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Oasis - the Band

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The Gallagher brothers.

In late 1992, the five members of Oasis - who had only met a year before and had never gigged outside their native Manchester, England - hitched a ride to Glasgow, Scotland, walked into a club, and told the manager that they simply wouldn't leave without being allowed to play. He took them at their word and let them on stage. Creation Records supremo Alan McGee, who was in attendance, promptly signed them up.

On 11 April, 1994, Oasis released their debut single, 'Supersonic'. They already had an extensive fan base through live performances (their first being at the Manchester Boardwalk, on 19 October, 1991). But soon enough, they rose to the highest echelons of rock and roll in Britain.

The Members

Liam Gallagher - vocals (founding member)

Either you like his voice or you hate it. If you like it, chances are you love it; if you hate it, chances are you haven't taken the time to really listen to it. Granted, when he sings badly, his voice is how you might imagine sandpaper would sound if it could sing; but when he's on top form, he's incredible - few people can make a song sound as great.

Opinion isn't as divided about his personality. Most accept that he's wild, paranoid, impulsive, and often offensive1; although interviewers, as well as mentioning that he swears more than anyone they've met, often say how amusing he is. He also has the ability to captivate and dominate an audience.

Noel Gallagher - guitar, vocals (joined 1991)

Noel Gallagher is 'The Boss' and older brother of Liam. Noel joined the band later on (he used to be a roadie for Inspiral Carpets), informing them that he would only do so providing they sang his songs. It was to their advantage that they agreed to do so, as Noel has an excellent way with melodies, although his lyrics can be a little vague at the best of times.

Despite being a first-rate songwriter on a good day, he also has quite a following as a vocalist. Listen to his work on 'The Masterplan', 'Half The World Away' and 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. He didn't sing lead vocal on their first album; but he has gradually bagged more songs for himself, and took all the lead vocals on the songs on their 'Sunday Morning Call' single release in July, 2000. He performed as lead vocalist on Oasis' appearance on Unplugged, while Liam sat offstage, drinking and smoking in the 'no smoking' Royal Albert Hall auditorium, refusing to take part.

Alan White - drums (joined 1995)

He was a hit with both Noel and Liam on joining the band, and has been a favourite of theirs since. He is certainly a more creative drummer than his predecessor - listen to his work on 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. He's also a great live performer.

Gem Archer - guitar (joined 2000)

Rarely referred to as anything other than the name 'Gem', he used to be in the band Heavy Stereo, before joining the new Oasis line-up in time to promote Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants in 1999.

Andy Bell - bass (joined 2000)

Formerly of Ride and Hurricane #1, Andy Bell was recruited to Oasis in late 1999, after the departure of Guigsy.

Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs - rhythm guitar (1991-1999)

'Bonehead' is a founding member of the group. His most significant contribution was perhaps the piano intro to 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. While recording Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants in France in 1999, Bonehead refused to join the others in abstention from alcohol (in solidarity with Liam, who was trying to avoid it - the enforced abstention, that is) and ended up flying back to England, never to rejoin the group.

Paul 'Guigsy' McGuigan - bass (1991-1999)

The founding member and underrated bass player who did decent work, especially on (What's The Story) Morning Glory and The Masterplan. McGuigan may not have been a ground breaking player like Paul McCartney or Brian Wilson, but he certainly knew his way around the instrument. 'Guigsy' left not too long after Bonehead, and Noel set about re-recording the bass lines for the album.

Tony McCarroll - drums (1991-1995)

Tony McCarroll was another founding member who survived the recording of 'Some Might Say' on the (What's The Story) Morning Glory? album, before being replaced by Alan White. Reports that he couldn't hold a beat are unfair; but his drum tracks weren't terribly imaginative.

Oasis and The Beatles

With both Noel and Liam being huge fans of The Beatles (particularly John Lennon), a desire in the Gallagher brothers to emulate their heroes was understandable. But with the success of (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, other people began to compare the two bands. It went so far that the Oxford University Union debated the question 'Who is better: The Beatles or Oasis?'.

