Published Sep 28, 2016Oasis were arguably the most successful and influential British band over the past 25 years, selling more than 77 million albums worldwide and spawning countless copycat bands. But even bigger than the sales and impact they've had is the personalities and egos of the Gallagher brothers — Noel and Liam.
This month's Exclaim! Timeline tells the story of the two Gallaghers and their tremendous journey during the mid- to late '90s to become the biggest band in the world. They won the Britpop battle, performed one of the biggest concerts on British soil, and consistently provided tabloids and music press with some of the greatest trash talking ever documented.
While the Timeline is currently available only in the print edition of Exclaim!'s latest issue, here are some highlights to tide you over.
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About Oasis:
1. When Noel Gallagher joined Oasis he bullied his way into becoming the band's principal songwriter.
After seeing Oasis perform their first ever gig, Liam asks Noel to become the band's manager but instead he demands to take over lead guitar and the songwriting. The band's Guigsy recalls the experience to Mojo: "After about half an hour, [Noel] said, 'I'll go and get my guitar.' Then he came down and said, 'Your tunes are shit. I'll show you some tunes.' Everybody knew he was into playing guitar, but he'd never been in a band in his life. Then he said, 'Right, I'll be in charge.'" Noel tells Behind the Music, "The stuff that Liam was writing was just awful. Fucking shocking. I mean, seriously. If you think, right, that some of my stuff is fucking bad, you really won't want to hear the stuff they were coming up with before I joined the band."
2. During a trip to Amsterdam to play their first gig outside of the UK, members of Oasis got into a scuffle with football supporters and they were deported — all except Noel.
In February, the band are scheduled to play their first gig outside of the UK in Amsterdam supporting the Verve. During the cross-channel ferry trip, members of Oasis and a group of Chelsea FC supporters proceed to drink the boat dry. The two sides begin to have a "massive punch-up" and Liam, Bonehead, Guigsy and Tony are locked up in the brig; they are eventually deported back to England from Holland. Noel, who was asleep during the altercation, stays in Amsterdam to hang out with the Verve.
3. Noel was the target of two onstage assaults: one in Newcastle, the other in Toronto.
At a 1994 gig in Newcastle, Noel is attacked by a stage invader and the show is abruptly ended. Noel later tells Mojo: "I looked up and there was this guy stood right in front of me, and he fucking smacked me right in the eye, nearly took my eye out with a sovereign ring he was wearing. I just took me guitar off and belted him across the head with it, and then he got dragged into the crowd. Me and Our Kid, like a pair of idiots, jumped straight in and it all went off, fucking proper. I had blood all over the place, there as no way I was going back on."
In September 2008 during a performance at the V Festival in Toronto, Noel is pushed from behind by a stage invader and falls hard on his monitor. The attacker then lunges for Liam but he is tackled by security. Noel suffers three broken ribs but finishes the gig before being taken to hospital. Footage of the attack goes viral online and Oasis are forced to cancel a number of concerts.
Liam tells Sky News, "It's not nice when you look down and see your brother on the deck. If it was up to me, I'd have cut his [the attacker's] dick off and made him eat it." The attacker, Daniel Sullivan, later pleads guilty to assault causing bodily harm and admits he was drunk at the time. Sullivan is eventually receives a conditional sentence of 12 months to be served in the community not in custody. During the sentencing, the court is read a statement prepared by Noel that reads, "I would describe the impact and shock as feeling as if I had been hit by a bus. I ended up in a heap. I have been told that I will never really recover from the damage, and still feel painful twinges. The emotional impact it had was essentially coping with the pressure to perform so as not to let the band down. For a considerable period I was operating at 50 percent of my capabilities."
4. Oasis's third album, Be Here Now, has earned a reputation over the years as the band's "cocaine album." Noel confirms the album was made after consuming heaping portions of the white stuff and suggests listening to it with a "bag of fucking charlie."
Early reviews of Be Here Now by the UK press are positive, but over time the album is remembered for being the self-indulgent, over-ambitious, bloated and drug-fuelled effort that killed off Britpop. Noel himself goes on to repeatedly pan the album over time. In the 2003 documentary, Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop, he blames the mountainous supply of cocaine the band had at their disposal. "It's the sound of ... a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck," he says. "There's no bass to it at all; I don't know what happened to that ... And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there's a fuckin' guitar riff in there in a Wayne's World stylie." Noel later tells the NME that the only way to listen to the album is "accompanied with a crate of beer and a bag of fucking charlie, and don't be making any plans for the next couple of days. That's the spirit in which it was intended. And if you listen to it in that spirit, it might be the greatest album of all time."
5. Oasis broke up partially because Liam threw a plum at Noel's head.
In Paris, the brothers get into a fight backstage before their performance at the 2009 Rock en Seine festival. Liam reportedly tries to take Noel's head off by swinging a guitar at him, then throws a plum at Noel. That night Noel posts a message on the band's website that he is done with Oasis: "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with [singer, his brother] Liam a day longer." He further elaborates that "The details are not important and of too great a number to list. But I feel you have the right to know that the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable. And the lack of support and understanding from my management and band mates has left me with no other option than to get me cape and seek pastures new."