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Oasis Logo Band


From Manchester, England, Oasis became overnight sensations in 1994 on the back of sublime singles and exponentially increasing press interest. Widely regarded in the press as natural successors to the Happy Mondays, Oasis proffered a similar working-class, roughneck chic.

The band's creative axis is the Gallagher brothers, Liam John (Born 21 September 1972, Longsight, Cheshire, England; vocals) and Noel Thomas (Born 29 May 1967, Longsight, Cheshire, England; guitar/vocals). They were brought up by Irish Roman Catholic parents in the south Manchester suburb of Burnage. While his younger brother was still in school, Noel, whose C&W DJ father had purchased a guitar for him at age 11, discovered punk, and like many of his peers happily engaged in truancy, burglary and glue-sniffing. After six months' probation for robbing a corner shop he began to take the instrument seriously at the age of 13, later finding his role model in Johnny Marr of the Smiths. Liam was not weaned on music until 1989 when his elder brother took him to see the Inspiral Carpets. Afterwards, Noel befriended that band's Clint Boon, subsequently becoming a guitar technician and travelling the world with them. When he telephoned home in 1991 he was informed by his mother that Liam had joined a band. Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (Born 23 June 1965, Manchester, England; guitar), Tony McCarroll (drums) and Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (Born 9 May 1971, Manchester, England) had been playing together as Rain (not the Liverpool band of similar moniker) before meeting with Liam, who became their singer, as they changed their name to Oasis. When Noel returned to watch them play at Manchester's Boardwalk in 1992, he recognized their promise, but insisted that they install him as lead guitarist and only perform his songs if he were to help them. Noel continued as roadie to the Inspiral Carpets to help purchase equipment, as the band set about establishing a local reputation.

The incident that led to Oasis being signed to Creation Records quickly passed into rock mythology. In May 1993, they drove to Glasgow with fellow denizens of the Boardwalk rehearsal studios, Sister Lovers, to support 18 Wheeler at King Tut's Wah Wah CluBorn Strong-arming their way onto the bill, they played five songs early in the evening, but these were enough to hypnotize Creation boss Alan McGee who offered them a recording contract there and then. However, they did not sign until several months later, during which time a copy of the band's demo had been passed to Johnny Marr, who became an early convert to the cause and put the band in touch with Electronic's management company, Ignition. With news spreading of the band's rise it seemed likely that they would join any number of labels apart from Creation, with U2's Mother label rumoured to guarantee double any other offer. However, loyalty to the kindred spirits at Creation won through by October 1993, and two months later the label issued the band's "debut", a one-sided 12-inch promo of "Columbia" taken straight from the original demo. BBC Radio 1 immediately play listed it (an almost unheralded event for such a "non-release").

The following year began with a torrent of press, much of it focusing on the band's errant behaviour. Punch-ups and the ingestion of large quantities of drink and drugs led to gig cancellations, while frequent, often violent, bickering between the Gallagher brothers lent the band a sense of danger and mischief. "Supersonic" reached the UK Top 40 in May. "Shakermaker", owing an obvious debt to the New Seekers' "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)", duly made number 11 two months later. High-profile dates at the Glastonbury Festival and New York's New Music Seminar ensued, along with more stories of on-the-road indulgence. The Beatles-redolent "Live Forever', with a sleeve featuring a photo of the house where John Lennon grew up, reached the Top 10 in October, all of which ensured that the expectation for a debut album was now phenomenal. After scrapping the original tapes recorded at Monmouth's Monnow Studios, the songs had been completed with Mark Coyle and Anjali Dutt, with subsequent mixing by Electronic producer Owen Morris, at a total cost of £75,000. In September 1994, Definitely Maybe entered the UK charts at number 1, and, backed by a live version of the Beatles" "I Am The Walrus", "Cigarettes And Alcohol", a stage favourite, became the band's biggest UK singles success to date, when it reached number 7 in October. In December, they released the non-album "Whatever" (not quite the Christmas number 1), a lush pop song with full orchestration that sounded astonishingly accomplished for a band whose recording career stretched over only eight months.

Oasis' assault on America began in January 1995, and with a few gigs and word-of-mouth reports, they were soon hovering around the US Top 50. In mid-1995, it was announced that drummer McCarroll had amicably left the band and Alan White (Born 26 May 1972, London, England) sessioned on their second album. The eagerly anticipated (What's The Story) Morning Glory? was a rich and assured record. Gallagher's Beatlesque melodies were spectacular, from the acoustic simplicity of "Wonderwall" to the raucous and dense harmonies of "Don't Look Back In Anger" and "Morning Glory". Further gems included "Roll With It" and "Some Might Say", the latter having already provided the band with their first UK chart-topping single during the summer. "Roll With It" and "Wonderwall" were also UK number 2 hit singles, while "Don't Look Back In Anger" became their second chart-topper the following March. Nobody could dispute that (What's The Story) Morning Glory? was one of the finest albums of the pop era, and it went on to become one of the bestselling albums of the 90s by a UK act.