Oasis 'Lifting' from The Beatles

Most songwriters borrow from others - consciously or otherwise - but Noel Gallagher has taken this to new heights. Witness the following:

  • Listen to the intro to 'Don't Look Back In Anger' and then listen to the intro to Lennon's 'Imagine'.

  • The endings of both 'Who Feels Love?' and '(As Long As They've Got) Cigarettes In Hell' are heavily indebted to The Beatles' 'Dear Prudence'.

  • The name 'Wonderwall' originally came from an electronic soundtrack album from the 1960s, by George Harrison.

  • The middle eight from 'She's Electric' ('And I want you to know, got my mind made up now... ') is taken from The Beatles' 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.

  • The harmonised ending of 'She's Electric' is identical to that of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' on Sgt Pepper.

  • The title of 'Be Here Now' was chosen after Noel discovered an interview in which John Lennon said it.

  • In 'Don't Look Back In Anger', the lyrics 'Going to start a revolution from my bed, 'cos you said the brains I had went to my head' are a John Lennon quote.

Aside from these, there are various lyrical or vocal references to The Beatles in the songs 'The Masterplan', 'Morning Glory', 'D'You Know What I Mean?', and 'Shakermaker'.

Oasis 'Lifting' from Other People

It would be unfair to Noel Gallagher to accuse him of liking only The Beatles enough to 'lift' inspiration from their work. He's quite open to quoting the words and music of other people. The melody of the verses in 'Shakermaker' is remarkably similar to the tune of 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'2 ; and the same tune is even more obviously used in 'She's Electric' for the lyrics 'Cos I'll be you, and you'll be me'.

Critical Acclaim

The success of Oasis' first album, which was described as a breath of fresh air, coinciding with the guitar band revival in British popular music (dubbed 'Britpop' by the media), prompted comparisons with other great British bands, notably The Beatles, The Jam, The Smiths, and The Stone Roses. Liam and Noel Gallagher's arrogant 'we're going to be the biggest group of all time' attitude didn't help... but their second album did. Huge sales, the 'Wall of Sound'3, two outstanding singles in 'Wonderwall' and 'Don't Look Back In Anger', and the generally up-lifting tone of the music and lyrics made (What's the Story) Morning Glory the album to have in your record collection.

Now Oasis were being called the best group since The Beatles; they were the favourite of buskers everywhere. Amateur guitarists bought 'Oasis made easy' books. The slightest event was front page news even for broadsheets. Then came Be Here Now, hyped to death as the greatest thing to happen to music in 1997. It wasn't. And despite the initial huge queues, as people waited in the early hours to get into stores and buy a copy, sales were poor and a lot of people regretted the purchase. Oasis' fan base moved back from their enormous post-Knebworth4 following to Definitely Maybe standards. The British rock critics, always eager to knock down someone big, ripped into them... with some justification.

However, with Oasis now listed in the print media's 'Can Do No Right' category, their 2000 album Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants was panned, despite actually having some good songs on it. Yes, The Beatles sound was still there, but other influences showed more strongly; and, as Noel himself admitted, he had taken the time to improve his guitar playing. The media admit they're a great B-sides group and live act, but not much more.

Essentially, the problem is that they will be judged by (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, until they do something of equal musical and cultural impact; and, since you can't force the latter, this is going to be hard.


Definitely Maybe - 30 August, 1994

The album was the fastest selling debut in British history, entering the charts at No 1.


  • 'Rock 'n' Roll Star'
  • 'Shakermaker'
  • 'Live Forever'
  • 'Up In The Sky'
  • 'Columbia'
  • 'Supersonic'
  • 'Bring It On Down'
  • 'Cigarettes and Alcohol'
  • 'Digsy's Dinner'
  • 'Slide Away'
  • 'Married With Children'

(What's The Story) Morning Glory? - 2 October, 1995

This album, often placed in the top ten all-time great albums, went straight in at No 1, and became the fastest selling album since Michael Jackson's Bad in 1987. It seemed to strike a chord in the ears of the British public, the right sound at the right time. Including 'Wonderwall' (described by Paul Weller as the best song of the 1990s) and 'Don't Look Back In Anger' (most people's favourite Oasis song, judging by the reception it gets) it seemingly ended the media-fuelled Oasis vs Blur 'Britpop' battle. Blur's single 'Country House' had beaten Oasis' 'Some Might Say' to the top of the charts; but this album was something else. Everything Oasis have done since has been compared to it.


