Noel Thomas David Gallagher (born 29 May 1967) is an English musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist. He served as the lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the rock band Oasis. Raised in Burnage, Manchester, Gallagher began learning guitar at the age of thirteen. After a series of odd jobs in construction, he worked for local Manchester band Inspiral Carpets as a roadie and technician in 1988. Whilst touring with them, he learned that his brother Liam Gallagher had formed a band of his own, known as The Rain, which eventually took on the name Oasis. After Gallagher returned to England, he was invited by his brother to join Oasis as songwriter and guitarist.
Oasis‘ debut album, Definitely Maybe (1994), marked the beginning of the band’s rise to fame as part of the Britpop movement. Oasis’ second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995), reached the top of the album charts in many countries and their third studio album, Be Here Now (1997), became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history. Britpop eventually declined in popularity and Oasis’ next two albums failed to revive it. However, the band’s final two albums, Don’t Believe the Truth (2005) and Dig Out Your Soul (2008), were hailed as its best efforts in over a decade and found renewed success. On 28 August 2009, following an altercation with Liam prior to a gig in Paris, Noel Gallagher announced his departure from Oasis and on 23 October 2009, he confirmed he would embark on a solo career. Gallagher would go on to form Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
Gallagher’s run with Oasis was marked by turbulence, especially during the peak of Britpop, during which he was involved in several disputes with Liam, and the brothers’ fights and wild lifestyles regularly made headlines in British tabloid newspapers. Gallagher (along with Oasis) also shared a personal rivalry with fellow Britpop band Blur. However, he was often regarded as the spear-head of the Britpop movement, and at one point of time, NME termed a number of Britpop bands (including Kula Shaker, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast) as “Noelrock”, citing Gallagher’s influence on their success. Many have praised Gallagher’s songwriting, with George Martin claiming him to be ‘the finest songwriter of his generation’. In 2012, he was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life.[Conversely, he has been named as one of the most overrated guitarists in popular music.
Gallagher was born in Longsight, Manchester, the son of Irish parents Peggy and Thomas Gallagher. He was the couple’s second child, after the birth of Paul Anthony Gallagher. Soon after the birth of younger brother Liam in 1972, the Gallaghers moved to Ashburn Avenue in the Manchester suburb of Burnage..Gallagher had an unhappy childhood. He and his brothers were often beaten by their father, who was an alcoholic,] and he was often reclusive. Liam described him as “the weirdo in the family”. Due to their unease around their father, he and Paul both developed stammers. As the oldest child, Paul was given a room to himself, and Noel was forced to share with Liam.
Peggy Gallagher acquired a legal notice of separation from her husband in 1976. Six years later, she finally left him, taking the three boys with her.[As teenagers, the Gallagher brothers (especially Noel) were regular truants, often getting into trouble with the police. When his mother took a job working in the school canteen, Gallagher ensured that he stopped by to visit her during lunch before skipping the rest of the day. He was expelled from school at the age of 15 for throwing a bag of flour over a teacher. He used to hang around with the football hooligan firms Maine Line Crew, Under-5s, and Young Guvnors in the 1980s,[ and at the age of 13, he received six months’ probation for robbing a corner shop.It was during this period of probation, with little else to do, that he first began to teach himself to play a guitar his father had left him, imitating his favourite songs from the radio. Gallagher was particularly inspired by the debut of The Smiths on Top of the Pops in 1983, performing their single “This Charming Man”. He later reflected that “from that day on … [he] wanted to be Johnny Marr”. He also appeared (and scored) for Manchester Gaelic football outfit CLG Oisín at Croke Park, Dublin in 1983.
As teenagers, the Gallagher brothers maintained limited contact with their father in order to secure jobs in construction. However, the relationship between father and sons continued to be tempestuous; Gallagher said that “because we were always arguing we’d still be working at nine o’clock every night”. Having left his father’s building company, he took a job at another building firm sub-contracted to British Gas. There he sustained an injury when a heavy cap from a steel gas pipe landed on his right foot. Following a period of recuperation, Gallagher was offered a less physically demanding role in the company’s storehouse, freeing up time for him to practise guitar and write songs. He claimed to have written at least three of the songs on Definitely Maybe in this storehouse (including “Live Forever” and “Columbia”). He later called the storehouse “The Hit Hut” and claimed the walls were painted gold. Much of the late 1980s found Gallagher unemployed and living in a bedsit, occupying his time with recreational drug use, songwriting, and guitar playing. He is left-handed, but plays right-handed.
In May 1988, Gallagher met guitarist Graham Lambert of Inspiral Carpets during a Stone Roses show. The two struck up an acquaintanceship and he became a regular at Inspiral Carpets shows. When he heard singer Steve Holt was leaving the band, Gallagher auditioned to be the new vocalist. He was rejected, but became part of their road crew for two years. Singer Tom Hingley said Gallagher owes his own career to the band, since “his business sense, work ethic, message, and humour are Inspiral down to the core”. He struck up a friendship with monitor engineer Mark Coyle over their love of The Beatles, and the pair spent soundchecks dissecting the group’s songs.
