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Oasis

Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Originating from an earlier band named the Rain, the group initially consisted of Liam Gallagher (lead vocals, tambourine), Paul Arthurs (guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass guitar) and Tony McCarroll (drums). Liam's older brother Noel (lead guitar, vocals) later joined as a fifth member, finalising the group's core lineup. During the course of their existence, they had various lineup changes, with the Gallagher brothers remaining the only stable members.

Oasis signed to independent record label Creation Records in 1993 and released their record-setting debut album Definitely Maybe (1994), which topped the UK Albums Chart and quickly became the fastest-selling debut album in British history at the time. The following year they recorded (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) with new drummer Alan White, in the midst of a highly publicised chart rivalry with peers Blur. Spending ten weeks at number one on the British charts, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? was also an international chart success and became one of the best-selling albums of all time. In addition, it stands as the fifth-best-selling album in the UK and the biggest-selling album in the UK of the 1990s. The Gallagher brothers featured regularly in tabloid newspapers for their disputes and wild lifestyles. In 1996, Oasis performed two nights at Knebworth for an audience of 125,000 each time, the largest outdoor concerts in UK history at the time. In 1997, Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now. It became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history.

Oasis' popularity later declined and McGuigan and Arthurs left in 1999 as Oasis released Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000). They were replaced by former Heavy Stereo guitarist Gem Archer and former Ride guitarist Andy Bell. White departed in 2004, replaced by Zak Starkey and later Chris Sharrock as touring members. Oasis released three more studio albums: Heathen Chemistry (2002), Don't Believe the Truth (2005) and Dig Out Your Soul (2008). The group abruptly disbanded after the departure of Noel Gallagher in August 2009.

As of 2023, Oasis have sold over 95 million records worldwide. They are among the most successful acts on the UK Singles Chart and Albums Chart, with eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums. The band also achieved three Platinum albums in the US. They won 17 NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for Outstanding Contribution to Music and one for the "Best Album of the Last 30 Years" for (What's the Story) Morning Glory?. They were also nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Beatles references in Oasis songs[]

Though worthy of a little more respect than a covers band, Oasis were never shy to brandish their cherished musical influences. The most obvious example would be Liam Gallagher’s highly publicised John Lennon era, during which he wore his hair long, sported circular tinted shades and even named his firstborn son Lennon after the late Liverpudlian. Throughout the 1990s, the Gallagher brothers rekindled Beatlemania with their unconcealed obsession. In a cultural ripple, Oasis treated the band as a deity, echoing John Lennon’s controversial comments about God when claiming they’d become “bigger” than The Beatles.

“Oasis were young, fresh and writing good tunes,” McCartney once told Q, reacting to such swaggering statements. “I thought the biggest mistake they made was when they said, ‘We’re going to be bigger than The Beatles.’ I thought, ‘So many people have said that, and it’s the kiss of death.’ Be bigger than The Beatles, but don’t say it. The minute you say it, everything you do from then on is going to be looked at in the light of that statement.”

It’s up to the listeners to decide whether Oasis managed to summit this Everest. I will, however, remind you that Oasis named their fourth studio album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, for a reason.

This reason being, of course, that Oasis welcomed musical taste into their songwriting as well as their wardrobe. Liam wasn’t a prolific songwriter for the Mancunian legends, but when he did, he sought a bit of Lennon-McCartney wisdom.

“My song ‘Little James’ was inspired by ‘Beautiful Boy’ and ‘Hey Jude’. More ‘Beautiful Boy’,” Gallagher revealed in an interview feature for Uncut. “People who’ve got any soul will realise that there’s a day when you go home and put your feet up and cuddle your kids. If anyone slags it off, they’ve either got no heart or they don’t know what the meaning of life is. They just go out and do-do-do-do-do the same thing every day. So fuck them. You can’t win with these people.”

Noel also used several Beatle-inspired progressions for some of Oasis’ big hits. ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ from 1995’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was famously inspired by Lennon’s progression for ‘Imagine’ and David Bowie’s ‘All the Young Dudes’.

It turns out Lennon also inadvertently wrote one of the song’s lines in a memoir. “I got this tape in the United States that had apparently been burgled from the Dakota Hotel, and someone had found these cassettes,” Noel recalled during a 2020 Track-by-Track feature on (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? “Lennon was starting to record his memoirs on tape. He’s going on about ‘trying to start a revolution from me bed because they said the brains I had went to my head.’ I thought, ‘Thank you, I’ll take that!'”

Elsewhere in Oasis’ collection of singles and seven studio albums, we can also find several more direct references to The Beatles and some of their classic songs.

  • ‘Supersonic’ – “Sail with me in my Yellow Submarine”
  • ‘Morning Glory’ – “Tomorrow Never Knows what it doesn’t know too soon”
  • ‘Fade In-Out’ – “Get on the Helter Skelter”
  • ‘Be Here Now’ – “Sing a song for me, one from Let It Be
  • ‘She’s Electric’ – ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ outro
  • ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ – lyrical references ‘The Fool on the Hill’ and ‘I Feel Fine’

Discography[]

  • Definitely Maybe (1994)
  • (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
  • Be Here Now (1997)
  • Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000)
  • Heathen Chemistry (2002)
  • Don't Believe the Truth (2005)
  • Dig Out Your Soul (2008)
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