Nobody really expects brothers to get along. From the time the younger is born to the time one kicks the bucket there’s competition and usually some bickering. But the Gallagher brothers, Noel (guitar) and Liam (vocals) raised the bar (or lowered it).
Their fights (verbal and physical, onstage and off) fueled more press than the music – and that’s never a good thing. There were constant rumors the band was about to implode.
The squabbling was not limited to the band. In short order Oasis started a feud with Blur in a battle for Brit Rock supremacy.
Liam was lead singer for a band that included Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs (rhythm guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass), and Tony McCaroll (drums). Meanwhile, older brother Noel was seeing the world as the guitar technician for The Inspiral Carpets.
Figuring there was a limited and frustrating future in that position Noel offered his services as guitarist, arranger and songwriter to his brother’s band. Oh, there was one other thing – a small matter really. He wanted total artistic control. The band said “yes” and Oasis were on their way. As time passed, Alan White replaced McCaroll.
They were relatively popular in the U.K. on the strength of their debut album “Definitely Maybe” (great title). The set featured “Rock N’ Roll Star,” “Live Forever” and “Supersonic.”
But it was their sophomore effort released in ’95 that landed them in the major leagues. “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory” contained the title track, “Champagne Supernova” and the ballad “Wonderwall.” They were melodic and often hypnotic guitar driven songs created when the Gallaghers were drinking and fighting. The songs have a tension but there’s also a release. It’s the band’s masterpiece.
Third album, “Be Here Now” (with the title track and “Don’t Go Away,” “D’ You Know What I Mean” and “All Around The World”), went to #1 in the U.K. and #2 in the U.S.
As they started work on their next album McGuigan and Arthurs left and were replaced by Gem Archer and Andy Bell on guitar and bass, respectively.
Also, Noel and Liam gave up the booze. And just by coincidence, their relationships, between not only each other, but also with their spouses, improved. Funny how that works.
But sober and happy Gallagher brothers does not mean great music. The long decline set in.
There were a handful of albums before the inevitable happened. Oasis ended with Liam forming Beady Eye (essentially Oasis without Noel) while Noel led High Flying Birds. Both Gallaghers tried their hand at solo projects.
While that was going on, “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?,” was voted the “Best British Album of the Last 30 Years” at the 2010 BRIT Awards. But it appeared Liam was hardly in a gracious mood. He swore through his acceptance speech before throwing the microphone into the audience. As a result, show host Peter Kay called Liam a ‘knobhead” which got a big laugh.
A proper close to the Oasis story also came in ’10 with the release of the singles compilation “Time Flies . . . 1994 – 2009.” “The fact that we kept it together for so long is testament to our love of the music,” said Noel.