Career with Oasis
Joining the band
In 1991, Gallagher returned from an American tour with the Inspiral Carpets to find that his brother Liam had become a singer with a local band called The Rain. He attended one of their concerts at Manchester’s Boardwalk, but was unimpressed by the group’s act. After rejecting an offer from Liam to be the band’s manager, Gallagher agreed to join the band, on the condition that he take creative control of the group and become its sole songwriter. According to another source, Gallagher told Liam and the rest of the group after having heard them play for the first time: “Let me write your songs and I’ll take you to superstardom, or else you’ll rot here in Manchester”. His control over the band in its early years earned him the nickname “The Chief”.
In May 1993, the band heard that a record executive from Creation Records would be scouting for talent at King Tut’s in Glasgow. Together, they found the money to hire a van and make the six-hour journey. When they arrived, they were refused entry to the club because no one notified the venue that Oasis had been added to the bill. The band eventually secured the opening slot and played a four-song set that impressed Creation founder Alan McGee
McGee then took the Live Demonstration tape to Sony America and invited Oasis to meet with him a week later in London, at which point they were signed to a six-album contract. Gallagher has since claimed that he only had six songs written at the time, and has put his success in the interview down to “bullshitting”.However, McGee believes that when they met, Gallagher had fifty or so songs written, and merely lied about how prolific he had been following the contract. Richard Ashcroft was so impressed with Oasis during the time, that he invited them to tour with his band The Verve as an opening act.
Gallagher claimed to have written Oasis’ first single, “Supersonic”, in “the time it takes to play the song.” “Supersonic” was released in early 1994 and peaked at No.31 on the official UK charts. The single was later followed by Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe, which was released in August 1994 and was a critical and commercial success.
It became the fastest-selling debut album in British history at the time, and entered the UK charts at number one.[ Despite their rapidly growing popularity, Gallagher briefly left Oasis in 1994 during their first American tour. The conditions were poor, and he felt the American audience—still preoccupied with grunge and metal—did not understand the band. Gallagher stated that his early songs, especially “Live Forever”, were written to refute grunge’s pessimism. Tensions mounted between him and Liam, culminating in a fight after a disastrous L.A. gig. Having effectively decided to quit the music industry, he flew to San Francisco without telling the band, management or the crew. It was during this time that Gallagher wrote “Talk Tonight” as a “thank you” for the girl he stayed with, who “talked him from off the ledge”. He was tracked down by Creation’s Tim Abbot and during a trip by the pair to Las Vegas, Gallagher decided to continue with the band. He reconciled with his brother and the tour resumed in Minneapolis.
Britpop and the height of fame
Gallagher followed up the debut in 1995 with Oasis’ first UK number one single in “Some Might Say”. This preceded their second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, released later that year. Though it suffered initial critical apathy, the album became the second fastest-selling album ever in the UK, entering the UK album charts at number one and peaking at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart.
The success of Oasis and his newfound fame and fortune were not lost on Gallagher, and both he and his brother became famous for their “rock and roll lifestyle”. They drank heavily, abused drugs, fought fans, critics, peers, and each other, and made celebrity friends such as Ian Brown, Paul Weller, Mani, Mick Jagger, Craig Cash, Kate Moss and Johnny Depp. Gallagher spent extravagantly, buying various cars and a swimming pool, despite the fact he can neither drive, nor swim. He named his house in Belsize Park in London “Supernova Heights” (after the song “Champagne Supernova”), and his two cats “Benson” and “Hedges” after his favourite brand of cigarettes
Oasis went on to have greater success with their next two singles, “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” charting at number two and number one respectively; the former becoming their sole top 10 hit in the US. Originally, Noel had wanted to take lead vocals on “Wonderwall”, but Liam insisted on singing it. As compensation, he decided he would sing lead vocals on “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. 1995 also saw Gallagher play two songs for the charity album Help! : “Fade Away”, accompanied by friend and Oasis fan Johnny Depp and Depp’s then-girlfriend Kate Moss; and the Beatles’ 1969 hit “Come Together”, along with Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and others in a supergroup called Smokin’ Mojo Filters. He began collaborating with the Chemical Brothers, Ian Brown, the Stands, the Prodigy and Weller, amongst others. Gallagher became so influential that a June 1996 NME article argued that “If Noel Gallagher, the most successful songwriter of his generation, champions a group, then said group are guaranteed more mainstream kudos and, quite possibly, more sales. And since Noel has taken to championing only five or six groups, then it’s a powerful cabal he’s promoting.” The NME article grouped the bands Gallagher praised, including The Boo Radleys, Ocean Colour Scene, and Cast, under the banner of “Noelrock”. John Harris typified these bands, and Gallagher, of sharing “a dewy-eyed love of the 1960s, a spurning of much beyond rock’s most basic ingredients, and a belief in the supremacy of ‘real music'”
In March 1996, Gallagher and his brother Liam met their father again when the News of the World paid him to go to their hotel during a tour. He left for his room, later commenting “as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t got a father. He’s not a father to me, y’know? I don’t respect him in any way whatsoever”.] In August 1996, Oasis sold out two nights at Knebworth, playing to over 250,000 fans. Following the worldwide success of Morning Glory?, Be Here Now (1997) became Oasis’ most eagerly anticipated album to date. As with the previous two albums, all the tracks were written by Gallagher. After an initial blaze of publicity, positive critical reviews, and commercial success, the album failed to live up to long-term expectations, and public goodwill towards Be Here Now was short-lived. The album was ultimately regarded by many as a bloated, over-indulgent version of Oasis, which Gallagher has since blamed on the drug-addicted state and indifference of the band at the time.[While the album was a record breaker, selling 660,000 copies in seven days, Gallagher has critical of the album’s popularity, saying: “Just because you sell lots of records, it doesn’t mean to say you’re any good. Look at Phil Collins.>
Gallagher began to suffer drug-induced panic attacks during this period. His depression and paranoid well-being inspired the song “Gas Panic!”, subsequently included on the 2000 album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. He claimed to have quit using illicit drugs on 5 June 1998. Gallagher stated in 2001, “I liked drugs, I was good at them. But I’d had panic attacks for about a year and I stopped because I wanted to. After you make the decision, it is quite easy.” Between 1993 and 1998, Gallagher claims, “I can hardly remember a thing.”
