I believe that it is the music of our time that will be remembered long after we are gone, and it is bands like Oasis that led the revolution which took place recently. Oasis, headed by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher was the first band after The Beatles to lash out against what had become the normal way a band should be, and that is why they will be known for years to come as the band who changed rock music. Noel Gallagher was born on May 29, 1967 in Manchester, he was the second son of Thomas and Margaret Gallagher. Thomas, Tommy to the boys at the pub, was a construction worker. He and his wife, known to her pals as Peggy, resided in the working-class Manchester suburb called Burnage with their first boy, Paul.
“God was playing a joke when He made me,” Noel Gallagher once said. “You know, ‘Let’s make this guy a writer and a guitar player, but let’s make him write with his left hand but play with his right, and let’s have him born in the middle of May and give him a Christmas name like Noel. Little did Noel know that when he grew up he was to become the frontman of one of the most influential rock bands in music history at a time when music was the most influential form of speech on the planet. Little Liam arrived in the Gallagher household five years later, on September 21, 1972. He and Noel were forced to share a bedroom, something that always bothered Noel to no end, seeing how Paul, just a year-and-a-half older than him, had his own room. But Liam and Noel made the best of it, and the bedroom saw the beginnings of the somewhat loving, often heated relationship between the brothers.
The boys kept a running record of their childhood by scrawling on their wall, later described by Tommy as their “wonderwall”, later to become the title of one of their biggest selling singles. Bits of songs, poems, favourite bands, football teams and the like were all immortalised on their bedroom wall. In addition to their love of football, the lads also became engrossed with rock’n’roll. Both Noel and Liam were big fans of tubby ’70s glamrocker Alvin Stardust. “When he came on telly they’d mime along and pretend to be Alvin,” their father remembers, “and I’d always catch them singing into hairbrushes and playing air guitar.” Most important to Noel’s musical growth was the North’s all-time greatest band, the Beatles.
Like many youngsters, the songsmith first fell in love with the Fab Four via their Red and Blue hits collections, and they formed the basis of his musical sensibility for years to come. “I was about six when I started hearing the Red Album ” he recalled in an interview “They’re songs to grow up with, really..The Red Album documents the Beatles as the greatest pop band ever and The Blue Album documents them as the greatest rock band ever.” Noel’s school life was problematic at best. While he was plainly a bright young man, he battled with a minor case of dyslexia, which, topped with the poor quality of Manchester’s schools, was a dangerous combination. “School didn’t really hold anything for me,” he explained later. “I knew from a very early age what I wanted to be, I wanted to be a musician.” A chronic childhood kidney infection gave Noel his first taste of standing apart from the crowd. Because of his ailment, young Noel was not required to adhere to his primary school’s dress code.
“I was the only kid allowed to wear long trousers,” he remembered. “The others had these little grey shorts and I had these dead cool black skin-tight trousers with little Doc Martens. Everybody hated me.” “I was a bit of a rogue when I was young,” Noel once said, “I used to wag school and be into.. glue sniffing and stuff. Then me and this lad robbed our corner shop, which is a very stupid thing to do, cos everyone knows exactly who you are.
Noel was put on probation and was grounded for six months. He had absolutely nothing to do so he just sat there playing one string on an acoustic guitar. I thought I was really good for about a year, until someone tuned it up. Then I thought, ‘I can’t play the thing at all now. I’m gonna have to start all over again.
When Noel was around 13, he ordered his first real guitar from the John England catalogue and from there on in, all else, school, girls, football, took second place in his life. He practised constantly, playing along to his favourite records over and over again. Despite the small problem of being a left-handed guitarist with a right-handed guitar, Noel was writing songs as soon as he learned his third chord. Having already developed a love affair with the Beatles, the teenaged Noel fell for the angry energy of punk rock. He attended his first concert in 1980, the Damned at the Manchester Apollo.
While he was already musically aware, he was “too young to be a punk, really, I was ten in 1977 and at that age the last thing you’re going to do is listen to music. I mean, you’re too busy playing.. football or cowboys and Indians or something like that.” In April 1986, Peggy took her sons and left Tommy and from all accounts, the split was highly acrimonious. She supported herself and her three growing boys by working at the nearby McVitties factory, plucking misshaped Jaffa Cakes off the production line. “She used to come home with bin-bags full of them,” Noel said. With their Mum off working, the latchkey Gallagher boys were left on their own a great deal.
