Liam Gallagher is arguably the most iconic frontman in the history of British music, an artist who represented much more than just Oasis or Britpop but became a figurehead for an entire culture that transcended music.
It’s a fact that sometimes makes us forget how much of an astounding vocalist he is — as is prevalent on this isolated vocal performance of ‘Rock N Roll Star’.
The track acted as the opener to the iconic Manchester outfit’s timeless 1994 debut Definitely Maybe and you knew as soon as you pressed play on your Walkman that you were in store for a life-affirming experience. ‘Rock N Roll Star’ was the perfect opener and one that Liam Gallagher quite rightly is still using the track to open his shows some 26 years later.
It’s testament to the strength of the record also that the track wasn’t even released as a single in the UK. Despite this, the song is still revered as one of the band’s greatest efforts from the entirety of their illustrious career. ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’ acted as the perfect introduction for everything that Oasis were going to be—all wrapped up in one song. This isolated vocal version makes the song feel like a holy hymn and leaves Liam Gallagher delivering a sermon.
Noel Gallagher previously told Q Magazine back in October 2008 shortly before the band’s split that this is his favourite Oasis track. He explained: “The words and the sentiment to that song, that’s what it’s all about. I remember bringing it down to the lads in the rehearsal studio and rehearsing it until the first time we played it live. There was a hush after it, and it wasn’t the hush of people going (bewildered) ‘What was that all about?’ It was (silenced awe). No one had ever said it in a song before. “
The songwriter added: “Tonight, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star. There’s six people watching you, right? You’re anything but a rock ‘n’ roll star. But in your brain, you are a rock ‘n’ roll star. When I hear that song by chance, on the radio or whatever, I just think, D’you know what, man? It’s still got it for me. It’s wide-eyed and wonderful.”
The track is undoubtedly in the greatest half dozen that Noel has penned over the entirety of his career and perfectly encapsulates that feeling of being young with the world as your playground, which in Oasis’ case it certainly has been.
The song speaks to lifting yourself out of the dirt to being one of the icons of music. It’s a track that sticks to Oasis’ values as the group acknowledged their lowly beginnings—it’s part of what made them so perfect for Britpop. The working-class lads stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of art school students and it endeared them to the public.
‘Rock N Roll Star’ is the quintessential slice of optimism we all need in our lives that is even more uplifting when heard like never before.