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Oasis (band)

From Academic Kids

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Oasis as of 2005, left to right:Andy Bell, Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher and Gem Archer

Oasis are a best-selling rock and roll Britpop band, originally from Manchester, England.

The group rapidly shot to worldwide stardom in the early 1990s with a mixture of traditional British rock/pop that had lost momentum as per such movements as Shoegaze, House Music and Grunge.

With their mass-appeal melodies, 'indie' fashions, mop-top haircuts and arrogant swagger, Oasis very quickly established themselves as one of the most recognizable and iconic bands of the 1990s, especially due to the band's infamous behaviour on and off stage – including heavy drinking, drug abuse, violent confrontations with the media and public in-fighting &ndash The troubles and hype usually centred around the band's nucleus: warring brothers vocalist Liam and main songwriter Noel Gallagher. The band have undergone several lineup changes since being formed. The only original member of the very first Oasis lineup is Liam Gallagher.

Contents

History

Early years and breakthrough (1991-1994)

Noel Thomas Gallagher, who was born in Manchester, England in 1967, five years ahead of William John Paul Gallagher, better known as Liam Gallagher, who was born in 1972. The pair have an older brother, Paul.
(-) left to right: , , , ,
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(1991-1994) left to right: Liam, Guigsey, Noel, McCaroll, Bonehead

Having left school as soon as possible, Liam and Noel both drifted from job to job. In the early 1990s Liam's bass-playing school-friend Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan called on Liam to replace Chris Hutton as lead singer of 'The Rain', a guitar group named after the Beatles' B-side "Rain" and originally comprising McGuigan, Hutton, Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitars), and Tony McCaroll (drums).

Gallagher accepted, and quickly pushed for the band's name to be changed to Oasis, having seen the word on an Inspiral Carpets tour poster. The new band played their first gig in August, 1991, at the Boardwalk club in Manchester. Liam's older brother Noel Gallagher, who had recently returned from touring America ironically as a guitar technician/lackey for the Inspiral Carpets, came to watch his younger brother play. A few months later, the critical and cynical Noel, a keen guitarist and also a huge fan of The Beatles, was invited to join the band, agreeing under the condition that he would be the band's sole songwriter and leader, and that they would aim for the very top.

After gaining a loyal and vocal following on the local Manchester gig circuit, Oasis were famously signed to Creation Records by label owner Alan McGee immediately after a now legendary Glasgow concert in late 1993, where the band allegedly threatened the owner of the club until he let them play. This romantic tale is occasionally disputed. Following a limited white label release of their song "Columbia", the band released its first commercial singles, "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker," in the spring of 1994. Both hit national radio and were Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom.

In August 1994 their true breakthrough came with the melodic single "Live Forever," which was a UK Top 10 hit, and a high-profile incident on a ferry just outside Holland in which Liam and Guigsy were arrested for fighting and Bonehead and McCarrol were arrested for shoplifting. All four were refused entry to Holland. Soon after, Oasis released their highly-acclaimed debut album, Definitely Maybe, which entered the charts at #1 and became the fastest selling debut album in UK history. This was followed up by the catchy T-Rex riffing of "Cigarettes & Alcohol", which hit UK #7 that October.

The EP "Whatever" was released in December 1994 and saw the band in a transitional stage between the heavy sound of Definitely Maybe and the more mellow, string-laden psychedelic sound of their upcoming second album.

Britpop and the height of fame (1995-1998)

The year 1995 saw a minor setback to the Oasis lineup. During early recording for their second album, original drummer Tony McCaroll was kicked out of the band after a reports of scuffles with Liam and Noel. He was swiftly replaced with Londoner Alan White, whose brother Steve had drummed for Paul Weller and his Style Council.

(1995-1999) clockwise from left: Guigsy, Bonehead, Liam, Whitey and Noel
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(1995-1999) clockwise from left: Guigsy, Bonehead, Liam, Whitey and Noel

Oasis returned to recording their second album in Wales, and soon haf their first UK #1 with the first release from the album, "Some Might Say" (notably the only track with McCaroll's drumming), in early May 1995. During this period the British media steadily built up a career-making rivalry between Oasis and fellow "Britpop" luminaries Blur.

Whilst the rivalry was mostly fictional (although Noel took at times exception, famously wishing AIDS upon Damon Albarn and Alex James and later apologizing for this), it raised profiles of both bands. The background to the feud was simple: Oasis were the tub-thumping, unwashed people's band from the North of England, while Blur were by contrast a bunch of foppish, 'Mockney' art-school graduates from the outskirts of London in the South of England.