After the hype surrounding the release of Be Here Now had started to wane, critical response to the band became calmer and more considered, leading to a media backlash. In 1997, Gallagher was criticised for attending a high-profile and well-publicised media party at 10 Downing Street, hosted by the newly appointed Prime Minister, Tony Blair, along with other celebrities and industry figures who had supported New Labour in the run-up to the general election. Both brother Liam and Blur’s Damon Albarn declined their invitations, with Albarn commenting “Enjoy the schmooze, comrade.”The perception of Gallagher as someone now mixing with politicians—or, in particular, a famous photograph of him sipping champagne with Blair—conflicted with the “working class hero” status championed through songs such as “Up in the Sky”.
In 1999, rhythm guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs quit the band, with bassist Paul McGuigan following soon afterwards. As a result, the fourth studio album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, was recorded by just the Gallaghers and drummer Alan White, with Gallagher playing all guitar parts. He later commented on Bonehead’s departure, “It’s hardly Paul McCartney leaving the Beatles, is it?”. After the recording sessions were completed, Gallagher selected Gem Archer to join in place of Bonehead.
Later that year Alan McGee decided to leave Creation and sold the rest of his 51% stake in the label to Sony. Gallagher took this opportunity to set up Big Brother Recordings, which took over Oasis’ distribution in the UK, but Sony imprint Epic Records continued to handle the band’s international distribution. Around the time of the album’s release, Andy Bell, formerly of Ride, joined the band as bassist. In 2001, Gallagher formed his own label, Sour Mash Records, which released records by the likes of Shack and Proud Mary. The incorporation of the label followed Gallagher’s debut as a producer, working with Proud Mary on their debut, The Same Old Blues.
In late 2006, Gallagher toured the UK, Europe, Japan, America and Australia in a series of acclaimed intimate semi-acoustic gigs accompanied by Gem Archer and Terry Kirkbride on percussion. The show proved successful and a further series of sets took place in 2007. March 2007 saw Gallagher perform in Moscow—the first time an Oasis member has performed in Russia.[Yet Gallagher dismissed claims that he was planning to embark on a solo career. In early 2007, Gallagher joined the rest of Oasis to collect the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” Award at the Brit Awards 2007.
Gallagher, along with the band recorded their seventh studio album between 2007 and the next year at Abbey Road Studios and in Los Angeles, and started at the end of the summer of 2008 a tour that lasted 12 months.
In March 2009, The Times in conjunction with iTunes released a selection of live recordings by Noel Gallagher taken from his semi-acoustic performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 March 2007 in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. The Dreams We Have as Children features classic and rare tracks from the Oasis canon along with several cover versions of some of Gallagher’s favourite artists.
Departure from the band
On 28 August 2009, he quit Oasis after a fight with his brother, Liam. A little before midnight on Friday Gallagher posted a statement on his message board called “Tales from the Middle of Nowhere” on the band’s website announcing his departure.
Gallagher’s first concerts without Oasis were announced on 1 February 2010 to be at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 25 and 26 March 2010 for Teenage Cancer Trust . He was supported by the Courteeners and Plan B respectively. Terry Kirkbride and Gem Archer joined him on-stage,[as did Jay Darlington,[all of whom Gallagher had previously worked with while he was still a member of Oasis. He played a mostly acoustic set, and played a variety of Oasis album tracks and B-sides.[ It was almost the same set he played at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007.[ Gallagher also joined friend Paul Weller onstage in London on 21 April 2010, and played the Oasis song “Mucky Fingers” and a song he co-wrote with Weller, “Echoes Round the Sun”.
Returning to the studio
Gallagher confirmed that he would be returning to the studio in August 2010 to record drums for an unnamed artist, later confirmed to be Paul Weller. He also denied rumours that he would be the Best Man for Russell Brand’s marriage to Katy Perry. In August, it was mentioned on a UK Music blog, Sourmash Music, that Gallagher had been working with Liverpool group the Sand Band. Lead singer David McDonnell has been co-writing with Gallagher and are looking to collaborate on future solo projects together.
