Oasis: What's the story?

They went All Around The World before Falling Down

Oasis ready themselves to take Knebworth, 1996
Author: Julian MarszalekPublished 27th Jan 2021
Last updated 3rd Feb 2021

Arguably THE biggest guitar band of the 90s, Oasis fused the sonic onslaught of The Sex Pistols in their prime with the melodicism of The Beatles, whilst channeling the insouciant swagger of The Stone Roses.

Dismissing false modesty in favour of supreme confidence, Oasis set out to be the biggest band in the world. Despite achieving that goal, their success came at a high personal price, leaving brothers Liam Gallagher and Noel Gallagher on not-so amicable terms.

How Oasis formed

Despite the eventual songwriting dominance of Noel Gallagher, Oasis were actually formed by singer Liam Gallagher and his pals Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs, bassist Paul McGuigan and drummer Tony McCaroll in Manchester in 1991, and were originally called Rain.

They changed their name to Oasis when Noel Gallagher joined the band as guitarist after having spent time working as a roadie for Manc baggies Inspiral Carpets.

What was Oasis’ first song?

Reports vary, but what is certain is that eight songs were recorded for their first demo tape. Later released on the 20th anniversary edition of Oasis’ debut album, ‘Definitely Maybe’, the Live Demonstration’s track listing is: ‘Cloudburst’ (later released as the B-side to ‘Live Forever’), ‘Columbia’, ‘D’yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?’ (‘Shakermaker’’s B-side), ‘Strange Thing’, ‘Bring It On Down’, ‘Married With Children’, ‘Fade Away’ (which appeared as the B-side to ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’), and ‘Rock’n’Roll Star’.

When was Oasis’ first album released?

Having been spotted and signed by Creation Records boss Alan McGee after he accidently saw them play King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow in May 1993, Oasis rose to prominence throughout 1994.

The limited edition white label release of ‘Columbia’ was soon followed by their official debut single release, ‘Supersonic’, in April 1994, which peaked at No. 31 in the UK singles charts. It’s follow-up, ‘Shakermaker’, was released just two months later and missed the Top 10 by one place. All that changed with their third single, ‘Live Forever’, which achieved what its predecessor hadn’t.

With Oasismania now in full swing, their debut album, ‘Definitely Maybe’, entered the UK album chart at Number 1 upon its release in August 1994, and in the process became the fastest-selling debut album in the UK at the time.

Were Oasis big in America?

They were. ‘Definitely Maybe’ sold over a million copies in the US and they’d go on to play arenas and stadiums throughout the course of their career. For example, Oasis’ US tour in support of their second album, the infamous ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ (1995) wound up at the 11, 800-capacity Mayo Civic Centre in Rochester, Minnesota.

WATCH | Liam Gallagher: 'Never bought a dodgy PARKA…there’s a reason I spent £20K' | Nosy Parka

Have Oasis headlined Glastonbury?

They have indeed. They first headlined the Glastonbury Festival’s celebrated Pyramid Stage in 1995, where they previewed tracks from the yet-to-be-released ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’.

Well, we say ‘Pyramid Stage’, but really, it was the Main Stage that year as the previous structure was destroyed in a fire the year before. And bizarrely, for such a hot, rain-free Glastonbury – yes, such a thing exists! - the Gallaghers elected to wear big, thick duffel coats. As you do. In the summer.

They next headlined Glastonbury in 2004 with former Beatle Paul McCartney and pomp-rockers Muse.

But did you know they made their Glastonbury debut in 1994, playing the Other Stage on the Sunday afternoon where they were sandwiched between Britpoppers Echobelly and Britrapper Credit To The Nation?

WATCH: Noel Gallagher says Oasis are reforming and playing Glastonbury

What were Oasis’ biggest hits?

Oasis topped the UK singles charts an incredible eight times: ‘Some Might Say’ (1995), ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ (1996), ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ (1997), ‘All Around The World’ (1998), ‘Go Let It Out’ (2000), ‘The Hindu Times’ (2002), ‘Lyla’ and ‘The Importace Of Being Idle’ (both 2005).

Other smashes include the standalone single, ‘Whatever’ (1994), ‘Wonderwall’ (1995) and ‘Stand By Me’.

When did Oasis break up?

Oasis officially split in August 2009. Noel broke the news on the band’s official website, writing: “It is with some sadness and great relief...I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”

The relationship between brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher was always fractious at best. As evidenced by the bootleg single ‘Wibbling Rivalry’ – a recording of the brothers having an almighty ding-dong during an interview with a music journalist – it didn’t take much to set them off.

Noel first quit Oasis in September 1994 after a particularly disastrous gig in Los Angeles where Liam threw a tambourine at his brother’s head. The guitarist left for a second time in September 1996, which resulted in the cancellation of Oasis’ remaining US tour dates.

With Gem Archer and Andy Bell replacing Bonehead and Paul McGuigan on guitar and bass respectively, Noel then walked out on the band again after yet another row with Liam, claiming that he’d never tour with Oasis overseas again. Calling upon the services of Mother Earth guitarist Matt Deighton for the remainder of tour, this meant that Liam Gallagher was the sole original member of the group!

Things finally came to a head on 28th August 2009 at the Rock en Siene festival in Paris. With just minutes to go before showtime, Noel finally quit the band after a violent backstage altercation with Liam. According to reports, the trouble started when Liam threw a plum at his brother’s head. Things soon escalated when Liam then started waving Noel’s guitar like an axe before smashing the instrument up. They haven’t spoken to each other since.

"No, get your own beer!"

Will Oasis get back together?

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are enjoying enormous success and Liam’s solo career has really taken off following the demise of the post-Oasis outfit, Beady Eye.

But according to Liam, Noel has been "begging" him to reform Oasis, a claim that's been shot down by the elder brother who said: "Sadly I think the other fella must have been on the leftover Christmas Babycham.

“For the record, until anyone hears it from ME, it’s not happening.”

Liam now claims that Noel has turned down a £100m offer to reunite. A disgruntled Liam tweeted: "It's still not enough for the greedy soul."

Liam has also called on Noel for a NHS reunion gig, saying it "will happen" with or without Noel. In April 2020, Noel discovered an old unreleased song called 'Don't Stop', and released it for the pleasure of Oasis fans everywhere.

WATCH: Noel Gallagher on why Oasis split up

Are Oasis vegan?

Judging by Noel Gallagher’s recent comments on veganism, we can safely assume not. Speaking with the Manchester Evening News, he said: “Vegans, what’s the point? It’s like, no animal products at all. These products would literally have f*g animals roaming around the world. Cows everywhere in the streets, sheep in the phone boxes.”

However, we’ve heard through the grapevine that Noel does make a rather tasty soup. And you get a roll with it.

WATCH: Liam Gallagher - His best interview ever?

Hear the biggest hits from Oasis on Absolute Radio. Listen to Absolute Radio now.

Now read:

Noel Gallagher: Everything you need to know about the Oasis legend

Liam Gallagher: From Oasis to Beady Eye to solo megastar

Liam and Noel Gallagher: Will an Oasis reunion happen?

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