Meanwhile touring in USA, Guigsy, suffering from depression, briefly left and was replaced by Scott McLeod (Ex- The Ya-Yas). McLeod featured on some of the tours of Oasis and most notably in the "Wonderwall" video before he abruptly left without telling anybody. In order to complete the tour, Guigsy was implored to return the fold. The Gallagher brothers joked about this string of events during the tour, asking the crowd how they liked the new bassist. "He looks a bit like the old one, doesn't he?" Noel joked.

On Monday, August 14th, 1995, Blur and Oasis deliberately both released brand new singles on the same day, a hype tactic that dominated the week's news. Perhaps because it was more aggressively priced (99p vs 1.99), Blur's "Country House" eventually won the day over Oasis' "Roll With It" - selling 274,000 copies over the week to Oasis' 216,000. In the long run, however, Oasis' second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, crushed Blur's subsequent offering and at the time, and the album became the second-fastest selling album of all-time in the UK.

While its predecessor was hailed by many as having resurrected guitar rock, Morning Glory served as the breakthrough album that made Oasis international superstars, despite mixed and mildly disappointed press reviews upon its release. The music represented a definite change of pace from Definitely Maybe, with heavier guitar tracks being replaced with introspective, organic ballads in vein of 1960s British Invasion groups.

The album has to date sold 3 million copies in the UK alone and spawned two further hit singles in "Wonderwall", and "Don't Look Back in Anger" which reached number 2 and 1 respectively. As their rise to fame reached its zenith, Oasis performed back-to-back concerts at Knebworth Park on the 10th and 11th August 1996. The band sold out both shows within minutes, with tickets sold to an aggregate of 300,000 people for the two nights.

At the time, the ticket sales held the record for the largest outdoor concert ever held in the UK. Ex-Take That star Robbie Williams who befriended the Gallagher brothers during this period, eventually sold out three consecutive nights at the same venue in 2003 to break the record. The concert saw the group supported by The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Manic Street Preachers and others, was voted the third "greatest gig" of all time by readers of Q magazine in 2004, behind Radiohead's appearance at Glastonbury in 1997 and Nirvana's visit to the Reading Festival in 1992.

Oasis spent the rest of 1996 and the start of 1997 plotting their third album. Be Here Now was finally released, on a Thursday, unusually, in August 1997. Launched internationally by the hit single, and UK #1, "D'You Know What I Mean?", the album was perhaps their most anticipated effort. It was the subject of considerable media attention, if not record-company advertising and hype, a deliberate move. Anticipation culminated with the help of a documentary, "Right Here, Right Now", being screened by BBC1 on the eve of its release. The following day, it became the fastest-selling album in UK history, selling 423,000 units on day one: nearly 100,000 more than the previous album had managed in its first week. It also very nearly topped the U.S. charts later in the month.

Be Here Now's momentum carried on for the rest of the year, and it comfortably outsold Definitely Maybe worldwide, but failed to reach the heights of (What's the Story) Morning Glory. Although early media reviews seemed very promising, including a five-star appraisal in the respected UK magazine "Q", after the media frenzy settled, and prompted in part by Noel's public criticism of the album, critics and record buyers branded the record "bloated" and "derivative" compared to their earlier efforts. The publics attenion began to turn to other, more 'serious' UK acts such as Radiohead and The Verve during this period.

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the Gallagher brothers - Noel and Liam - in a rare moment of laughter

Shortly after its release, British music magazine Melody Maker published a gloating article claiming that Be Here Now was the album most sold to second-hand record shops. Perhaps worse still, the album sealed their fate in the US: Be Here Now remains the final Oasis album to go at least "gold" in America, thus boosting and effectively killing their Stateside presence in one fell swoop. The album has even been blamed by some for actually destroying the Britpop movement.

Even the Gallaghers have different opinions: Liam still staunchly defends Be Here Now, compared to Noel's public criticism of it, blaming it on indulgent, lavish overproduction, a blas attitude, a very high intake of alcohol and cocaine (allegedly the band were also taking drugs in the previous two sessions, but not ot the same extent), and a lack of time and care spent on writing the songs.

Johnny Depp, who is close friend of Noel, is credited with playing slide guitar on the track "Fade In-Out", because allegedly Noel was too drunk and high on cocaine to perform slide guitar on the recording, taped in Mustique. Noel Gallagher has admitted he did not play this part saying "I'll have to own up and say that's not actually me playing the slide part. That was the engineer, because no one in the band can play slide." Notably Depp, at the time, was overcoming himself his alcohol and drug addictions.