On 24 November 2010, Miles Kane revealed that Gallagher sang on a track from his debut solo album entitled My Fantasy. Kane also revealed that he will appear on Gallagher’s forthcoming album, playing guitar.
On 10 February 2011, Gallagher stated he had “not even started” his first solo record, despite Liam rumouring that he ‘swiped’ material from the Dig Out Your Soul sessions. “I am not recording new stuff, not just yet,” he said to Talksport. “It’ll be out when it’s finished I guess. Well I’ve not even started it, so I don’t know.”
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds released a self-titled album on 17 October 2011; a collaboration album with Amorphous Androgynous was to be released in 2012 but has now been shelved indefinitely. He began touring in Dublin on 23 October 2011. The touring band announced for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds comprised David McDonnell (guitar), Russell Pritchard (bass), Mikey Rowe (keyboards) and Jeremy Stacey (drums); McDonnell left during rehearsals and was replaced before the tour with Tim Smith who had played with Rowe and Stacey previously. On 20 July 2011, Gallagher released a 47-second trailer of his first single “The Death of You and Me”. The video for the debut single was released on 25 July at 8:21 am (GMT).
Following the self-titled debut, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds released their second album Chasing Yesterday March 2, 2015.
In 2016 Gallagher co-wrote “Birth of an Accidental Hipster” with Paul Weller for The Monkees.
Noel Gallagher has confirmed he is working on High Flying Birds’ third album.
When promoting his debut album Everyday Robots, in an interview with NME, Damon Albarn hinted at a collaborative project with Gallagher. Despite the years of animosity during Blur and Oasis’ respective heyday, Albarn said: “We’re talking. It’s not anything to get excited about yet. I mean, he’s doing his thing. He’s finishing a new record. I’ve got my record coming out, but the principle of us making music together is something, you know. It would be fair to say, we have discussed it at least once.”
In March 2015, Gallagher revealed that he was considering retirement from live shows within the following 10 years. He stated: “It’s not fun being on a bus for six weeks in America. It’s fine when you’re young, but I’m almost 50”
At the age of 18, Gallagher became engaged to his then-girlfriend Diane, but they never married and eventually separated. In 1988, he moved out of his family home to live with Louise Jones, whom he described as his “soulmate” and for whom he wrote “Slide Away”. They had an on-again, off-again relationship before finally separating in June 1994, with Gallagher stating, “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.”
In June 1997, Gallagher married Meg Mathews in Las Vegas, Nevada. He had met her in 1994 through her roommate, MTV presenter Rebecca de Ruvo, whom he was dating at the time and whom he left for Mathews. Mathews gave birth to a daughter, Anaïs Gallagher, on 27 January 2000. Gallagher and Mathews divorced in January 2001 on grounds of his adultery with Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald. After the divorce was finalised, Gallagher admitted he had only claimed to have cheated in order to speed up the divorce process and that he had never actually been unfaithful.
Since his separation from Mathews, Gallagher has been in a relationship with MacDonald, whom he met at club Space on Ibiza in June 2000. He wrote “Waiting for the Rapture” about their meeting. They have two sons, Donovan Rory MacDonald Gallagher (born 22 September 2007)[ and Sonny Patrick MacDonald Gallagher (born 1 October 2010). Gallagher and MacDonald were married on 18 June 2011 in a private ceremony at the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest National Park. Gallagher’s best friend Russell Brand was best man at the wedding.
He was a frequent guest on The Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 2, appearing on almost every show, leading Brand to dub him an unofficial “Co presenter”. He is also a regular on the digital radio sports show, “TalkSPORT”] Other notable friends of his are, Mani of the Stone Roses, Richard Ashcroft of the Verve – for whom he dedicated a song, “Cast No Shadow”, the band members of the Chemical Brothers, – Sex Pistols members John Lydon[ and Steve Jones the members of the rock band Kasabian,[ Andy Nicholson,[boxer Ricky Hatton,[ Paul McCartney, former Liverpool F.C. footballer Jamie Carragher, Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland of Coldplay, Johnny Marr, Morrissey, Bono, Paul Weller, Ian , John Squire, Lee Mavers, Craig Cash, Kelly Jones and Johnny Depp (who played slide guitar on the OBrownasis song Fade In-Out).He was also good friends with Kate Moss who used to stay with him when she was visiting London.[ In 2001 he was reported to have an estimated personal fortune of £25 million.[ In 2009, The Sunday Times Rich List estimated he and Liam’s combined personal fortune at £52 million.
