Oasis band

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Oasis are a British rock band, originally formed in Manchester. They were one of the most prominent bands in the Britpop movement which emerged in the UK as a reaction to Grunge and House music in the mid-1990s. Oasis achieved international fame in the mid 1990s. Musically, they cite bands such as The Beatles, Slade, The Stone Roses, The Kinks and T.Rex as influences.

The band is led by lead guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Noel Gallagher and his younger brother, vocalist/songwriter Liam Gallagher, who are also the only remaining original band-members.

They rose to prominence during 1994 when, in addition to the success of their debut album Definitely Maybe, the Gallagher brothers featured regularly in tabloid newspaper stories, with frequent reports of heavy drinking, drug taking and boisterous behaviour.

Oasis have outlasted many of their Britpop contemporaries. Blur, Suede, Pulp and other less successful groups have split up, or record only infrequently, while Oasis maintain a regular schedule of releases and touring.

With their records still topping the charts, and stadium gigs selling out in minutes, Oasis remain one of the most popular and beloved bands in the UK. Their latest album Don't Believe The Truth has largely been seen as a true return to form amongst fans and critics alike.

History

Early years and breakthrough (1991-1994)

Oasis evolved from an earlier band, The Rain, who took their name from a 1966 Beatles' B-side. The Rain comprised of Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass guitar), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Tony McCaroll (drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). When Guigsy invited school friend Liam Gallagher to join the group, Gallagher accepted, and quickly pushed for the band's name to be changed to Oasis.

Oasis first played live in August of 1991, at the Boardwalk club in Manchester. Noel Gallagher, who had recently returned from touring America as a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets, came to watch his younger brother play. A few months later he was invited to join the band. Although he had been critical of them, he agreed, with the provision that he would become the band's sole songwriter and leader, and that they would commit to an earnest pursuit of commercial success.

After gaining a loyal and vocal following on the local Manchester gig circuit, Oasis signed to Creation Records in late 1993. Following a limited white label release of their song "Columbia", the commercial singles "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker" were released in the spring of 1994. Both gained national radio airplay and were Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom.

In August 1994, their polished and melodic single "Live Forever," made the UK Top 10, and brought the band a measure of fame. Also around this time the band were involved in a high-profile incident on a ferry off the coast of the Netherlands. Liam Gallagher and McGuigan were arrested for fighting, whilst Arthurs and McCarroll were detained for alleged shoplifting. All four were subsequently refused entry to the Netherlands, and this incident became the first of many tabloid stories on the band. The publicity helped their debut album, Definitely Maybe, enter the charts at #1 in September 1994, and it became the fastest selling debut album in UK chart history.

More hit singles quickly followed. The October 1994 single "Cigarettes & Alcohol" reached #7 in the UK charts amidst controversy that its central riff directly plagiarised T.Rex's 1972 release "Get it On". The EP "Whatever" was released in December 1994, peaking at #3 in the UK charts and foreshadowing the band's move toward a mellower sound on the following album. That song, too, was the subject of accusations of plagiarism, and Neil Innes, formerly of the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, successfully sued on the basis that a substantial part of the melody was taken from his song How Sweet to be an Idiot.

Britpop and the Blur rivalry (1995-1996)

During early sessions for their second album, original drummer Tony McCaroll was sacked. Noel Gallagher has since claimed that his departure was a result of him not being technically good enough to play on more complex songs. There were also reports of scuffles with the Gallaghers. He was replaced with quiet Londoner Alan "Whitey" White, whose brother Steve had drummed for Paul Weller and his band Style Council. McCaroll later attempted to sue the Gallaghers over his sacking, citing breach of contract, but lost the suit on a technicality.

Oasis soon had their first UK #1 with the first single from their second album, "Some Might Say" (the only track on the second album to feature McCaroll's), in late April 1995. During this period, the British media seized upon a supposed rivalry between Oasis and fellow Britpop band Blur. Noel Gallagher played along, telling The Observer that he hoped Damon Albarn and Alex James of Blur would "catch AIDS and die." He subsequently apologised for this in a formal letter to Melody Maker magazine.

On Monday, August 14, 1995, Blur and Oasis released new singles on the same day, setting up a "Battle of the Bands" that dominated the week's music news. Perhaps in part because it was more cheaply priced (99p vs £1.99), Blur's "Country House" outsold Oasis' "Roll With It" 274,000 copies to 216,000 during the week. An alternative explanation given at the time was that there were problems associated with the barcode on the 'Roll With It' single case, which did not record all sales. Nonetheless, Oasis' second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? became the second largest selling album of all-time in the UK.

Although a softer sound led to mixed reviews, the album went on to sell over 18 million copies worldwide and spawned two further hit singles, "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back In Anger", which reached numbers 2 and 1 respectively. The album's opening track "Hello", with its singalong chant, is a common feature of Oasis' live performances. It features a sample from Gary Glitter's 1973 Top 10 hit Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again.

