As the world seemingly goes Oasis mad, in no small part down to the “lost” Oasis demo Noel Gallagher shared last night, but also with a host of anniversaries on the horizon and Liam Gallagher never being quiet about a potential reunion, the Britpop royalty are more prominent than ever.
It leads perfectly on to Some Might Say: The Definitive Story of Oasis, brought together by Richard Bowes. We take a closer look at the documentation of one of the most important bands the world has ever known.
Arguably the most important British rock album of the nineties, Definitely Maybe has more than earned its place in the rock and roll idiom. It heralded a new wave of rock posturing, posturing the band exalted on two excellent follow up albums. Guitarist Noel Gallagher wrote the first three albums alone, but by the mid-noughties everyone from younger brother Liam to bassist Andy Bell were chipping into the song-craft.
Dig Out Your Soul suffered from holding too many writers, but it did have the psychedelic “Falling Down”, the band’s greatest love-letter to John Lennon, complete with Beatle child Zak Starkey pounding away at the drums.
Noel Gallagher has said he’s glad “Falling Down” ended Oasis’ run, and well he should too: he both wrote and sang the number.
Given exclusive access to interviews conducted for the Oasis Podcast, Richard Bowes has collated a beautifully presented work. What starts off as a book about a band quickly changes into a book about family. Take Mary McGuigan, speaking on behalf of her bass-playing brother Paul. Or there’s The Style Council’s Steve White drumming in place of his brother Alan in 2001.
Of course, then there’s the Gallaghers, the custodians of an extraordinary legacy of music. Tension always ran between the pair, most notably during that 2009 feud which ended the band. But they’ve always been family, and parents Peggy and Tommy Gallagher are appropriately named among the list of characters that open both the band’s history and the contents of this book.
Yet it took more than two Gallagher’s to contribute to the impressive fifteen years of recorded music. Take, for instance, Tony McCarroll’s swampy cymbal work that opens “Supersonic”. Or take Gem Archer’s vaudeville piano work splashing through “The Importance of Being Idle”. And then there’s Owen Morris, the venerable producer who somehow managed to translate Oasis’s fiery stagework into an album (strangely, XTC/Stone Roses producer John Leckie declined to produce the band).
Though it was all done on gut, feeling and instinct, it never failed to be anything less than effortlessly commercial. The band went to extraordinary lengths to pay justice to their fans, just as these fans go to extraordinary lengths to re-pay this justice to the band. In one of it’s most impressive sections, the ‘Gigography’ pinpoints the many gigs, locations and theatres Oasis played.
Some Might Say : The Definitive Story of Oasis also points to the many funny antics the band got up to in their spare time. In one of the key interviews, it’s revealed that keyboardist/guitarist Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs chose to impersonate Elton John in front of a party of people.
Arthurs left the band in 1999, and Oasis duly changed course, direction and membership. Some fans prefer the earlier, blokier lineup, while others point to the musical superiority Archer, Bell and Starkey brought to the later albums.
But it’s to the band’s credit that there is so much to discuss, and this book pays justice to every concert, configuration and chord Oasis put towards the world. With such adoration for The Beatles, Oasis will be glad they have found their Revolution In The Head!