Gallagher is a fan of football, being a lifelong Manchester City F.C. supporter (Gallagher admitting he “cried like a baby” when City won the Premier League title).[He is a friend of former City midfielder Joey Barton, as well as Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero, who described Gallagher as Italy’s “lucky mascot” during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and appears in the Oasis video “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”.Gallagher along with Kasabian lead guitarist Sergio Pizzorno took part in drawing teams for the FA Cup third round in 2011. Coincidentally Pizzorno drew his hometown team Leicester City with Gallagher’s Manchester City for the Third round tie in which both teams drew 2-2 and Manchester City preceded to win 4-2 in the replay. He participated in the unveiling of Umbro sponsored football kits with captain Vincent Kompany. In the advertising campaign, the two men are pictured wearing the new Manchester City home and away shirts for the 2012–13 season. Formerly, the footballer introduced Gallagher to 80,000 fans during Rock Werchter music festival in Belgium. Gallagher also supports the Republic of Ireland national football team and has said “I don’t consider myself to be English at all”. Nevertheless, he did serve as an official ambassador for England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Gallagher stated in a 2006 radio interview with Russell Brand that he does not believe in God or “an all-guiding force”. Despite this assertion, throughout his career, many of his songs have mentioned God (“Carry Us All”, “Gas Panic!,” “The Hindu Times” and “Little by Little”), and all the tracks he had contributed to Dig Out Your Soul, as well as the other bandmates’ songs, have lyrics and references to God and other biblical terms. Dig Out Your Soul has been described by Gallagher as a “religious Armageddon”. But in recent interviews for Dig Out Your Soul regarding religion, he stated “See, I don’t know what I am. If I was an atheist I’d just write songs about not believing in God – but I don’t know what I am.”
In 2008, it was announced that Gallagher would sell his home in Ibiza located near fellow musician James Blunt’s, saying while in Los Angeles on the Russell Brand BBC Radio 2 show that he “can’t stand living there in the knowledge that Blunt is nearby making terrible music”.
He was reportedly asked by Simon Cowell to be a judge on The X Factor after Dannii Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Cowell himself declined to participate in series 8, which Gallagher subsequently declined as well.
Songwriting and musicianship
Gallagher was the primary songwriter in Oasis, and on the group’s first few albums he was the sole songwriting contributor. He is often criticised for the praise he gives to his own songs. He points out “If you’d written ‘Live Forever’, you’d be walking to a different tune the next day too.”[ Gallagher has often been accused by critics of plagiarising the music of his heroes, but he has maintained outright homages in his music are his intention. In a 1996 Guitar World interview, he described himself as “a fan who writes songs” and stated, “I’m not saying, ‘I’m the greatest songwriter in the world. Listen to me.’ Usually, I’m saying, ‘These are the greatest songwriters in the world. And I’m gonna put them all in this song”‘. His response to critics about the topic of “blatantly pinching riffs” was, “No, I don’t feel guilty. But you feel pissed off because you didn’t do it first.”
Though naturally left-handed, Gallagher plays guitar right-handed, which he claims is the only thing he can do with his non-dominant hand. Gallagher has said he sometimes does not understand his own lyrics, commenting in 2005 that “when I’m halfway through ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ I say to myself. ‘I still don’t know what these words mean!'”] Gallagher has declared to be dyslexic, which slows down the process of his songwriting, nor can he read or write music.
Changing band dynamic
Gallagher’s role as chief songwriter for Oasis changed over time as he allowed a greater level of lyrical input from the other band members. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants included Oasis’ first ever album track written by his brother Liam. Heathen Chemistry included a further three tracks by Liam (including the single “Songbird”), one by Archer and one by Andy Bell. Don’t Believe the Truth featured another three tracks by Liam (though one of them, “Love Like a Bomb” was co-written with Archer), one from Archer, and two from Bell. The latter two albums have been greeted with increasing critical and commercial success in the UK, particularly Don’t Believe the Truth. Yet the second single from Don’t Believe the Truth, “The Importance of Being Idle” became the second Oasis track sung by Gallagher to top the UK charts and was named 2005’s finest track by Q magazine, as well as being nominated for the NME’s “Best Song of 2005” award.
However, on the last Oasis albums, his increasing role as lead singer, apparently to compensate for his diminished role as songwriter, caused some tension with Liam.[
Zak Starkey, son of former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and previous drummer for Gallagher’s heroes The Who and Johnny Marr, replaced long-time drummer Alan White during the recording sessions for Don’t Believe the Truth. The loss of White prompted Gallagher to comment in a 2005 interview, that he puts Oasis’ trouble with drummers, in part, to the fact that he is himself a talented drummer, saying “I get a lot of stick for it, but I’m the best drummer in the group.”
Gallagher is well known for his controversial, outspoken statements in the press; he acknowledged his tendency for faux pas in the song “My Big Mouth” on the album Be Here Now. Yet Gallagher has defended himself, saying “people think [I’m] controversial for the answers [I] give to silly questions in interviews, but … I’m not thinking about insulting … people; I say what I genuinely feel is in my heart. My conscience is clean, d’you know what I mean? Y’know, I’m true to myself—fuck everybody else.”
Damon Albarn and Blur
The most infamous of Gallagher’s controversial statements was in a 1995 interview with The Observer, where he expressed a wish for Damon Albarn and Alex James of rivals Blur to “catch AIDS and die”, a comment which he quickly apologised publicly for, and stated that “AIDS is no laughing matter”. This statement was preceded by the success of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which led to a well-documented feud with fellow Britpop band Blur. The differing styles of the bands, coupled with their prominence within the Britpop movement, led the British media to seize upon the rivalry between the bands. Both factions played along, with the Gallaghers taunting Blur at the 1996 BRIT Awards by singing a rendition of “Parklife” when they collected their “Best British Band” award (with Liam changing the lyrics to “Shite-life”).