As their career reached its zenith, Oasis performed back-to-back concerts at Knebworth on the 10 and 11 August 1996. The band sold out both shows within minutes - 250,000 people over 2 nights, at the time a record-breaking number for an outdoor concert held in the UK. This record was later broken by Robbie Williams who played to 125,000 each night over a 3 day period.

In September 1995, Guigsy briefly left the band on tour in the US, citing nervous exhaustion. He was replaced by Scott McLeod, formerly of The Ya-Yas, who featured on some of the tour dates as well as in the "Wonderwall" video before leaving abruptly. In order to complete the tour, Guigsy was successfully convinced to return to the band. "He looks a bit like the old one," Noel Gallagher joked when he reintroduced him to the press.

The recording and release of Be Here Now (1997-1998)

Oasis spent the end of 1996 and the first quarter of 1997 planning their third album. Be Here Now was released in August 1997, the band choosing to launch it on a Thursday rather than the traditional Monday. Preceded by the UK #1 single "D'You Know What I Mean", the album was perhaps their most anticipated effort, and as such became the subject of considerable media attention. Anticipation culminated with the screening of the documentary, "Right Here, Right Now" on BBC1 on the eve of the album's release. The attendant press attention and hype helped the album become the fastest-selling album in UK history (a record which still stands), selling 423,000 units on its day of release, and reached number 2 in the US album chart.

Be Here Now ultimately outsold Definitely Maybe worldwide but could not match the sales of (What's the Story) Morning Glory. Although early media reviews were positive, once the hype had died down, the album was later criticised as bloated and derivative by fans and critics, and Noel Gallagher himself later disavowed the album. Most of the critics focused on the extensive length of several songs, the heavier sound, and over production. Melody Maker later gloated that Be Here Now had become the album most frequently sold to second-hand record shops, ending the era of Oasis as media darlings. When an argument between band members interrupted the band's American tour of the album, the band nearly self-destructed.

After a Yellow Submarine-inspired video for their fourth UK #1, "All Around The World", the group kept a low profile throughout 1998, although a compilation of popular B-sides, The Masterplan, was released in autumn 1998. However, the band were surrounded with a media attention because of the bandmembers heavy cocaine and alcohol abuses. The wild sex life that Liam led, despite being married to Patsy Kensit, plus the frequent amusing scandals and brotherly brawls also were contributing factors to the undying hype, despite that the band didn't record material in the next year and a half.

Changing styles (1999-2004)

The recording of the fourth album also saw founding member Arthurs leave the band. His departure was reported at the time as amicable, with Noel stating that Arthurs wanted to spend more time with his family. Arthurs' statement clarified his leaving so as "to concentrate on other things"[1]. However, in a recent interview Noel has offered a contradicting version: that a series of violations of Noel's 'no drink or drugs' policy for the album's sessions resulted in a confrontation between the two. Finding the pressure of being in the band without his close friend too great, bass player "Guigsy" soon gave notice. White, however, elected to remain with the Gallaghers. Thus he, Liam and Noel had to re-record much of the album, with Noel playing all guitar and bass parts. Colin "Gem" Archer, formerly of Heavy Stereo, was brought in as guitarist while Andy Bell, formerly of Ride joined later on bass guitar. Bell had never played bass before and he was obliged to learn playing it as well as all Oasis songs of the back catalogue at the last minute before their starting tour.

With the death of Creation Records, Oasis formed their own label, Big Brother, named after Noel Gallagher, as a subsidiary label of the Sony group.

Oasis's fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants was released in February 2000 to good first-week sales. The album was greeted by lukewarm reviews, however, being seen as experimental, and a departure from their traditional sound, and as of 2005 it remains their lowest-selling album worldwide, although it did spawn another UK number 1 with "Go Let It Out".

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(1999-2004) left to right: Gem, Whitey, Liam, Noel and Andy

The spring of 2000 saw the new line-up embark on a world tour, which again proved eventful. In Barcelona they were forced to cancel a gig at the last-minute because of a hand injury sustained by Alan White. As a result, the band spent the whole night drinking, and a fight broke out between the Gallagher brothers. Noel then jetted home immediately and announced he had quit overseas touring. The band replaced him with guitar technician Matt Deighton to complete the remaining tour dates.

After two months of ongoing 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. Noel, White and Liam all ended marriages during this period. Liam, whose marriage to actress/singer Patsy Kensit had been well-known among tabloid readers, soon started a relationship with former All Saints' Nicole Appleton, who soon became pregnant with their son Gene.

