Oasis (band)

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Performers and composers

Singer Liam Gallagher (left) and guitarist Noel Gallagher of Oasis, live in 2005
Singer Liam Gallagher (left) and guitarist Noel Gallagher of Oasis, live in 2005
Background information
Origin Flag of England Manchester, England
Genre(s) Rock
Alternative rock
Psychedelic rock
Years active 1991–present
Label(s) Creation
Big Brother
Associated acts The Rain
The Who
Heavy Stereo
Website www.oasisnet.com
Liam Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
Gem Archer
Andy Bell
Zak Starkey
Former members
Alan White
Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan
Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs
Tony McCarroll

Oasis are a popular English rock band, formed in Manchester in 1991. Led by lead guitarist and primary songwriter Noel Gallagher and his younger brother, lead vocalist and songwriter Liam Gallagher, they are the most successful group to emerge during the Britpop movement of the mid- 1990s. In 2005, The Guinness Book Of Hit Singles And Albums declared Oasis the Most Successful Act of the Last Decade in the UK. Oasis have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and have had eight UK number one singles. The Gallagher brothers are the only remaining original band members, and the present lineup is completed by rhythm/lead guitarist Gem Archer, bass guitarist Andy Bell and drummer Zak Starkey.

Musically and lyrically, Oasis cite British Invasion bands such as The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks as their major influences. They also cite The Stone Roses, The Sex Pistols, The Smiths, The Jam and T.Rex as other key influences.

With the success of their critically acclaimed debut album, Definitely Maybe (1994), and its even more successful follow-up, the 19 million selling (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995), coupled with a rivalry with their contemporary Blur, Oasis attained fame in the mid-1990s, and became one of the leaders of the Britpop movement. The Gallagher brothers featured regularly in tabloid newspaper stories, and cultivated a reputation as both bad boys and a band of the people.

At the height of their fame, Oasis' third album, Be Here Now (1997), reached #1 in the UK charts, #2 in the U.S. and also became the fastest-selling album in chart history, with almost half a million copies sold on the first day alone. However, as the decade ended, the initial praise the album received on its release vanished, and the band suffered a huge drop in popularity. In 2005, their sixth album Don't Believe the Truth was released becoming their best-selling and best-received album since the mid-90's, selling 65,000 records in the first week in the United States.


(1991–1993) Early years and breakthrough

Oasis evolved from an earlier band called The Rain, who took their name from a 1966 Beatles B-side. It comprised Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan ( bass guitar), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Tony McCarroll ( drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). When McGuigan invited school friend Liam Gallagher to join the group, Gallagher accepted, and quickly pushed for the band's name to be changed to Oasis. Although there have been many theories on where Liam got the name from, he got it from an Inspiral Carpets tour poster which was in his and Noel's bedroom. One of the venues on it was the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.

Oasis first played live in August of 1991 at the Boardwalk club in Manchester. Noel Gallagher, who had heard of Liam's involvement when he phoned his mother whilst on tour in Germany 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. Oasis under Noel Gallagher crafted their musical approach to rely on simplicity: with Arthurs and McGuigan restricted to playing barre chords and root bass notes, respectively, McCarroll playing basic rhythms, and the band's amplifiers turned up until the sound distorted, Oasis created a sound "so devoid of finesse and complexity that it came out sounding pretty much unstoppable."

After over a year of live shows, rehearsals and even taking the time out to record a proper demo (known as the Live Demonstration tape), the band's big break came May 31st when they were spotted by Creation Records co-owner Alan McGee. Oasis were invited to play a gig at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow, Scotland, by a band called Sister Lovers, who shared their rehearsal rooms. Oasis, along with a group of friends, found the money to hire a van and make the six-hour journey to Glasgow.

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Oasis original line-up, 1991-1995: Tony McCarroll, Paul Arthurs, Liam Gallagher, Paul McGuigan and Noel Gallagher

When they arrived, they were refused entry to the club as they were not on that night's set list, but bullied their way in. They were given the opening slot and impressed McGee, who was there to see 18 Wheeler, one of his own bands, that night. McGee was so impressed by what he saw he signed the band to Creation four days later.