  • 'Hello'
  • 'Roll With It'
  • 'Wonderwall'
  • 'Don't Look Back In Anger'
  • 'Hey Now'
  • 'The Swamp Song Part 1'5
  • 'Some Might Say'
  • 'Cast No Shadow'
  • 'She's Electric'
  • 'Morning Glory'
  • 'The Swamp Song Part 2'
  • 'Champagne Supernova'

Be Here Now - 21 August, 1997

Everyone was hoping for another (What's The Story) Morning Glory?... and they didn't get one. This was a rather self-indulgent album, full of very long intros and 'outros' and overblown guitar riffs. The title was a John Lennon quote summarising rock n' roll, but originally was an old hippy maxim6 Often neglected, this album still has the great song, 'Stand By Me'.


  • 'D'You Know What I Mean?'
  • 'My Big Mouth'
  • 'Magic Pie'
  • 'Stand By Me'
  • 'I Hope, I Think, I Know'
  • 'The Girl In The Dirty Shirt'
  • 'Fade In-Out'
  • 'Don't Go Away'
  • 'Be Here Now'
  • 'All Around The World'
  • 'It's Gettin' Better (Man!)'
  • 'All Around The World (Reprise)'

The Masterplan - 2 November, 1998

Some love Oasis, some loathe them. But you would have to be pretty biased to deny the fact that, at the very least, they release good B-sides. In fact, some of their B-sides are better than some of their album tracks: 'The Masterplan', 'Round Are Way', and 'Acquiesce', for example.

This album assembles a great many of these supporting tracks, some well chosen ('Half The World Away'), others perhaps not ('Step Out', a flip side to 'Don't Look Back In Anger'). But why was 'Round Are Way' not included, many fans wonder?


  • 'Acquiesce'
  • 'Underneath the Sky'
  • 'Talk Tonight'
  • 'Going Nowhere'
  • 'Fade Away'
  • 'The Swamp Song'
  • 'I Am The Walrus'
  • 'Listen Up'
  • 'Rockin' Chair'
  • 'Half the World Away'
  • '(It's Good) To Be Free'
  • 'Stay Young'
  • 'Headshrinker'
  • 'The Masterplan'

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants - 28 February, 2000

Noel Gallagher, celebrating the end of recording in 1999, was in a London pub with a late-night lock-in and liberal quantities of Guinness. At around 4am, and in a state far from sober, he noticed the new £2 coin for the first time, with the quote from British physicist Sir Isaac Newton around its rim. He scrawled the words on a cigarette packet, except that he was so drunk that he wrote 'Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants' instead of 'shoulders'.

Noel admits this is a 'transitional' album, resulting from the departure of two band members. It was completed largely by Noel. He is the uncredited bass player on several of the album and B-side tracks, including 'Go Let It Out'.


  • 'F***in' in the Bushes'
  • 'Go Let It Out'
  • 'Who Feels Love?'
  • 'Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is'
  • 'Little James'
  • 'Gas Panic!'
  • 'Where Did It All Go Wrong?'
  • 'Sunday Morning Call'
  • 'I Can See A Liar'
  • 'Roll It Over'

Familiar To Millions - 13 November, 2000

A live album taken almost exclusively from their live performance at Wembley Stadium on Friday 21 July, 20007. The Saturday show may have been more impressive; but Liam's voice was less influenced by alcohol the day before.