Gallagher maintains that the rivalry was conceived by the magazine NME and members of Blur’s entourage as a ploy to raise their respective profiles, and that since this point he has had no respect for either party. However, Albarn has suggested the roots of the feud were much more personal.] By 2007, the tension between the two had cooled, and in an NME interview, Gallagher said “I’ve got a lot of respect for Damon, I really do mean it. Because I’m indifferent to Damon he thinks that I think he’s a cunt. Our Liam will talk to him, I won’t because he’s just another singer in a band to me, but I don’t think he’s a cunt. Good luck to him!” On 23 March 2013, Gallagher, Damon, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller performed the Blur hit “Tender” at the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The Gallagher brothers famously share a turbulent relationship; one of their arguments was even released on a 1995 bootleg single entitled Wibbling Rivalry. Although in recent years their relationship had stabilised, during the band’s early career there were a handful of incidents where the two have actually come to blows. In an L.A. show during their first American tour in 1994, Liam took to changing the words of the songs so that they were offensive to both Americans and Noel. A confrontation after the show which led to a chair being thrown and a brawl caused him to leave the tour and head for Las Vegas; Gallagher later claimed he had “visions of Fear and Loathing flashing in [his] eyes”. During recording sessions for the second Oasis album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the brothers had a violent fight involving a cricket bat, when Liam invited everyone from a local pub back into the studio while he was trying to work. In 1995, Noel was obliged to sing “Wonderwall” on Later… with Jools Holland when Liam failed to turn up.[
In 1996, he provided lead vocals at a performance for MTV Unplugged when Liam backed out minutes before the set was due to start. Liam claimed to have been struck down with a “sore throat”; the band later found out that Liam did not like performing acoustically. Gallagher was further angered when Liam proceeded to heckle him from the balcony and nurse his “sore throat” with beer and cigarettes while the band performed. Just before the band were about to board a plane to the United States for their important make-or-break US tour, Liam left the airport, claiming he had to find a house for his then-wife Patsy Kensit. He later joined the band for their last few gigs and the infamous MTV Awards performance; the remaining dates were scrapped. The band’s future was daily tabloid news.
While on tour in Barcelona in 2000, Oasis were forced to cancel a gig when Alan White’s arm seized up, and the band spent the night drinking instead. Liam made a derogatory comment about Gallagher’s then-wife Meg Mathews, and attempted to cast doubt over the legitimacy of his daughter Anais, causing Gallagher to head-butt Liam. Following this, he declared he was quitting overseas touring, but returned for an Oasis gig in Dublin on 8 July 2000. During the performance, the two brothers shook hands at the end of “Acquiesce”.
However, the relationship between the two brothers had become strained throughout 2009, leading eventually to a last-minute cancellation of an Oasis concert scheduled to take place on 28 August 2009 in Paris, due to an “altercation within the group.”[Later that evening, Gallagher confirmed he had left Oasis as he “simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.” Through the Oasis website, he said “It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight”.On 29 August, Gallagher expanded further on his blog, stating “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.”[
When asked in 2012 about his brother and an Oasis reunion Gallagher said “I last texted Liam at Christmas after the City match. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. It would be great for everyone else except me. It’d be mega for the millions and millions and everybody else it would be brilliant but I wouldn’t be very happy about it. I guess you don’t know what you’re gonna feel like in 20-odd years but right now, I mean I was in Oasis for nearly 20 years. I’ve been doing this what I’m doing now for one year and I’d like to see what it’s like to do it for longer. I don’t think anyone is pushing for a reunion either. Nobody ever brings it up in any seriousness – I mean Liam does publicly but he says a lot of things publicly. I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously”. [ After their performance of Wonderwall at the London Olympics Closing Ceremony (which Gallagher had originally turned down), he referred to Liam’s band Beady Eye as ‘Stratford’s finest Oasis tribute band’.
Jay-Z and Glastonbury
Gallagher reportedly blasted the organisers of the 2008 Glastonbury Festival for scheduling US hip-hop artist Jay-Z as a headliner for the traditionally guitar-driven festival: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you start to break it then people aren’t going to go. I’m sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance. Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go ‘Kylie Minogue?’ I don’t know about it. But I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”
Emily Eavis, the organiser of the festival, said she was honoured Jay-Z was headlining the event saying: “He is absolutely the right act for our festival,” she said. “There is no reason why we should not have the greatest living hip-hop artist on at Glastonbury.” Eavis also cited that Jay-Z was far from the first hip-hop artist to appear at Glastonbury. the Roots, Cypress Hill, and De La Soul had all previously performed at the Glastonbury Festival.