In mid-2001 the band returned to work on their next record. Oasis' fifth album, Heathen Chemistry, was released in July 2002. The record retained an experimental flavour, but also borrowed heavily from traditional British sounds. Heathen Chemistry was also a much more balanced recording process for the band, with Liam, Andy and Gem all penning songs. This new working method, along with a less fighting and drug and alcohol abuse in the studio, ultimately gave the record a more relaxed feel compared to past efforts. Johnny Marr provided additional guitar as well as backup vocals on several songs, and while critics gave Heathen Chemistry lukewarm reviews, it was commercially successful.

Then the band embarked on a world tour that was successful but flavoured with incidents. In late summer of 2002, whilst 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. Liam also suddenly bolted offstage for no apparent reason during a show in Fukuoka, Japan, leaving Noel to take over vocal duties. It was the second Fukuoka show in three years that Liam failed to complete; over the years Oasis have developed a reputation for cancelling concerts or ending them prematurely on a whim.

In December 2002, whilst on the European leg of the tour, Liam and White, as well as three members of the band's entourage, were arrested in Munich after being involved in a drunken brawl at a local club. Liam was considerably inebriated and became involved in a scuffle with other drinkers. The scuffle saw Liam lose his two front teeth. He also jumped on the club's stage and kicked a police officer in the groin. As a result of the brawl, extremely drunk White had a brain scan in hospital afterwards and two of the band's security guards required serious medical attention. The altercations led to 12 shows being cancelled, the band incurring £170,000 in losses, and two years later Liam was fined £45,000, with part of the money going to the injured police officer. After the end of the tour, the band spent the rest of 2003 out of the spotlight.

A major line-up change occurred, after the band was enjoying times of stability in their lines. After nine years in the band, "original" drummer and longtime performer Alan White left the band in early 2004, the announcement coming just a month into recording the follow-up to Heathen Chemistry. Although various rumours have circulated regarding the reasons for White's departure, his brother Steve White stated on his own website that Alan was just tired with being in Oasis and wanted some time off to be with his girlfriend. This became the first of many setbacks in the recording of Oasis' sixth studio album, resulting in the scrapping of the first sessions.

After some time in the sessions, when Noel handled the sticks, the band decided to return to five-member line-up, so after some consideration trying Terry Kirkbride who played on one track on their next album, they settled on Zak Starkey - the son of the Beatles drummer Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) - current The Who-drummer, who also was performing with Johnny Marr and the Healers. Marr is a close friend of Noel, so he recomendeded Zak.

In June 2004, Oasis headlined the Glastonbury Festival for the second time in their career, and debuted two tracks - Gem's "A Bell Will Ring" and Liam's "The Meaning of Soul". The concert, although badly received, was their first major show, introducing their new drummer.

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.

Resurgence (2005-)

In May 2005 the band resurfaced after three years and three scrapped recording sessions with their sixth album Don't Believe the Truth. It featured the previous album's democratic songwriting duties with Noel contributing five songs, Liam three, Andy two and Gem one. The album was leaked on the internet a month before its actual release and was well-received by fans and critics alike. As of September, this album spawned 2 UK #1 singles with "Lyla" and "The Importance of Being Idle" topping the charts, and also entered the albums chart at #1. The sleeve of the new album is also more understated than earlier desings, subsequently emanating a different tone compared to the band's previous albums.

File:Oasis Noel and Liam WF.jpg
Liam and Noel Gallagher performing in 2005. Keyboardist Jay Darlington can be seen behind them

This album signalled the end of Oasis' current recording contract and Noel hinted that they won't renew their contract with Sony because of their pressure for putting Lyla as a first single. Following his comments whilst accepting the "Best Music DVD" award at the NME Awards in London in February 2005, speculation grew that they were seeking to work once again with former boss Alan McGee on a new label, albeit one with major backing. Noel has since claimed that this was not what his comments referred to.

June 2005 saw the band embarking on a huge international tour. The North American Tour began with a sold out concert in Toronto (voted the best concert of the summer by the Toronto Star).Oasis showed their appreciation to the crowd by playing a solid 1.5 hour set. They continued the tour with two large gigs in the USA; at Madison Square Garden, where 16,000 seats were sold within the first hour; and at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts where the band played to their largest audience of any tour in the United States, with 20,000 in attendance. There was also some crowd trouble at their acclaimed televised Manchester homecoming gig when a crowd barrier was broken, and the 60,000 fans were forced to wait 25 minutes while the problem was fixed. In July 2005 the band announced that they would finish the year with four gigs in Ireland, two at Belfast's Odyssey Arena and two at Dublin's Point Depot, concluding on Thursday December 22.

In September 2005, Oasis contributed three new recordings to the soundtrack of the new UK movie, Goal! including a new song "Who Put The Weight Of The World On My Shoulders?" penned and sung by Noel Gallagher with Gem playing bass. The soundtrack was released on the bands own record label - Big Brother Records - and also contained a remixed version of "Morning Glory" as well as a re-recorded version of "Cast No Shadow" with Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez) contributing bass.