(1999–2003) Transitional stage

In early 1999 the band began work on their fourth studio album. First details were announced in February with Mark "Spike" Stent revealed to be taking a co-producing role. The majority of the album had been written by a now "clean" Noel Gallagher, who had quit taking cocaine in the summer of 1998. This was to have a major influence on the lyrical content of the album. Recording sessions began in the south of France in April, with everything believed to be have been going to plan. Behind the scenes, however, things were not going well and the shock departure of founding member Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs was announced in August. This 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 as "to concentrate on other things". However, Noel has since offered a contradicting version: that a series of violations of Noel's "no drink or drugs" policy (imposed by Noel so that Liam could sing properly) for the album's sessions resulted in a confrontation between the two. Oasis fans were given a further shock days later, as the departure of bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan was announced. McGuigan said later that the departure of his close friend triggered his own.

The now three-piece Oasis chose to continue recording the album, with Noel Gallagher re-recording most of Arthurs' guitar and McGuigan's bass parts. The hunt was also on for replacements for the two guitarists with such names as Bernard Butler, Johnny Marr, John Squire, David Potts, Gary "Mani" Mounfield and Steve Cradock all rumoured to be contenders to fill the positions. The first new member to be announced was new lead/rhythm guitarist Colin "Gem" Archer formerly of Heavy Stereo, who later claimed to have been approached by Noel Gallagher only a couple of days after Arthurs' departure was publicly announced. One of Archer's first roles was on November 5, 1999, where he took part in filming of the promo video for Oasis' new single, " Go Let It Out", which was the first single to be taken from their new album. David Potts, who was rehearsing at the time with the band, backed off because he thought he would be sacked soon and didn't want to play the bass. The band then drafted Andy Bell, former guitarist/songwriter of Ride and Hurricane#1 who was announced as their new bassist, a week later. Bell had never played bass before and he was obliged to learn to play it, along with a handful of Oasis' back catalogue of songs, in preparation for a scheduled tour of America in December 1999.

With the death of Creation Records, Oasis formed their own label, Big Brother, named after Noel, which released all of Oasis' records in the UK and Ireland.

Oasis' fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, was released in February 2000 to good first-week sales. However, the album was met with lukewarm reviews and seen as a small but noticeable departure from their traditional sound, with more experimental, psychedelic influences. To coincide with the general atmosphere of change surrounding the band, the cover of the album — an animated photo of New York — featured a new "Oasis" logo designed by Gem Archer and was also the first Oasis release to include a song written by Liam Gallagher, entitled "Little James". As of now, Standing is among the band's lowest-selling albums worldwide, although it did spawn another UK #1 with "Go Let It Out" , which is often used as an opener for Oasis gigs.

Image:Better late Oasis.jpg
Oasis circa 1999-2004. Left to right: Gem, Alan, Liam, Noel and Andy

After two months of ongoing rumours about the band's future after every such sibling brawl, Noel returned for the Irish and British legs of the tour, which included two major shows at Wembley Stadium. A live album of the first show, called Familiar to Millions, was released in late 2000 to positive reviews. The second Wembley show, which was broadcast to over a dozen countries, was a chaotic affair. Liam was clearly drunk, making several rambling statements, which included a derogatory announcement of his separation with his wife, Patsy Kensit and also at brother Noel. He also had trouble singing in tune and at times changed the words to certain lines and at other times did not bother to sing at all.

Along with Liam, Noel and Alan both ended their marriages during this period. Liam started a relationship with former All Saints member Nicole Appleton, who soon became pregnant with their son Gene. Noel started dating publicist Sara MacDonald and their relationship continues to this day, even though the pair broke up for a short time in 2002.

Throughout 2001, Oasis split time between sessions for their fifth studio album and live shows around the world. In January, the band played three festival dates in South America before returning to England for studio work. In May, the band travelled to North America for the month-long 'Tour of Brotherly Love' with The Black Crowes and Spacehog. Alan White missed the tour with a thumb injury, and was replaced by older brother Steve. Noel and Gem joined The Black Crowes on stage at the end of most shows, performing classic rock covers. The tour was followed by a June gig in Paris supporting Neil Young and July appearances at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan and a festival show in Bangkok, Thailand. In October, following two months of recording, Oasis performed six shows to sold-out venues in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Dubbed 'Ten Years of Noise and Confusion,' the shows celebrated the band's first ten years as a live act.

