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How John Lennon taught Liam Gallagher to be a rock star


Since Oasis swaggered on to the scene with Definitely Maybe, countless fans around Britain have named their children Liam in an obsessive tribute to the teenage fandom they never grew out of, and Liam Gallagher isn’t one to judge. After all, he followed the same playbook when naming his eldest son, Lennon Gallagher.

Loyalty to a rockstar doesn’t get much more devout than naming one of your children in their memory. 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. Nobody connected to Oasis would deny they ‘borrowed’ bits from The Beatles, whether this is songwriting structures or futile things like their haircuts.

However, the most important thing that The Beatles and John Lennon gifted Oasis was their shared attitude. They both had an Irish immigrant background, with Lennon’s paternal grandparents making the same voyage over from Ireland for a better life in Liverpool, which Liam’s parents did when they hopped over the Irish Channel to Manchester.

Gallagher saw a kinship in Lennon through their working-class upbringings and adored how he wasn’t scared to say whatever was on his mind without a worry about the potential consequences. Gallagher bought into Lennon as a beacon of hope, of creativity and style. His carefree attitude made everything feel alright in the world.

Hearing Lennon for the first time is a memory that has stuck with Gallagher vividly throughout his life. The frontman once recalled: “I was eight. ‘Imagine’ is the song for me, because I was putting the TV on and I remember that song being on all the time and just thinking, ‘Who’s this guy?’ and all that and then obviously you forget about it and go to school. Later on, in life, I got into The Beatles, the whole band and stuff.”

Everybody has a favourite Beatle. It was always Lennon for Gallagher, despite a soft spot for Paul McCartney, the sharp-tongued former Oasis singer knows which side his bread is buttered. “I wouldn’t say he’s a better songwriter than McCartney, I’d say they’re both different but great,” he told NME in 2012. “But I like Lennon’s stuff more because it’s a bit more beautiful, and it’s more mad.”

Speaking on an Irish chat show in 2002, Gallagher again professed his love for the band that made him believe anything was possible. “I love The Beatles, I’m not gonna hide it,” Gallagher said lovingly, but still in his trusted confrontational manner.

“I love them. They make me happy. I think they’re the best and still are. I think to be good, you’ve got to learn from the best, and they’re the best,” he added. The host then diverts the subject to Lennon, with Gallagher chipping in with his two cents, “I like his voice, he’s got a good voice. There’s a bit of pain in there. You know the guy’s done a day’s work.”

Hearing and seeing John Lennon provided Liam Gallagher with an early glimpse of something otherworldly — an escape from his doldrum life. Although he didn’t know it at the time, something profound happened when he heard ‘Imagine’ as an eight-year-old. The fact that he can still tap into how he felt after stumbling across the track on TV decades prior, shows subconsciously, something changed in Gallagher’s psyche that day, and music was now an escape that existed in his life.

Finding someone you connect with and see part of yourself in like Gallagher did with Lennon can incense a belief inside which has the ability to spark a tornado. While Liam isn’t the only person to identify with the Beatle on this level, who else has used it as the fuel to become one of Britain’s best frontmen?