At the 2005 Q Awards Oasis led the way with 5 nominations including best live act, best album, best video and best act in the world today, along with best track for "The Importance of Being Idle". From those awards Oasis won 2, for best album and the people's choice award.

After much speculation, "Let There Be Love" has been announced as the third single taken from Don't Believe The Truth. It will come in CD, DVD,and 10" Vinyl. The CD will feature "Sittin’ Here In Silence (On My Own)" and "Rock & Roll Star" (Live Manchester Stadium July 2nd 2005). The DVD single will feature the "Let There Be Love" video, Oasis wallpaper, and a preview of Oasis' new DVD Lord "Don't Slow Me Down". The Vinyl will feature "Let There Be Love" and "Sittin’ Here In Silence (On My Own)".

Next album

Template:Future album In August 2005, only weeks before headlining the dual-venue V Festival, an interview with Noel [2] revealed that the band plan to release a second b-sides album in 2006, embracing material from the last three albums. It's unknown whether there will be a bitter lawsuit wrangling again for this b-side album, as drummer Alan White performed on the batch of these b-sides, but is out of the band as his forerunner McCaroll, who sued Oasis over rights of Definitely Maybe b-sides.

As contradiction to his earlier statement that the band won't release new material before 2007, he said later in October in an interview, however, that Oasis will release a non-LP single (their first since 1994's "Whatever") called "The Boy With the Blues" which was written by Liam. The single is expected early 2006.

It's possible yet unknown that the band release a new album next year, as Noel added they had plenty of other new material in hand, though he wasn't sure if it was destined for Oasis' next release.: "We've got about 11 pretty good songs for the next record that were left over from this one, but if we go into the studio I don't know if we're gonna go in there and say 'Right we're making an album'," he mused. "We're just going record the ones for this one that we didn't record in our own studio and see how it goes."

Discography

Studio albums

Compilations

Singles From Definitely Maybe:

Non-album single:

From (What's the Story) Morning Glory?:

From Be Here Now:

From Standing on the Shoulder of Giants:

From Heathen Chemistry:

From Don't Believe the Truth:

Non-album single:

Exclusive International Singles From (What's the Story) Morning Glory?:

From Be Here Now:

From The Masterplan:

Live Releases and Videos

Band Members Over the Years

1992-1994:

1995-1998:

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

1999-2003:

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

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Awards

1993

1994

  • Q Award for "Best New Act".

1995

  • Brit Award for "Best British Breakthrough Act"
  • Ivor Novello Award for "Songwriters Of The Year" to be shared with Blur.
  • NME 3 awards: "Best New Band", "Album Of The Year - Definitely Maybe" & "Single Of The Year - Live Forever".
  • Q Award for "Best Live Act".

1996

  • Brit Award 3 awards: "Best British Album - What's The Story (Morning Glory?)", "Best British Group" & "Best British Video - Wonderwall".
  • NME 4 awards: "Best Band", "Best Live Band", "Best Album - What's The Story (Morning Glory?)", "Best Single - Wonderwall".
  • Q Award for "Best Act In The World Today".

1997

  • NME Brat Awards 2 for "Best Musical Event - Knebworth" & "Band Of The Year".
  • Q Award for "Best Act In The World Today".

1998

1999

2000

  • NME for "Hero Of The Year - Liam Gallagher".
  • Q Award for "Best Live Act".

2001

2002

2003

  • NME 3 awards for "Best UK Band", "Artist Of The Year" & "Best Haircut - Liam Gallagher".

2004

2005

  • NME award for "Best Music DVD - Definitely Maybe"
  • 2 Q Awards for "Best Album - Don't Believe the Truth" and "People's Choice Award"

Famous support acts

Over the years Oasis have always managed to bring well-known bands on as support acts for their live shows, the most memorable time was Knebworth. Here are some of the acts:

Plaudits

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

  • 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
  • SPIN Magazine's Top 100 Albums 1985-2005- #28 Definitely Maybe
  • Q Magazine's 50 Best British Albums Ever, July 2003- #1 Definitely Maybe


Trivia

  • Of the 8 UK Number 1s in Oasis' history, none have spent longer than a week at the top of the chart summit.
  • Oasis have released a staggering 21 singles in their 12 year history
  • Oasis' current drummer, Zak Starkey, is the son of Beatles legend Ringo Starr
  • In 2005, when he turned 65, Ringo Starr said that Oasis were the one band of the last 20 years that he enjoyed listening to, and even more now, especially when his beloved son is drumming with them.
  • Since August 8th, 1994, every Oasis single has managed to hit the top 10, and since December 19, 1994 every Oasis single has managed to hit the top 5.

See also

External links


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