Heathen Chemistry, Oasis' first album with new members Andy Bell and Gem Archer, was released in July 2002. The record blended the band's sonic experiments from their last albums, but borrowed heavily from 1960s and 1970s English rock music. Liam, who was rapidly growing as a capable songwriter, wrote the hit single, " Songbird". Heathen Chemistry was also a much more balanced recording process for the band, with all of the members, apart from White, penning songs. This new working method, along with 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 a couple of songs, and while critics gave Heathen Chemistry lukewarm reviews, it was commercially successful.

After the album's release, the band embarked on a world tour that was successful but once again flavoured with incidents. In the US kick off Tour in Pompano Beach, Florida, vocalist Liam lost his voice on the third song, after a brief confussion on stage, Noel decided to go alone with the concert, performing most of the Masterplan album songs, it was considered a memorable concert for the fans. In late summer 2002, whilst the band was on tour in the US, Noel, Bell and touring keyboardist Jay Darlington were involved in a car accident in Indianapolis, IN. 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.

In December 2002, the latter half of the German leg of the band's European tour had to be postponed after Liam Gallagher, Alan White and three other members of the band's entourage were involved in a violent brawl at a Munich nightclub. All of the Oasis party were arrested and were only released after the band's management reportedly paid out around £170,000 in bail money. Police later said that Liam, White and members of the band's entourage had been drinking "very heavily". Tests also showed Liam had been taking cocaine as well. Two years later Liam was fined around £35,000, with part of the money going to an injured police officer, violently kicked in the groins by Liam. Liam lost two of his front teeth, while White had a brain scan, due to minor head injuries.

The band ended the year by embarking on a short UK arena tour. 2003 began with the release of "Songbird", the fourth single taken from Heathen Chemistry. It was the first Oasis single that hadn't been written by Noel Gallagher, and reached number 3 in the official UK charts in February. The band then ended the Heathen Chemistry tour in March by performing two shows in Dublin, before returning to Germany to play four rescheduled dates.

(2004–present) Resurgence in popularity

Oasis began recording a sixth album in late December 2003 with producers Death in Vegas at Sawmills Studios in Cornwall. The album was originally slated for a September 2004 release to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the release of Definitely Maybe. However, longtime drummer Alan White, who at this time had played on nearly all of the band's material, left the band in early January 2004. At the time, his brother Steve White stated on his own website that "the spirit of being in a band was kicked out of him" and he wanted to be with his current girlfriend. In subsequent interviews, Noel seemed to agree, saying that he has nothing against Alan, but the latter's personal life was impeding on his professional commitments with Oasis.

Recording sessions continued with drummer Terence Kirkbride, brought in temporarily, who only performed on the track "Mucky Fingers". Zak Starkey, drummer of The Who and the son of Beatles' Ringo Starr, was later asked by the band to join them in the sessions. He also played on the subsequent world tour as well as all of the band's music videos. However, as he is still unconfirmed as a bandmember, he was not featured on the album's sleeve and did not appear in promotional activities such as interviews and photo-shoots. Thus, for the first time in the band's career, Oasis appeared as an official four-piece. Starkey was invited to join Oasis full-time after the end of the band's tour in April 2006.

In June 2004, Oasis, with Starkey, headlined the Glastonbury Festival for the second time in their career and performed a greatest hits set, which included two new songs — Gem's "A Bell Will Ring" and Liam's "The Meaning of Soul". The performance received mixed reviews as the brothers were reprising their roles as brawling siblings. Liam, having problems with his singing, walked offstage at the end of the concert, and Starkey was still getting to grips with the songs, which he had only played publicly for the first time a couple of days previously at Poole Lighthouse.

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

Zak Starkey

After much turbulence, the band's sixth album was finally recorded in Los Angeles-based Capitol Studios from October to December the same year. Producer Dave Sardy took over the lead producing role from Noel, who decided to step back from these duties after a decade of producing leadership over the band.