Not long after Be Here Now was released, a typical Oasis row dissolved the band's promotional tour for the album. After a memorable Yellow Submarine-inspired video for their fourth UK #1, "All Around The World", the group kept a relatively low profile throughout 1998, although a compilation of popular B-sides, The Masterplan, was released in autumn 1998 to critical acclaim. Tracks were voted by fans on the Internet, choosing from the extensive range of B-sides.

Later years (1999-)

In 1999, with the band beginning their fourth album, ex-drummer Tony McCaroll returned briefly to spotlight. He sued the band, claiming rights on some of the B-sides during Definitely Maybe-era, and later received half a million pounds of the sales from The Masterplan. The antics of the band regularly appeared British tabloid newspapers reporting the on-going rows, fistfights, cocaine and alcohol abuse.

During this testing time, founding guitarist "Bonehead" left the band after a series of violations of Noel's 'no drink or drugs'-policy for the album's sessions resulted in a confrontation between the two. Noel explained that as band members were trying altogether to keep his brother Liam from drinking and taking drugs so he could sing properly. Bonehead was violating these rules and taunted Laim by breaking into his room at night and pouring alcohol at Liam's head. One night, infuriated Noel gave Arthurs a taste of his own madicine by dragging him from his bed and pouring a bottle of red wine over his head. Arthurs was very angry and surprised, and left the band the next day. Finding the pressure of being in the band without his close friend too great, bass player "Guigsy" soon gave notice. Unlike the two Pauls, White elected to remain with the Gallaghers, waiting for replacements. Thus he, Liam and Noel had to re-record much of the album, because at the time of its release in February 2000, Guigsy and Bonehead were officially out of the band. Noel played all three guitar parts.

There followed speculation in the press about who would replace Bonehead and Guigsy. Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, former Jam frontman Paul Weller, and Ocean Colour Scene's Steve Cradock, who has worked with Noel before were all named. Two other possibilities were ex-Suede Bernard Butler, and former Stone Roses guitarist John Squire. Even ex-drummer McCaroll proposed to join them as a bassist, but he was ignored by the Gallaghers. In the end Bonehead and Guigsy were replaced respectively by former Heavy Stereo guitarist Colin Archer, better known as Gem Archer, and Andy Bell, formerly of Ride. Notably, Bell was guitarist in Ride and had never played bass in his life, when he was chosen by Noel as a replacement for Guigsy. With the demise of Creation Records, Oasis formed their own label, Big Brother, within the Sony group, to release their records in the UK.

Oasis's fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, was released in February 2000 to initially good first-week sales but yet again, mixed reviews. It was a rather experimental and flowery record: sonically crisp and well-planned out but departing perhaps too much from their familiar Britpop/rock style. To date, it remains their lowest-selling album worldwide, but it did spawn yet another UK #1 in "Go Let It Out".

(-) left to right: , Whitey, Liam, Noel and
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(1999-2003) left to right: Gem, Whitey, Liam, Noel and Andy

In spring/summer 2000, the 'new' band embarked on a world tour. In Barcelona, Spain, they were forced to cancel a gig last-minute because of a hand injury sustained by Alan White. As a result, the band spent the whole night drinking and heavily drunk Liam made an off-hand comment about Noel's then-wife Meg Mathews. This caused a row, which resulted in Noel jetting home immediately and announcing he was quitting overseas touring, with the band forced to count on their guitar technician Matt Deighton to complete the rest of the tour. After two months of on-going rumours about band's long-term future, Noel returned for the British leg of the tour, which culminated in a Wembley show. A live album of the show, called Familiar to Millions, was released in late 2000. Meanwhile broken marriages followed for Noel, White and Liam, who had married the actress/singer Patsy Kensit in 1997. Liam immediately started relationship with former All SaintsNicole Appleton.

In middle 2001 the band returned to work on their next record. Oasis' fifth album, Heathen Chemistry, was released in July 2002. The record retained a some of the experimental sound of the previous release and also borrowed heavily from traditional British sounds. Heathen Chemistry proved to be a much more democratic recording process for the band. Unlike albums of the past, Noel was not the sole, ruling songwriter. Liam, Andy and Gem also contributed offerings, and this, along with the lack of break-ups, fights, or drug abuse in the studio during recording, ultimately gave the record a more relaxed feel compared to past efforts. Johnny Marr provided additional guitar as well as backup vocals in several songs. While critics gave Heathen Chemistry lukewarm reviews, it was commerically successful and has sold 5 million copies up to date.

