Members: Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell, Zak Starkey
Oasis are a British rock band, originally formed in Manchester.
The band achieved international stardom in the mid 1990s, taking inspiration from bands such as The Beatles, The Stone Roses, The Kinks and T.Rex to create their own kind of British rock. They were at the forefront of the musical genre Britpop which replaced Grunge and House music as the most popular types of music in Britain in the mid-1990s.
Led by lead guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher and his younger brother vocalist Liam Gallagher, Oasis combine catchy melodies, wall-of-sound guitar, mod-style fashion and an arrogant swagger. They rose to prominence in 1994 when in addition to their musical success the band's behaviour both on and off the stage made them tabloid newspaper staples, with frequent reports of heavy drinking, drug taking and violent confrontations appearing regularly in the press. During their career the band's line-up has evolved and only the Gallagher brothers remain from the original line up.
By far the most commercially successful Britpop band, Oasis have long since outlasted the movement's popularity. While most of their contemporaries have either broken up (Suede, The Verve), faded from the spotlight (Pulp), or evolved dramatically (Blur, Radiohead), Oasis have maintained their style and remained successful. It is this steadfastness that has become the band's most polarising aspect: fans extol it as "stability" and "consistency" while detractors claim it is evidence of a decline in creativity and relevance.
With their records still topping the charts and their stadium gigs selling out in minutes, Oasis remain one of the most popular and beloved bands in the UK.
The origins of Oasis began in a band called The Rain, a guitar group who had taken their name from a 1966 Beatles' B-side. The band were originally comprised of Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitars), 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.
The band then played their first gig as Oasis in August of 1991, at the Boardwalk club in Manchester. Noel, 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 aim for the very top.
After gaining a loyal and vocal following on the local Manchester gig circuit, Oasis signed to Creation Records in late 1993. It is reputed the band signed following a Glasgow concert at which they threatened the owner of the club to be allowed onstage (this version of events has not been substantiated). Following a limited white label release of their song "Columbia", the band released its first commercial singles, "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker," in the spring of 1994. Both gained national radio airplay and were Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom.
In August 1994 their true breakthrough came with the melodic crossover single "Live Forever," which hit the UK Top 10. Also around this time the band were involved in a high-profile incident on a ferry just outside the Netherlands. Liam and Guigsy were arrested for fighting, Bonehead and McCarroll were also 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 Definitely Maybe enter the charts at #1 in September 1994, becoming the fastest selling debut album in UK history.
More hit singles quickly followed. The October 1994 single "Cigarettes & Alcohol" reached #7 in the UK charts amidst controversy that its central riff had been lifted directly from T-Rex's 1972 hit "Bang a Gong (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.
BRITPOP AND THE BLUR RIVALRY (1995-1996)
A minor setback happened during early sessions for their second album when original drummer Tony McCaroll was sacked. Noel claims McCaroll had to go because he was not a good enough drummer to play the material for the second album. 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. Undisturbed the band continued recording their follow-up with White on the drumming stool.
Oasis soon had their first UK #1 with the first single from their second album, "Some Might Say" (the only track with McCaroll's performance), in late April 1995. During this period, the British media built up a rivalry between Oasis and fellow "Britpop" band Blur. The rivalry turned ugly when Noel told The Observer 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 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. In the long run, however, Oasis' second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? became the second largest selling album of all-time in the UK, leaving Blur somewhat behind in popularity.
Although a softer sound led to mixed reviews, the album went on to sell over 18 million copies worldwide and spawned two other hit singles with "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, has become something of a concert classic (it features a sample from Gary Glitter's 1973 Top 10 hit Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again).
As their rise to fame reached its zenith, Oasis performed back-to-back concerts at Knebworth Park 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 he abruptly left. In order to complete the tour, Guigsy was successfully convinced to return to the band. "He looks a bit like the old one", chuckled Noel, 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.
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". 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".
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.
After nine years in the band, longtime drummer 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, 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.
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.
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.
For the Q Awards 2005 Oasis leads the way with 5 nominations which include 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.One for best album and another for the people's choice award.
After much speculation, Let There Be Love has been announced as the third single taken from Don't Belive 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).
In August 2005, only weeks before headlining the dual-venue V Festival, an interview with Noel  revealed that the band plan to release a second b-sides album in 2006, embracing material from the last three albums. Also, apparently Oasis won't release any new material until 2007 ? and Noel joked he wouldn't be surprised if the next album isn't out until 2010. The guitarist said that the group will take most of the year off following their world tour which isn't set to finish until early next spring. Then they have to take care of their record contract and probably a new album will come next in the cards.
He also confirmed that when the band do finally return to the studio, there won't be such a big need for songwriting to be done, as the band have plenty of songs for fleshing. "...Liam will write 500 songs, Gem and Andy will write a few and I?ll go back to the ones I haven?t finished off."
Noel has since said 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 unknown whether the band will release a new album this year as Noel added they had plenty of other new material in hand, though he wasn't sure if it was destined for the band's 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."
1994 - Definitely Maybe
1995 - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
1997 - Be Here Now
2000 - Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
2002 - Heathen Chemistry
2005 - Don't Believe the Truth
1998 - The Masterplan (B-sides compilation album)
FROM DEFINITELY MAYBE:
1994 - SUPERSONIC
1994 - SHAKERMAKER
1994 - LIVE FOREVER
1994 - CIGARETTES & ALCOHOL
1994 - WHATEVER
FROM WHAT'S THE STORY MORNING GLORY:
1995 - SOME MIGHT SAY
1995 - ROLL WITH IT
1995 - WONDERWALL
1996 - DON'T LOOK BACK IN ANGER
FROM BE HERE NOW:
1997 - D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
1997 - STAND BY ME
1998 - ALL AROUND THE WORLD
FROM STANDING ON THE SHOULDER OF GIANTS:
2000 - GO LET IT OUT
2000 - WHO FEELS LOVE?
2000 - SUNDAY MORNING CALL
FROM HEATHEN CHEMISTRY:
2002 - THE HINDU TIMES
2002 - STOP CRYING YOUR HEART OUT
2002 - LITLE BY LITLE/SHE IS LOVE
2003 - SONG BIRD
FROM DON'T BELIEVE THE TRUTH:
2005 - LYLA
2005 - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IDLE
2005 - LET THERE BE LOVE
2006 - THE BOY WITH THE BLUES
LIVE RELEASES AND VIDEOS:
1995 - LIVE BY THE SEA
1996 - ...THERE AND THEN
2000 - FAMILIAR TO MILLIONS
2004 - DEFINTELY MAYBE (DVD)