In response, Jay-Z said, “We don’t play guitars, Noel, but hip-hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression. Rap music is still evolving. From Afrika Bambaataa DJ-ing in the Bronx and Run DMC going platinum, to Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince winning the first rap Grammy, I’m just next in the line. We have to respect each other’s genre of music and move forward.”[
Jay-Z opened his set at Glastonbury 2008 with a cover of Oasis’ song “Wonderwall”. When Gallagher was asked about the incident he replied, “The way it’s played itself out is that I said Jay-Z had no right to play Glastonbury, which is a crock of horseshit. I got off a plane and someone asked me about the fact that Glastonbury hadn’t sold out for the first time in years, and if it was because of Jay-Z. From there it grew into this crap that I was standing on an orange crate at Speakers’ Corner saying, ‘Gather round, brothers and sisters. Have you heard what’s happening at Glastonbury this year?’ I have a certain turn of phrase. So if I say, “Chicken sandwiches in McDonald’s are just plain fucking wrong,” it doesn’t mean I’m attacking all chickens or all sandwiches. I’ve hung out with Jay-Z in Tokyo. I’ve seen his show. It’s not my bag, but it’s all right. We have a mutual friend in Chris Martin. So I am a guy who doesn’t like hip-hop—shock, horror. I don’t dislike rappers or hip-hop or people who like it. I went to the Def Jam tour in Manchester in the ’80s when rap was inspirational. Public Enemy were awesome. But it’s all about status and bling now, and it doesn’t say anything to me.” When Jay-Z was asked about Gallagher’s comments he said “I haven’t spoken to him [Gallagher], I heard he was reaching out. I don’t bear any grudge, it’s all good. I just believe in good music and bad music, I’ve always said that. You look at any interview from the beginning of time, I’ve always stated that I don’t believe in the lines and classifications that people put music in so they can easily define it”. When asked who he would be interested in collaborating with in the future, the rapper said, “Anyone. Oasis as well – it doesn’t matter to me.”
Gallagher has spoken about his political views on several occasions, most notably when he visited Tony Blair at No. 10 Downing Street in 1997. In an interview in 1997 when he was asked about why he visited Blair he replied, “I’ve taken a lot of flack for going to No. 10 Downing Street but the thing about that is, I never considered myself a rebel anyway. I wasn’t going there representing the ‘Indie community’. I wasn’t representing anyone. I was going there for me. You have to understand that from when I went to school and from when I was born all we ever knew was conservative, Tory, right-wing government. What people don’t mention is, they say ‘He went to meet Tony Blair.’ No. I went to meet the Labour prime minister. Our parents always drummed into us that the Labour Party was for the people and the Tory Party was not. I went to meet the Labour prime minister.”
Gallagher has been quoted: “Politics is like football for me. Labour is my team and even if you don’t like a striker you don’t give up supporting the whole team. Labour is the lesser of two evils. What else should we have? Anarchy? Someone has to be responsible.” Prior to the 2005 general election, Gallagher stated that he was still supporting the Labour government partly because of his concern that “Phil Collins is threatening to come back and live here. And let’s face it, none of us want that”.
In an interview in 2007 when asked about politics he said, “I’d been unemployed all my life. It was a big deal for me when they (Labour) got in. Now David Cameron is no different from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is no different from David Cameron. They’re all cut from the same cloth and it annoys me that the biggest political icon in the last 30 years has been Margaret Thatcher. Someone who tried to destroy the working class. It freaks me out. So I don’t really think there’s anything left to vote for. I believe that I, as a person, can only change things once every 5 years and that’s by voting, and my point is that even casting that vote means that the same guy gets in, the only difference is one has a red tie and the other has a blue one.”
Gallagher was passionate in his support for Barack Obama’s successful bid for US President, calling his acceptance speech to the 2008 Democratic National Convention “spellbinding”.
In 1997, he played a 5-song set at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in New York City.] As a result, Oasis were deemed “unsuitable” by the Chinese government, forcing a planned tour of the country in 2009 to be cancelled.
Gallagher has also been very vocal about knife crime. In 2008 he was quoted: “The scumbags are taking over the streets. I don’t know what David Cameron and Gordon Brown are going to do about it. It all goes back to the Thatcher years. It sounds like a cliché but that’s when the rot set in.” When the interviewer suggested it was for status he replied, “In my day status was about trying to be somebody, not trying to kill somebody, so how’s that all changed?”
In October 2011, Gallagher told Newsnight he believed the then Labour leader Ed Miliband was “utterly uninspiring and dull”, and said he had no idea what he stood for.[
Speaking out about the August 2011 riots that took place in England, Gallagher stated, “Last August I was on tour in Europe and people were asking me about the riots. All over the world, Syria and Egypt, people were rioting for freedom. And these kids in England are rioting for tracksuits. It’s embarrassing.”Gallagher claimed that violent video games and violent television shows which children were being exposed to were partially to blame for social problems.[
In February 2012, he implied that the UK under the Premiership of Margaret Thatcher was a more fertile ground for dissent in the arts: “Under Thatcher, who ruled us with an iron rod, great art was made. Amazing designers and musicians. Acid house was born. Very colourful and progressive. Now, no one’s got anything to say. ‘Write a song? No thanks, I’ll say it on Twitter’. It’s a sad state when more people retweet than buy records.”