However the following tour, despite being successful, suffered some setbacks. In late summer of 2002, while the band was on tour in the United States, Noel, Andy and touring keyboardist Jay Darlington were involved in a car accident. While none of the band members sustained any major injuries, some shows were cancelled as a result.

Another major accident occurred in December 2002 when Liam, White, and three members of the band's entourage were arrested in Munich, Germany after being involved in a drunken fight at a local club. Liam was considerably inebriated when he scuffled with a several American Football stars – notably a 6'6" builder - known as "The Powderkeg" - causing him to lose his two front teeth. Liam the proceeded to jump on stag and kick a police officer in the groin. Two of the band's security guards sought serious medical attention. Consequently, 12 shows were cancelled thereafter due to Liam's condition (which caused 170,000 losses for the band) and two years later Liam was fined 45,000. After the end of the tour, the band spent the rest of 2003 out of the spotlight.

In early 2004 and after 9 years, Alan White left Oasis, just a month into recording the follow-up to Heathen Chemistry. Some stories claimed that his recurring tendonitis problems were to blame, and some accounts pointed the finger at him for the early internet leak of "Heathen Chemistry". His brother Steve White later unveiled the somewhat less exciting truth on his own web-site: Alan was just tired with being in Oasis and wanted some time off to be with his girlfriend. In a recent interview Noel confirmed his former bandmate personal problems: "He's fucking great guy and he's one of the best drummers I've ever met in my life, but his personal life is fucking chaos. In the end he fucked off and we haven't seen him since." This became the first of many setbacks in the recording of Oasis' sixth studio album as it resulted in scrapping the first sessions.

In June 2004, Oasis headlined the widely popular Glastonbury Festival for the second time in their career, where they debuted two brand new tracks - Gem's "A Bell Will Ring" and Liam's "The Meaning of Soul". The gig was met with poor reviews and has prompted Noel to say Oasis will never play at the event ever again, but it was notable for official introduction of drummer Zak Starkey, the son of the Beatles' Ringo Starr, who had actually debuted with the band at their low-key warm-up performance in Poole, Dorset two days previously. However, Starkey wasn't announced as the permanent replacement for White untilthe 28 May, 2005 when Noel Gallagher confirmed that the status of Zak Starkey in the band is that of a full-time replacement for Alan White, resurrecting the traditional five-member line-up. Gallagher said: "We have waited for so long to reveal it, not because we wanted to create a certain mystery, it's because he (Zak) had to resolve his contractual problems with the Who, with which he has played in the last years."

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(2004-) from left: Liam, Gem, Zak, Andy and Noel

In September 2004, the band released Definitely Maybe: The DVD in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album. The DVD contains an enhanced audio version of the album, four hours of live footage, and interviews with band members and the production team.

In May 2005 the band resurfaced after much recording turbulence with their sixth album Don't Believe the Truth. It featured the previous albums democratic songwriting duties with Liam contributing three songs, Gem one and Andy two. Noel, however, still had the lions share, writing five of the albums eleven tracks. The album has leaked a month before it actual release and was received extremely well by fans. Critics like AMG and RYM gave the album very positive reviews, claiming that the record is their best after (What's the Story) Morning Glory?.

The album signals the end of Oasis' current recording contract, leaving various major record labels, including EMI, V2 and former right-holders Sony to fight for Oasis rights. Despite that the band is far from their most acclaimed days, they aren't considered at all a spent force musically and this will ensue a big fight. According to industry insiders, it's possible that the Gallaghers could eventually sign a three album deal worth in the region of 15 million, and according to sources close to the band, the Gallaghers are keen to start all over again with their former boss Alan McGee and to form a similar label with a major one behind them. Rumours began to circulate after Noel's comments whilst accepting the "Best Music DVD" award at the NME Awards in London in February 2005, though Noel has claimed that this was not what he was referring to. As of middle 2005, it is still unknown when the brothers will resolve their contract, and on which label they will produce their future albums.

