, but Liam shuts it down on Twitter, writing, "Listen up no oasis reunion Rkids not into it I am hes to busy being beige new sounds on there way stay cool and most of all relevant."
Speaking to Exclaim!, Noel says, "When I seen the thing it was nice to see old footage I'd never seen, and it was funny. It's great, and then I kinda went off and had lunch. It's not really the most important thing that gonna happen to me in the next two years. D'ya know what I mean?"
In the same interview, Noel discusses his forthcoming third solo album, which he's recording with producer David Holmes. "Can I point out that it's not electronic? Everyone thinks that it's an electronic record, and it isn't," he insists. "Well, not yet, anyway. The first six tracks aren't electronic. For some reason they all associate David with electronic music. To be honest, I was hoping we might do something electronic, but it's turning out to be a rock'n'roll record, which is fine with me."
In August, Liam announces that he will release a solo album on Warner Brothers. He prefaces the news by tweeting, "It's official I'm a cunt." In an interview with Q, however, he adds, "I am not embarking on a solo 'career.' Everyone should know that. There are just ten, 11 songs I've written that are eligible to be recorded. They've got flair, attitude, the melodies are sick and the words are fucking funny. ... It's a record written by me, that's got all the right ingredients and sounds well tasty. You won't be scratching your chin. It's not Pink Floyd and it ain't Radiohead. It's chin-out music."
More importantly though, Liam remains hopeful that his old band will reunite. "I believe Oasis will sail again and it'll be glorious," he says. "If it's really about the fans, Noel, let's do it — because they want it. One year. Tour for a year. We'd smash it. My bags are still packed from my last tour, so I'm ready."
Definitely Maybe (Creation, 1994)
Oasis's debut is arguably the most influential British album of the last quarter century. Lighting a fire under the UK's music scene, Definitely Maybe helped catapult the significant cultural movement that was Britpop. These huge anthems brought together a nation, inspiring countless musicians to start copycat bands and kids, punters and grannies to sing with swagger to "Supersonic" or with genuine hopefulness to "Live Forever." More than 20 years after its release, this album's significance just keeps growing.
(What's The Story) Morning Glory? (Creation, 1995)
Striking while the iron was hot, Oasis followed up their debut an incredible 13 months later with a bigger-sounding, more accessible album. Morning Glory? didn't just win the Battle of Britpop, it won the world's attention, including the toughest nut to crack: America. The album's centrepiece "Wonderwall" proved to be a timeless single that still resonates today. Thanks to this album, for a good couple of years Oasis were actually as big as Noel and Liam said they were.
The Masterplan (Creation, 1998)
Noel Gallagher has said that "Oasis were a band built on the aura of the B-side" and this compilation demonstrates how everything the band recorded in their first few years was golden. Songs like "Acquiesce" or "Talk Tonight" should have been singles, but they were relegated to B-sides because Oasis needed them to be. Simply put, these are some of the band's greatest recordings, and together they comprise an album on par with their first two.