In a February 2015 interview with The Quietus, Gallagher elaborated on his disillusion with current politicians and how they’ll do anything to say they’re just regular people:
And now the Conservatives are just… I mean […] David Cameron, he’s trying to be your mate. “Oh, I really like The Jam.”
Gallagher then went on to say that Thatcher was brutal but more direct, and “You can kind of respect that”
In 2016, Gallagher stated that while he remained left-wing, he opposed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, deeming him to be a communist. He said that “The Tories don’t care about the vulnerable, and the communists don’t care about the aspirational”.
Throughout his career, Gallagher has used a wide range of different guitars, effect pedals and amplifiers from his large collection. Most of it emerged from the Standing on the Shoulder of Giants sessions, where he decided to drop the equipment used in the three previous albums and instead buy “loads of really weird pedals, old guitars, and small amps”, as the lack of deadline to deliver the album allowed Gallagher to “take quite a few days just messing around.”[
- Electric guitars
- Epiphone Les Paul[ – Gallagher played a cherry sunburst model in the early years of Oasis.
- Gibson Les Paul
- Fender Telecaster – Gallagher uses several, one of which, a ’60s model, was given to Noel by Johnny Depp as a birthday present.
- Epiphone Casino
- Gibson ES-355 Vintage Model[ – Since 2001, this has become Gallagher’s main stage guitar.
In the early days of Oasis, Gallagher did not use pedals: “I used to just turn up the amps as full as I could get them”.[Since then, he has begun using a large number of effects, but singled out the Ibanez Tube Screamer.
Gallagher has said that he used only 100-watt Marshalls early in his career. After Definitely Maybe, he began using smaller amps, singling out Fenders (Princeton and Bandmaster), and also a combo made by Clark Amplification, which builds amplifiers based on vintage Fender and Marshall amps.
- 2009: The Dreams We Have as Children – Live at the Royal Albert Hall
- 2011: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
- 2015: Chasing Yesterday
Also featured on:
- 1995: Stanley Road by Paul Weller, acoustic guitar on “I Walk on Gilded Splinters”
- 1997: Dig Your Own Hole by the Chemical Brothers, vocals on “Setting Sun”
- 1998: Saturnz Return by Goldie, guitar on “Temper Temper”
- 1998: The X-Files: The Album, the track “Teotihuacan”
- 1998: More Than Us E.P. by Travis, the track “All I Want To Do Is Rock (Live Version)”
- 1999: Surrender by the Chemical Brothers, vocals on “Let Forever Be”
- 2000: Tailgunner by Tailgunner, drums
- 2000: The Same Old Blues by Proud Mary, production, plus additional vocals, guitars, bass and percussion
- 2002: Illumination by Paul Weller, drums, percussion & bass on “One X One”
- 2003: Live at the Royal Albert Hall by the Who, guitar, backing vocals on “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
- 2004: Solarized by Ian Brown: collaboration on the song “Keep What Ya Got”.
- 2004: All Years Leaving by the Stands, guitar on “Some Weekend Night”
- 2008: 22 Dreams by Paul Weller, bass, piano, mellotron and wurlitzer on “Echoes Round The Sun”
- 2011: Colour of the Trap by Miles Kane, backing vocals on “My Fantasy”
- 2015: A Head Full Of Dreams by Coldplay, guitar on “Up&Up”
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2011||“The Death of You and Me”||15||35||Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds|
|“AKA… What a Life!”||20||–|
|“If I Had a Gun…”||95||–|
|“Everybody’s on the Run”||61||–|
|2014||“In the Heat of the Moment”||26||71||Chasing Yesterday|
|2015||“Ballad of the Mighty I”||75||–|
|“Lock All The Doors”||–||–|
|“The Dying Of The Light”||–||–|
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|2011||Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Other charted songs
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2009||“Don’t Look Back in Anger”
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
|101||The Dreams We
Have as Children
– Live at the Royal
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
|“Cast No Shadow”
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
|“(It’s Good) To Be Free”
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
|“The Importance of Being Idle”
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
|2011||“The Good Rebel”
(Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – B-Side)
|192||“The Death of You and Me”|
|2011||“Let the Lord Shine a Light on Me”
(Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – B-Side)
|107||“AKA… What a Life!”|
As featured artist
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
(The Smokin’ Mojo Filters )
|19||The Help Album|
(The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel Gallagher)
|1||Dig Your Own Hole|
(Goldie featuring Noel Gallagher)
|1998||“Let Forever Be”
(The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel Gallagher)
|1998||“All I Want To Do Is Rock” (Live Version)
(Travis featuring Noel Gallagher)
|16||More Than Us E.P.|
|2004||“Keep What Ya Got”
(Ian Brown featuring Noel Gallagher)
- 2004: “Free Love, Freeway” – Ricky Gervais ft. Noel Gallagher; credited as ‘a special guest’ on backing vocals for the ‘Office Christmas Special DVD’, on which the video of the recording session featuring Noel & Ricky is available
- 2011: Well … All Right! – compilation album compiled by Gallagher, released covermount into Mojo magazine