  • 'F***in' In The Bushes'
  • 'Go Let It Out'
  • 'Who Feels Love?'
  • 'Supersonic'
  • 'Shakermaker'
  • 'Acquiesce'
  • 'Step Out'
  • 'Gas Panic!'
  • 'Roll With It'
  • 'Stand By Me'
  • 'Wonderwall'
  • 'Cigarettes and Alcohol'
  • 'Don't Look Back In Anger'
  • 'Live Forever'
  • 'Hey Hey, My My'
  • 'Champagne Supernova'
  • 'Rock 'n' Roll Star'
  • 'Helter Skelter'

The Singles

UK Single Releases

'Supersonic' - 11 April, 1994
Plus 'Take Me Away', 'I Will Believe (live)', 'Columbia' (white label demo)

'Shakermaker' - 13 June, 1994
Plus 'D'Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?', 'Alive' (8 track demo), 'Bring It On Down' (live)

'Live Forever' - 8 August, 1994
Plus 'Up In The Sky' (acoustic), 'Cloudburst', 'Supersonic' (live)

'Cigarettes and Alcohol' - 10 October, 1994
Plus 'I Am The Walrus' (live), 'Listen Up', and 'Fade Away'

'Whatever' - 18 December, 1994
Plus '(It's Good) To Be Free', 'Half The World Away', and 'Slide Away'

'Some Might Say' - 24 April, 1995
Plus 'Talk Tonight', 'Acquiesce', and 'Headshrinker'

'Roll With It' - 14 August, 1995
Plus 'It's Better People', 'Rockin' Chair', and 'Live Forever' (live)

'Wonderwall' - 30 October, 1995
Plus 'Round Are Way', 'The Swamp Song', and 'The Masterplan'

'Don't Look Back In Anger' - 19 February, 1996
Plus 'Step Out', 'Underneath The Sky', and 'Cum On Feel The Noize'8

'D'You Know What I Mean?' - 7 July, 1997
Plus 'Stay Young', 'Angel Child' (Demo), and 'Heroes'

'Stand By Me' - 22 September, 1997
Plus '(I Got) The Fever', 'My Sister Lover', and 'Going Nowhere'

'All Around The World' - 12 January, 1998
Plus 'The Fame', 'Flashbax', and 'Street Fighting Man'.

'Go Let It Out' - 7 February, 2000
Plus 'Let's All Make Believe' and '(As Long As They've Got) Cigarettes In Hell'

'Who Feels Love?' - 17 April, 2000
Plus 'One Way Road' and 'Helter Skelter'

'Sunday Morning Call' - 3 July, 2000
Plus 'Carry Us All' and 'Full On'

Other Single Releases

'Wonderwall' and 'Don't Look Back In Anger' have been released in the United States and ten singles have been released in Japan. These all feature similar line ups to the UK singles, except for the Japanese single 'Don't Go Away' (Be Here Now), which was released on 19 February, 1998, with the accompanying tracks 'Cigarettes and Alcohol' (live from GMEX), 'Sad Song' (not released elsewhere) and 'Fade Away' (Warchild version9).

1 A word or two must be devoted to the ongoing feud between Liam and pop singer Robbie Williams. At one stage the latter suggested a public boxing match to settle the insults; but then made no response when being verbally abused by Liam in the same room at the Q Awards 2000. 2This song by the New Seekers was recorded as a radio advertisement for Coca Cola in 1970, and later as a television commercial featuring wholesome and diverse young people standing on a hill top holding Coke bottles. The original lyrics were, 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke...'.3Noel and Bonehead both played rhythm guitar. Noel, who was reportedly playing open chords and 'Bonehead' barred chords, informed 'Bonehead' that if his index finger left the fretboard, he'd be fired.4Oasis played two enormous concerts there in October 1996.5Both this and Part 2 are fragments of one of the accompanying tracks to the single 'Wonderwall'.6To find out why, read the cult classic Be Here Now by Ram Dass, Crown, 1971.7Except for 'Helter Skelter', which was recorded by the SFX radio network on 16 April, 2000 at the Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.8This is a cover of the 1973 Glam Rock classic by Slade, better known in the USA as a hit by Quiet Riot.9Warchild was a charity album, helping to raise money for Bosnian war victims. Another track off the album featured a cover of The Beatles' 'Come Together', recorded by The Smoking Mojo Filters, chiefly consisting of Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, and Noel Gallagher.

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