The warring brothers of Britpop, Liam and Noel Gallagher, aka the Mancunian legends that made Oasis a worldwide phenomenon, have never ducked the opportunity to take a potshot at one another. Usually using their social media platforms to cast a few barbs as they co about their business, there’s perhaps one defining moment that showcases their black v white rivalry, a 1997 Oasis album, Be Here Now. The record is both Liam Gallagher’s favourite and Noel Gallagher’s most hated.
There’s no denying that by 1997, with the release of their third album, Be Here Now, the Mancunian Britpop kings Oasis were bonafide rock ‘n’ roll legends. Their previous two albums, Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, had cemented the band as the best British rock act around; their third album would be another wildly successful album. But it falls flat for a lot of the band’s fans, including the group’s principal songwriter, Noel Gallagher.
Released on August 21st 1997, Be Here Now was written and recorded as a purely commercial product, and in that regard, it was a huge success with sales far outstripping that of the two previous LPs—no mean feat, we can assure you.
It wasn’t an easy ride, as the band’s swirling drug abuse and internal fighting marred the recording sessions and left a bad taste in the mouth of all those involved. With Noel Gallagher leading the band through his own production vision, the songs on the album are longer and more “colossal”, largely falling into the category of “anthemic”. It even featured a sunken Rolls Royce on the cover, which took nearly £100,000 to put there. Simply put, Oasis were flying high, and this is the LP that made the biggest splash.
With that said, it still makes for one of the finer rock albums released in the ’90s and, although looking back, it may not match the band’s previous output, it is still a key indicator of the size and power of Oasis at their peak. But for Noel Gallagher, it’s the worst album he has ever made. Speaking to Guitarworld, Noel Gallagher was asked about his favourite records by a fan, specifically which he did and didn’t like. Eventually, talk turned to his own catalogue: “It’s my least favourite of the albums I wrote, for sure,” replied the guitarist.
If Be Here Now is your favourite album, then don’t worry, Noel still see the value in the choice: “But I won’t take away anybody’s right to like it. I meet people regularly who say, ‘That’s your best album.’ And I say, ‘Really?’ but I think, You fucking moron, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
“If people like it, that’s great. Don’t expect me to play any of it.”
While it wouldn’t be fair to say that Liam Gallagher was wholly inspired by his brother’s words on the album to make his own statement but it’s hard to think it didn’t have any effect on him. However, during a conversation with NME, Liam Gallagher was sure that the world knew his favourite album was the very one Noel hated. Asked to rate his albums he gave Be Here Now the number one spot: “I love [it]. The only problem is our kid thought he’d be a bit of a producer, whereas Owen Morris – who is a producer – would have gone, ‘Leave it out with them Slash guitars, mate’, ‘This song’s a bit long’.”
“That’s how it got long, and that’s why Noel hasn’t got fond memories of it. But I think it’s fucking class.” The singer also noted that Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory were both 10/10 records, noting that the former was “Mega. Absolutely biblical. I don’t remember much about it, but obviously it’s stood the test of time” and the latter, “turned us into proper, like, global, worldwide f**king idiots or whatever.”
There aren’t many people that would put Be Here Now ahead of those two mentioned albums. We certainly don’t. But there’s also something truly brilliant about Noel Gallagher’s most hated Oasis album being Liam’s favourite. If anything, it typifies their engrossing relationship to a tee.