Oasis were suddenly receiving the media attention that was previously bestowed on Liverpool's fab four. With the massive attention and success in the charts the volatile relationship of the two brothers came under public scrutiny. Their sex lives, drug habits and fist fights were all examined and dissected, their uncompromising behaviour and laddish attitudes increasingly both entertaining and irritating. Rumours of the band splitting came to a head on their ninth attempt to break America in September 1996. Following one of their many fights, Noel returned to the UK with the band in tow the following day. The rest of the US tour was cancelled and the press statement that followed reported that although touring was unlikely the band would stay together. Nevertheless, awards continued to flow throughout a remarkable year, highlighting the fact that few modern rock bands had managed to create such a body of high-quality work in such a short time, and no other (except the Beatles) became a such a massive media success.

Oasis' greatly anticipated third album was introduced to the world by the UK chart-topping single, "D'You Know What I Mean?". The title of Be Here Now was inspired by John Lennon's response to a question regarding the transient state of rock 'n' roll. This philosophy was applied to the album: not since the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 had there been such anticipation for a new record. Queues formed outside record shops on the day of release as 800,000 copies were sold in the UK within 24 hours. The music was much denser than in the past, with guitars overlaid on many tracks and Liam's vocals turned up to 11. Although still relying on the Beatles for inspiration, there were some outstanding songs. "Stand By Me" will stand as one of Noel Gallagher's finest songs and the epic "Hey Jude"-styled "All Around The World" quickly became a live encore favourite.

There were further problems for the Gallagher brothers, however, when Liam was arrested in Australia for allegedly assaulting a fan, although the charges were later dropped. A compilation of the band's most popular b-sides, including live favourites "Acquiesce" and "Stay Young", was released in 1998. The following March, former drummer McCarroll, who had been pursuing a claim for loss of earnings and royalties, settled with the band out of court for an estimated £550,000. A turbulent year came to an end when both Arthurs and McGuigan left the band in August. Arthurs replacement was Gem Archer (ex-Heavy Stereo) while McGuigan's place was taken by ex-Ride and Hurricane #1 leader Andy Bell. The band dealt a seemingly fatal body blow to the ailing Creation label at the start of 2000 by announcing that they would release their fourth album, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, through their own Big Brother label. Though it was premiered by February's chart-topping single, "Go Let It Out", the album failed to convince the growing number of doubters who questioned the band's ability to ever reproduce the magic of their mid-90s heyday. Liam even contributed one track, the maudlin "Little James".

The brothers continued to grab the headlines following the album's release, although most of the news concerned their marital problems and Noel's on-off-on decision to play with the band. The latter also founded his own record label, Sour Mash. Oasis returned to the top of the UK charts in April 2002 with their best single for several years, the confusingly titled "The Hindu Times", complete with George Harrison sounding indian guitars. The attendant Heathen Chemistry featured songwriting contributions from Liam, Bell and Archer and demonstated a greater democracy in the band, although Noel still had the upper hand as main songwriter with two gems, "Little By Little" and "Stop Crying Your Heart Out'. Long may he continue to plunder the Beatles" riffs and chords. Further personnel upheaval saw the departure of drummer Alan White at the start of 2004, and the renewed tension between the Gallagher brothers was evident at the band's muted performance at the same year's Glastonbury.


Definitely Maybe (Creation/Epic 1994)*****, (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (Creation/Epic 1995)*****, Be Here Now (Creation/Epic 1997)***, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants (Big Brother/Epic 2000)**, Familiar To Millions (Big Brother/Epic 2000)***, Heathen Chemistry (Big Brother/Epic 2002)***.


The Masterplan (Creation/Epic 1998)****.


Live By The Sea (PMI 1995), There And Then (SMV 1996), Familiar To Millions (Big Brother 2000), Definitely Maybe (Big Brother 2004).


Oasis: How Does It Feel, Jemma Wheeler. Oasis: The Illustrated Story, Paul Lester. The World On The Street: The Unsanctioned Story Of Oasis, Eugene Masterson. Oasis Definitely, Tim Abbot. Oasis, Mick St. Michael. Oasis '96, Pat Gilbert. Oasis: What's The Story, Ian Robertson. Oasis: Round Their Way, Mick Middles. Brothers: From Childhood To Oasis: The Real Story, Paul Gallagher and Terry Christian. Oasis: The Story, Paul Mathur. Getting High: The Adventures Of Oasis, Paolo Hewitt. Don't Look Back In Anger: Growing Up With Oasis, Chris Hutton and Richard Kurt. Forever The People: Six Months On The Road With Oasis, Paolo Hewitt. Oasis: Revealed, Lee Henshaw.

Music Albums

Definitely Maybe

What's The Story Morning Glory?

Be Here Now

The Masterplan

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants [SACD]

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants [Edited]

Familiar To Millions

Maximum Oasis
Griffin Music

Heathen Chemistry *

What's The Story Morning Glory? [SACD]

Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music
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