The usual sibling tensions erupted between the Gallaghers during the promotional tour for Don't Believe the Truth when Noel discovered that Liam was very drunk while on stage at the Ancienne Belgique in Belgian capital Brussels on Saturday 4 June. Reportedly, Noel was telling his brother to get his act together. The problems continued when Liam walked off stage, while singing "Champagne Supernova" at 13 June's Imola appearance at the end of the show. It appeared that there were no particular technical problems with the audio or any signs of sibling scuffles. The 50,000 strong audience did not seem too pleased about it and started pelting the stage with bottles and objects. Noel carried on alone singing "Little By Little" and "Wonderwall", before closing the gig with the usual "Don't Look Back In Anger". Rumors circulated that there might have been fans of other bands appearing that night who started the problem.

For their fans the bad publicity did nothing to extinguish their star power. Their third tour to Australia sold out shows in Melbourne and Sydney in a record 30 minutes after tickets went on sale. The band subsequently added second shows to keep up with the phenomenal demand for tickets from their allegiance of fans. This proved to the cynics that Oasis still have what it takes 12 years on despite Noel and Liams continuing and now legendary brotherly fueds. Subsequently, former rival Damon Albarn from Blur publicly admitted being jealous of Oasis ability to stay together following his own efforts to rekindle his relationship with former Blur guitarist John Squire, which ultimately proved futile.

Discography

Studio albums

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1. Definitely Maybe (August 30 1994) - #1 UK, #58 US - 10 million

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2. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (October 2 1995) - #1 UK, #4 US - 18.5 million

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3. Be Here Now (August 21 1997) #1 UK, #2 US, #1 CAN - 8 million

4. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (February 28 2000) - #1 UK, #24 US, #8 CAN, #12 AUS - 3 million

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5. Heathen Chemistry (July 1 2002) - #1 UK, #23 US, #5 CAN, #3 AUS - 5 million

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6. Don't Believe the Truth (30 May 2005) - #1 UK, #12 US, #3 CAN, #5 AUS

Compilations

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The Masterplan (B-sides compilation album) - (November 2 1998) - #2 UK, #51 US, #11 CAN - 2 million

Singles

Exclusive International Singles

Lives and Videos

Plaudits

Oasis are regularly voted towards the top of many "Greatest of all time" polls, some of which include:

  • Fastest selling album, Be Here Now, August 1997 - 695,761
  • Observer Music Monthly 100 Greatest British Albums poll, June 2004- #19 Definitely Maybe, #70 (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
  • Channel 4 100 Greatest Albums of All Time, April 2005- #6 Definitely Maybe, #15 (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
  • NME's 100 Best Albums of All Time, 2003- #13 Definitely Maybe, #37 (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
  • Q Magazine's 100 Greatest Albums of All Time, 2003- #8 Definitely Maybe, #22 (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
  • Q Magazine's 50 Greatest Bands List, 2004- #13 Oasis
  • Virgin Radio's 100 Greatest British Artists, 2003- #3 Oasis
  • Q Magazine's 100 Greatest Gigs, 2004- #3 Oasis- Knebworth 1996
  • Best British song of all time - Wonderwall

Band Members Over the Years

Breakthrough and uprising 1991-1994:

Britpop and the height of fame 1995-1998:

  • Liam Gallagher - Lead Vocals
  • Noel Gallagher - Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals/Backvocals
  • Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs - Rhythm Guitar. Replaced by Gem Archer in 1999
  • Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan - Bass. Replaced by Andy Bell on Bass in 1999
  • Alan White - Drums

Later years (1999-present):

1999-2003

  • Liam Gallagher - Lead Vocals
  • Noel Gallagher - Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals/Backvocals
  • Gem Archer - Rhythm Guitar/Backvocals
  • Andy Bell - Bass
  • Alan White - Drums. Replaced by Zak Starkey in 2004

2004-present

  • Liam Gallagher - Lead Vocals
  • Noel Gallagher - Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals/Backvocals
  • Gem Archer - Rhythm Guitar/Backvocals
  • Andy Bell - Bass
  • Zak Starkey - Drums

See Also

External Links

  • Oasis (http://www.oasisinet.com/) - official website.
  • Masterplan Forum (http://www.masterplanforum.com/) - fan forum with live concert downloads.
  • Live4Ever (http://www.live4ever.us) - Oasis Fan Site with large community and frequently updated site.
  • Oasis Fanatic (http://www.oasisfanatic.com) - Oasis Fanatic
  • German Oasis Fansite (http://www.oasisinet.de)

de:Oasis es:Oasis (grupo musical) fr:Oasis (groupe) is:Oasis it:Oasis no:Oasis ja:オアシス (バンド) nl:Oasis pt:Oasis fi:Oasis sv:Oasis he:אואזיס Template:Oasis

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