Throughout Oasis’ sparkling career, they always wore their influences on their sleeve and never hid away from how much they admired one band in particular, The Beatles. The Gallagher brothers paid tribute to the Fab Four on plenty of occasions during their reign of supremacy, and each time was sublime.
It’s hard to know who loves the work of The Beatles more, out of the two Gallagher brothers, but loyalty to a rockstar doesn’t get much more devout than naming one of your children in their memory like Liam did when he named his son Lennon. It’s a mark of his influence, and without John Lennon, then Liam Gallagher wouldn’t be the man he is today. If anyone deserved to become an honorary Gallagher, it’s him.
One painful moment in the career of Oasis came when The Beatles didn’t give them the seal of approval they were desperate to receive. In 1996, Liam Gallagher couldn’t hide his dismay after Harrison took a nasty swipe at Oasis, saying their “music lacks depth and the singer Liam is a pain, the rest of the band don’t need him.”
In response, Gallagher swiped back at his hero and characteristically told MTV Europe, “I still love the Beatles, and I still love George Harrison as a songwriter in the Beatles, but as a person, I think he’s a fucking nipple. And if I ever meet him, I’ll fucking tell him. And if you’re watching… nipple!
Not even George Harrison’s comments about Liam being a “pain” didn’t stop him from loving his work, which shows how bulletproof his entrenched his love for The Beatles is. Oasis happily leaned into their appreciation of The Fab Four, and their covers of The Beatles deserve your time.
Oasis’ 5 best covers of The Beatles
‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’
Just as The Beatles influenced Oasis, the Fab Four were inspired by others too. There’s no greater example of how they also tried to imitate the formula that others made famous than ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’. Lennon later commented: “That’s me in my Dylan period again. I am like a chameleon, influenced by whatever is going on. If Elvis can do it, I can do it. If the Everly Brothers can do it, me and Paul can. Same with Dylan.”
The track is a stripped-back folk effort from Lennon, and rather than trying to transform ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ into something new, Noel Gallagher delivers a spine-tingling tribute to the original version.
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’
During a radio session in Japan in 2006, Oasis decided to perform their take on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, and the result was a triumph. Performing as just a three-piece and without Liam Gallagher, the performance, spearheaded by Noel, is a divine treat worth savouring.
Rather than trying to imitate the psychedelic elements that litter the wondrous track, the three members strip it down to it’s very core to create an innovative and reflective take on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
‘I Am The Walrus’
‘I Am The Walrus’ is Oasis’ most famous tribute to Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr, and the track became a staple in their live sets, which, across their esteemed career, never failed to tear the roof off. A live version of the track was later added as the B-side to ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ and holds a special place in the hearts of every Oasis diehard.
“The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend,” Lennon explained in 1990. “The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to ‘Elementary penguin’ is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, ‘Hare Krishna,’ or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days.”
In 2000, when Oasis needed another B-side, they decided to do some more crate digging in their collection of Beatles records and the ferocious ‘Helter Skelter’ was picked out of the hat. The track is infectious, and Oasis manage to capture that vibrant energy of the original on their version.
“‘Helter Skelter’ was a track we did in total madness and hysterics in the studio,” Ringo Starr once recalled. “Sometimes you just had to shake out the jams”—and they certainly did. “It sounded nothing like The Beatles,” Starr reflected.
Not only did Oasis record the track as a B-side, but it was also an immovable object in their setlist throughout their Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants world tour, getting a rapturous reception every single time.
‘Whatever/Octopus’s Garden’ Mash-Up
When Oasis took over Knebworth in 1995, their two-night residency quickly etched itself into the stuff of legend. The two shows captured the band at the absolute peak of their powers as they walked on water, and from that moment on, it was a slow slippery slope leading towards their eventual split in 2009.
In 1995, Oasis could make turn anything into gold, as this mash-up of ‘Whatever’ and ‘Octopus’s Garden’ is testament to their unrivalled prowess at that period in time. Noel Gallagher masterfully integrates the lyrics from the Ringo track into ‘Whatever’, which the crowd at Knebworth lap up, and they unsurprisingly blend beautifully.