Noel Gallagher on how T. Rex and The Rolling Stones inspired these Oasis classics
Noel Gallagher has never been shy about wearing his influences firmly on his sleeve. While this is something that other artists often try their hardest to hide, Gallagher has always opted to lean into his influences wherever possible. Different tracks from varying parts of Noel’s career offer up an insight into the music which was making him tick at that moment in time, and The Rolling Stones are partly to thank for one stone-cold Oasis classic, as is T. Rex for another.
This criticism has often been a stick in which people have beaten Gallagher with, usually in an attempt to have a dig at his songwriting credentials. Oasis were continuously slammed by their critics as being a knock-off version of The Beatles and, on occasion, accused of bringing nothing new to the table. However, how often does a band completely reinvent the wheel by doing things which have nobody has achieved before? Most likely, if no group has ever attempted to sound like that, then there is probably a reason why.
The Beatles famously took influence from artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry. John Lennon said on The Tomorrow Show in 1975: “People have always been trying to stamp out rock ‘n’ roll since it started, I always thought that it’s because it came from black music and the words had a lot of double entendre in the early days. It was all this ‘our nice white kids are gonna go crazy moving their bodies’, y’now the music got to your body, and The Beatles just carried it a bit further, made it a bit more white, even more than Elvis did because we were English,” he said with more than a pinch of honesty.
On how other bands directly inspire songs, Noel recalled to the Sodajerker podcast in 2017: “I’m not expecting nobody to notice, it’s kind of like these are my influences, this is where it comes from, this is not art. It’s just channelling something else. I was always from the school of music, where if I wrote a song and I thought it sounded like T. Rex then I’d make it sound more like T. Rex, but other songwriters make it sound the opposite.
“I’ve never shied away from that, and most people with a good record collection could do what I though. You’re just like a fan making music from a fan’s perspective, and when you get it wrong, you do fall completely flat on you’re fucking face, and nobody has fallen flatter than I have down the years,” Noel eloquently added from experience.
“When you get it right it becomes something new almost, so for instance ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’. That riff is clearly T. Rex, but I can assure you he got it from somewhere else, it’s a standard blues thing, but it became something new for a new generation. When you get it right it becomes something new, when you get it wrong it can be a pastiche, and I’ve done both. ‘Live Forever’ was inspired by ‘Shine A Light’ by The Stones, and that became something new. I don’t shy away from that. I chase it if anything,” Gallagher frankly admitted.
It seems unfair to diminish Noel Gallagher for his honesty about trying to attempt to emulate his heroes by creating something new out of the ashes of old. ‘Live Forever’ is perhaps Gallagher’s magnum opus, which is saying something and, if he needed to be inspired by behemoths like The Rolling Stones or T. Rex to unlock the creativity within himself, then that’s quite alright. Also, it would be more than a little bit cheeky if The Rolling Stones dared complain about an artist overtly wearing their influences on their sleeve with their track record on the subject.
Listen to Gallagher’s appearance on the Sodajerker podcast, below.