Listen to Noel Gallagher’s isolated vocal on Oasis classic ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’
Liam Gallagher, the enigmatic lead singer of Oasis and the other half of The Brothers Gallagher, may take a lot of plaudits for the band’s tone—but it was Noel Gallagher who took the lead on one of their best tunes.
The guitarist and songwriting powerhouse behind the band’s success took over vocals on a few Oasis songs but none as iconic as ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, well, except maybe ‘Wonderwall’, but let’s not do that.
On this day in 1996, when the Oasis once again went to the top of the charts, we’re focusing on the band’s more widely loved, iconic hit, ‘Don’t Look back In Anger’.
The track was written by Noel and released in early 1996 as a single from their second album What’s The Story (Morning Glory). It was also the band’s second UK number one and the first Oasis single to feature Noel on vocals, having previously only taken over singing duties on B-sides.
Noel once said of the song: “It reminds me of a cross between ‘All the Young Dudes’ and ‘Something’ might have done.” Speaking of the character ‘Sally’ referred to in the song he insisted: “I don’t actually know anybody called Sally. It’s just a word that fit, y’know, might as well throw a girl’s name in there.”
Noel Gallagher even said at a later date that Liam was to thank for the name in the lyric (from Uncut magazine August 2007): “We were in Paris playing with The Verve, and I had the chords for that song and started writing it. We were due to play two days later. Our first-ever big arena gig, it’s called Sheffield Arena now.”
Noel continues: “At the sound check, I was strumming away on the acoustic guitar, and our kid (Liam) said, ‘What’s that you’re singin’?’ I wasn’t singing anyway, I was just making it up. And our kid said, ‘Are you singing ‘So Sally can wait’?’ And I was like—that’s genius! So I started singing, ‘So Sally can wait.’ I remember going back to the dressing room and writing it out. It all came really quickly after that.”
It’s a song that was a mainstay of the band’s live outings from its release until they parted ways in 2009. But while some songs could’ve died after that, this track has found its way on to both Noel and Liam’s setlists as solo artists, highlighting the songs true power.
The track hinges on the powerful chorus, a run of lines which despite not being the most logical, provide both the musos and football fans of the world with something to belt out with all their hearts.
While the chorus and verse are best heard when sung by thousands of people, it takes on a brand new sound when you listen to Noel’s isolated vocal. The track is given extra gravitas and Noel’s vocal is allowed to breathe and resonate unlike we’ve heard it done before.
It’s actually worth noting the quality of Noel’s voice here. Far away from the nasal screech that Liam could sometimes produce, this vocal feels genuine and gilded with the nuance of a working-class hero, happy to let his work do the talking.
So, without a doubt, take a listen to Noel Gallagher’s isolated vocal on Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ below.