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(Credit: Alamy)

Music

When an Oasis argument was turned into a hit record

@TylerGolsen

Oasis weren’t the biggest band in Britain in early 1994, but they were about to be. The release of Definitely Maybe was just a few months away when the Gallagher brothers sat down with NME journalist John Harris, but something else was on the duo’s minds: their recent spat on a ferry that caused them to get deported.

The band were en route to what would have been their first concert outside of the UK in Amsterdam, but after an entire day of drinking, the band members began to raise hell on the boat, led by Liam Gallagher.

“Liam got very excited by the prospect of a lot of chaos going on and he goes and joins in,” the band’s soundman Mark Coyle remembers in the documentary Oasis: Supersonic. “You can see him running through the windows along the deck. He’s having a great time. It looks like he’s in a school playground chasing leaves. The next time I see Liam he’s still running up. He’s got policemen running after him.”

All of the band were arrested with the sole exception of Noel Gallagher, who did not partake in the madness. Although they blew their chance at their first international gig, the subsequent press coverage brought Oasis’ notoriety to another level. This was a point of contention during the interview with Harris, as Liam remained proud of his hell-raising reputation while Noel felt that it distracted from the band’s music.

For nearly 15 minutes, the brothers comically argue with each other over what truly makes rock and roll tick. Liam believes in danger, while Noel would rather the band’s music be taken seriously without the embarrassing stories of getting thrown off ferries. Of course, this isn’t the kind of tact that the Gallagher brothers are known for, so instead, they simply hurl insults and profanities at each other for an extended period of time.

It didn’t take long for Harris’ recording of the interview to be bootlegged, and the recently-established independent record label Fierce Panda Records decided to release the recording as a single. The label split the interview in half, labelled one side for each brother, and put a picture of the notorious Kray brothers as the cover art. Released in 1995, the ‘Wibbling Rivalry’ single rose all the way to number 52 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the most commercially successful interview single of all time.

By that point, the rows between the Gallaghers were well known to most Britons. Only a year after landing a hit single just from their arguments, Oasis officially stepped into the spotlight with (What’s the Story) Morning Glory. But anyone paying attention to the fervour surrounding the Gallagher brothers could have seen their massive rise coming from a mile away. After all, if an interview single could break records, who knew what a full album would do?