In May 2005, after three years and as many scrapped recording sessions, the band released their sixth studio album, Don't Believe the Truth, fullfulling their contract with Sony BMG. It followed the path of Heathen Chemistry as being a collaborative project again, rather than a Noel-written album. It was also the band's first album in a decade not to feature the drumming of Alan White, with Zak Starkey taking his place. The record was generally hailed as the band's best effort since (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by fans and critics alike, spawning two UK #1 singles: " Lyla" and " The Importance of Being Idle" (the band's 7th and 8th #1 UK singles, respectively), whilst " Let There Be Love" entered at #2. Oasis picked up two awards at the Q Awards: one a special People's Choice Award and the second for Don't Believe the Truth as Best Album. Following in the footsteps of Oasis' previous five albums, Don't Believe the Truth also entered the UK album charts at #1. The three singles off that album were all hits in the UK and demonstrated the fact Oasis can still make the music and attract the fans 10 years after they were at their most popular.

In May 2005, the band embarked on a massive world tour — one of the biggest in their career. Beginning on May 10 at the London Astoria, and finishing on March 31, 2006 in front of a sold out gig in Mexico City, Oasis played more live shows than at any time since the Definitely Maybe tour of 1994–1995, visiting 26 countries, headlining 110 shows and playing to 1.7 million people. The tour passed without any major incidents and was the band's most successful in more than a decade. The tour included sold out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden and LA's Hollywood Bowl, two venues important to the Gallagher brothers because their idol, John Lennon, proclaimed them to be the two places a band must play if they visit the States.

Also in 2005, Oasis contributed to the original soundtrack of the film Goal! with a new song called "Who Put the Weight of the World on My Shoulders", written and sung by Noel Gallagher. The CD also contains a new version of " Cast No Shadow" completely re-recorded and produced by UNKLE which features Noel on vocals, as well as a remix by Dave Sardy of " Morning Glory".

In 2006, Oasis released a "Best-of" double album entitled Stop the Clocks, which featured what the band consider to be their "definitive" songs. Though the band didn't want to release a 'Best of', their contract with Sony Music had just expired, forcing a release against the band's wishes. In November 2006 the band released " Lord Don't Slow Me Down", a rockumentary film looking back at the 2005–2006 world tour. That same month, Noel and Gem, backed by Terry Kirkbride, began a short tour to promote Stop the Clocks. They have played around a dozen shows in various countries around the world.

On February 14, 2007, Oasis received the BRIT Award for outstanding contribution to music. After receiving their award, the band played a set consisting of " Cigarettes & Alcohol", " The Meaning of Soul", " Morning Glory", " Don't Look Back in Anger" and " Rock 'n' Roll Star".

Oasis' next album has been hinted at by Noel. In April 2007 issue of NME he claimed "The next one in theory is already written. I've got eight songs that I'm pretty happy with. I think Liam's got one or two that he thinks are brilliant. We're waiting for Gem and Andy. It's just a case of sitting down and saying, 'When do we want to do this?'". Recording sessions for new material will not commence until mid-2007 at the earliest, due to the absence of Starkey, who is touring with The Who until June 2007. Noel also said to NME that he is working on a solo album, which however was quickly dismissed by the band's official site, a couple of days later. Touring in the summer also isn't in the list, because the band are writing and demoing new material. Rumours of Gem and Noel participating in Glastonbury and the full band on Live Earth prove to be untrue.


The following is a list of only full length studio albums:

  1. Definitely Maybe - August 30, 1994
  2. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - October 2, 1995
  3. Be Here Now - August 21, 1997
  4. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants - February 28, 2000
  5. Heathen Chemistry - July 1, 2002
  6. Don't Believe the Truth - May 30, 2005

The band


  • Liam Gallagher – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, songwriting
  • Noel Gallagher – lead guitar, back-up vocals, lead songwriting, lead vocals
  • Colin "Gem" Archer – rhythm guitar, keyboards, lead guitar, back-up vocals, songwriting
  • Andy Bell – bass guitar, songwriting, lead guitar, keyboards
  • Zak Starkey (semi-official member) – drums and percussion

Live and temporary members

  • Jay Darlington – keyboards, hammond organ (2002–present)
  • Terence Kirkbride – drums and percussion (2004–present)
  • Steve White – drums and percussion (2001)
  • Scott McLeod – bass guitar (1995)

Past members

  • Alan White – drums and percussion
  • Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs – rhythm guitar
  • Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan – bass guitar
  • Tony McCarroll – drums and percussion

Awards and nominations

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