There was no bigger gap in alternative rock than the one between Nirvana and Oasis. Despite their shared love of massive guitars and mutual appreciation for The Beatles, the similarities between the two acts stop there.
Nirvana were explicitly punk-inspired. Their lyrics were reflections of Kurt Cobain’s poetry and journals, without filtering out some of the darker thoughts. Noel Gallagher, on the other hand, was insistent on making his lyrics uplifting and anthemic, celebrating life and using music to rise above your everyday circumstances.
While being interviewed by the television programme Lock the Box, the Gallagher brothers reflected on how ‘Live Forever’ changed the course of the band. “It was the tune, as I remember, that changed everything,” Noel explains. “It seemed to be one day we were a certain kind of band. I mean it was written before the record deal and all that. That set off a chain reaction that everything followed from that,” he added.
Gallagher also explained how the song was explicitly inspired by one of Nirvana’s most infamous songs. “At the time it was written in the middle of grunge and all that, I remember Nirvana had a tune called ‘I Hate Myself and Want to Die’. Which I was like ‘Well I’m not fucking having that.’ As much as I fucking like him and all that shit, I’m not having that.”
Noel took offence to “people like that coming over here, on smack, saying they hate themselves and want to die”. To him, it represented the antithesis of what kind of message the Gallaghers were trying to send in their own music.
The Oasis founder added: “Seemed to me like a guy who had everything and was miserable about it, and we had fuck all and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest fucking thing ever because you didn’t know where you’d end up at night. We didn’t have a pot to piss in but it was fucking great.”
Two different bands, from two different countries, with two different perspectives. Check out ‘Live Forever’ down below.