Noel Gallagher is well known for his golden touch at songwriting and the pivotal role he played in making Oasis into the titans of britpop they were. His place in the pantheon of British music is undeniable. Gallagher took the best of old-school British music and brought it kicking and screaming into a new era, a trademark which saw Oasis become an unstoppable force. However, he didn’t come out of the womb holding a copy of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the first record he bought is rather embarrassing.
Gallagher is famed for taking great pride in his record collection and being on top of what’s good in the world of music, but if he doesn’t like something, he’s not afraid to tell you about it. He’s not always been this way, however, and when he was a child, his music taste was considerably different to the one that would shape his adolescence. The question about his first record is one that the High Flying Birds man has previously skirted, choosing to go down the humorous route rather than revealing the true answer, and it’s easy to understand why.
Previously when he was taking part in Pitchfork’s 5-10-15-20 in 2011, Gallagher quipped: “Is anybody seriously into music at five?” he quipped. “No five year old can say with any fucking degree of truth that they were listening to anything. But what was big in England in 1972? Probably a lot of English glam rock, T. Rex or David Bowie. As a kid, I always loved flamboyant rock stars like Ziggy Stardust, Marc Bolan, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles. Just put Led Zeppelin down, [sarcastically] “Yeah I was a massive fan—I got Led Zeppelin II for my fifth birthday off my mother.”
Whilst Led Zeppelin II is the cool answer, the real answer is rather less glamourous and comes courtesy from the afro’d radio-friendly disco crooner, Leo Sayer. “The first single I was bought was ‘The Show Must Go On’ by Leo Sayer because I’d seen him on Top Of The Pops dressed as a clown,” Gallagher told the BBC. “I remember my dad buying it for me. The label on the record was something to do with Alice In Wonderland. It might have had the hare in a top hat.
Gallagher continued. “The first single I was bought was by Leo Sayer because I’d seen him on Top Of The Pops dressed as a clown. Ironically, I would end up living on the same street as Leo Sayer for a while, but I never saw him. I know he was on that street because my tour manager at the time also did a bit for him and would say, ‘You know Leo Sayer lives over there?'”
In fairness to Gallagher, this wasn’t the first record that he bought with his own money, and in an attempt to redeem some credibility, he added: “The first single I bought myself would be a punk single, probably the Sex Pistols. I bought a lot of Jam singles, and I remember buying ‘Stand And Deliver’ by Adam And The Ants. It came wrapped in a free poster, and on the side, it said ‘limited edition first 750,000 with free poster’. How many 750,000s were they selling? You couldn’t sell 750,000 of anything now on vinyl!”
The first records we fall-in-love with are, in-most cases embarrassing, like Gallagher’s childhood infatuation with Leo Sayer, but at least he’s being honest. It’s refreshing that he’s not bothered about making up a lie about the first record he bought being something from the Ziggy Stardust era of Bowie, which is an all-too-common trope for artists who feel too scared to deliver the truth about their childhood self.