Noel, already in his teens, took on a series of thankless teenage jobs, including a position as a sign writer for a real-estate agent and stints in a bed factory and a bakery. He took a job with a building firm who sub-contracted to British Gas. There the pivotal moment of Noel’s young life occurred. While laying a huge steel gas pipe, the heavy cap dropped onto his right foot, smashing it to pieces. After the injury he was given a job in the storehouse, dispensing nuts and bolts and the like.
He soon discovered that the position meant that he would be alone for days on end and he began bringing his guitar to work with him. It was there that Noel truly tapped into his songwriting ability, penning four of the songs that would later appear on Oasis’ debut album. “People were laughing, yeah,” he told MTV, “Going, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I want to be a songwriter.’ ‘A songwriter? Why can’t you be a drug dealer like the rest of us?'” But he knew what he wanted in his life and it wasnt in Manchester. In 1988, Noel was invited to audition with a friend’s new band, which they were calling Inspiral Carpets. “When they asked me to come and have a go, I thought, ‘This is my destiny in life!'” Noel said later. “I sang ‘Gimme Shelter,’ shouting me head off like Shaun Ryder, and they turned me down.” Nevertheless, Noel knew his guitars and the members of the band figured that he’d be a handy guy to have around.
The lead singer of the band thought he didn’t have their groove, so he just said, ‘You can be a roadie if you like.'” Noel finally had a job that he could really relate too, and he took to the roadie’s life like a duck to water. He became so proficient that he would conduct soundchecks single-handedly while the band partied back at the hotel. More importantly, he had the chance to figure out his own music by practising his own tunes using decent equipment. But back in Manchester, Liam was putting together a band of his own, comprising Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan, on bass, drummer Tony McCarroll, and on guitar Paul Arthurs, the oldest member, known to all as “Bonehead.” Calling themselves Rain, the quartet rehearsed when they could, though they clearly lacked direction. Bonehead recalled “We had a couple of guitars, a couple of amps, Liam could sing, y’know what I mean?.. It was either get yourself together in a band or get drunk every night.
Better than hanging about the streets, y’know what I mean?” After a few unexciting gigs as Rain, Liam renamed his little band Oasis, after a local youth centre. The newly-named foursome were booked to play their first gig at the Boardwalk on August 18, 1991. The crowd basically consisted of Noel and a handful of his band, all temporarily home from the road. “Noel said it was the worst gig he had seen,” Liam recalled. They were just another band before I joined,” Noel explained.
“It was alright, it just wasn’t rock’n’roll. But the bassist looked good, the drummer didn’t look too bad, and our kid looked pretty cool. At that time I was a roadie, and I thought, ‘It’s looking me in the face.’ So I bowled into the practice room one day and said, “Right, change that guitar, take them shoes off, cut your hair, I’m gonna be doing this from now on.’ And they just looked at me and said, ‘Oh, alright, then.” “We had something there, obviously, and he could see that, there was something in it,” Bonehead remembered, “but we couldn’t write songs. And he came in, the condition was, he writes the songs, which we were all happy to go with, because the guy sat down and played us some of the songs that he’d written years ago, man, and you knew straightaway it was a classic. You could feel it.” Then Noel said, ‘You either let me write the songs and we go for superstardom or else you stay here in Manchester for the rest of your sad lives..'” And so Oasis was born, one of the most controversial bands the planet has ever seen.
Rude to the media, destructive to hotel rooms, rebels in every way. The heated brawls between brothers Liam and Noel were a common sight in the tabloid newspapers and they loved it. They knew they were good and they knew everyone else did. Noel once said “We’re not arrogant, we just think we’re the best band in the world” and whats more, it was true. They sparked off the forming of numerous groups and their style of music gave rise to the term Britpop Their first album Definitely Maybe was an instant success and while Liam was the lead singer and generally the frontman of the band, it was Noels songwriting talents which led them to stardom, with the songs he wrote becoming like anthems to the youth of Britain. It was their second album (Whats The Story) Morning Glory? which led them into the charts of other European countries and gave them the attention they sought.
Noel Gallaghers Mum used to tell them that God loved a tryer, and Noel used to ask why? Has he got a car? and she would tell him a tryer, not a tyre. Well Noel was certainly one of those and although their third album Be Here Now was regarded by critics as the band going downhill, it opened the door for them to release their finest pieces, the B-Sides to their singles. These songs showed their true talent and Noel believed that they should be heard by all. Hence their fourth album The Masterplan, a collection of B-Sides voted for via the Internet by their fans. there was no Masterplan, explains Noel except to write good songs.
Oh yeah, and to be the biggest band in the world A modest ambition if there was ever one. Stephen Murphy, Spring 99.