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Noel Gallagher ‘wanted to wreck charts and stamp out Phil Collins’ with Oasis

Liam’s high-pitched, hopeful, whimsical whinge was everything angst-ridden teens across the country had been waiting to hear.

“You and I are gonna live forever” crooned the cocky younger Gallagher, chin tilted, optimism bursting like a rainbow from his drab parka.

Twenty-five years ago, Britain’s youth became mesmerised by track after defiant track from Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe, including Rock’n’Roll Star, Slide Away, Shakermaker and, of course Live Forever.

The record would go seven-times platinum in the UK – the fastest-selling debut album of all time – and sell five million copies worldwide.

It perfectly captured the zeitgeist, slicing open the heart of a slump created by years of Thatcherism, recession, and embracing the yearning for a bright post-Tory age of social equality.

Looking back, songwriting older brother Noel’s initial aim was more musical shake up than political.


“I wanted to get in the charts and wreck it, stamp Phil Collins out, and Wet Wet Wet, they’ve got to go,” he said.

Noel formed Oasis with Liam and their pals Paul McGuigan, Paul Arthurs – Bonehead – and Tony McCarroll in Manchester in 1991.

The 52-year-old admitted fans fell under their spell more by chance than by design. “It is an amazing thing that I tapped into something by accident,” he said. “That album in particular is the one, it came from a place of truth.

“I wrote it when I was living in a one-bedroomed apartment that I was renting off the local council. I had one guitar, probably two plectrums…”

Formerly a roadie for Inspiral Carpets, he said he didn’t intend it to reflect “rage or anything from the working classes” – although he wrote it while on the dole, and his upbringing in a broken home, affected by violence and alcoholism, was far from perfect.

As well as giving Britain’s youth hope, the album gave him a confidence which has since stuck.

“I have to say I wasn’t that confident until I wrote Live Forever – and then I was like ‘f*** these idiots,” he admitted. “This is where I get the swagger now.”

Those close to the band say the vibe of Definitely Maybe was absolutely authentic.

Creation Records founder Alan McGee signed the band after first seeing the indie rockers perform third on the bill at a gig in Glasgow in 1993.

Unexpectedly, he recalls Liam as being “quite passive at that gig, quiet”. And although he knew the band were brilliant, he said there was “no suggestion they would sell 65 million records”.

But what really made that first album a hit was that “people were ready for it” and could “relate” to it, he said.

“They looked like the kids from council estates, but a very good version,” he explained. “So when they sang with hope people believed it. “Noel was singing about us, not them, very John Lennon, power to the people, and people wanted that.

“It was all like ‘live forever, tonight we can be rock ’n’ roll stars’, and that’s what they were selling. But they didn’t know they were doing it, they were just doing it. They meant it. They were real.”

Acclaimed photographer Michael Spencer Jones, who shot the iconic album cover for Definitely Maybe at Bonehead’s house, and later the cover of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? found the band’s “live life” attitude appealing.

“It was very liberating being with them,” he said. “They had a sense of freedom, they weren’t shackled by a sense of social constraints.

“And that’s why the album sounded so fresh and still sounds fresh. Today, everyone is posting things on social media, trying to second guess what people will think. With Oasis, they just didn’t care what people thought.

“The Oasis message was just to have some fun in your life. We’re here for a short time. There was a spiritual dy- namic. They were great people to hang out with, they knew how to have fun.”

Not that is was all fun, of course. There were spats as early as 1994 when Noel left after Liam made offensive comments at a gig in America. The constant sniping, heckling and a swapping of band members left fans reeling.


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