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Friday, 5 October, 2001, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Oasis: 10 years and rolling
Liam Gallagher
Liam Gallagher fronts Oasis as lead singer
Oasis have labelled their anniversary tour as 10 years of noise and confusion which is as apt a description of the past decade in the life of the Manchester band as one could imagine.

Drink, drugs, fights, walk outs and sibling rivalry have provided the tabloid backdrop to a musical career that encompasses four albums of widely varying quality.

Noel Gallagher
Noel is the creative force of Oasis
At their peak Oasis were more than just a band. In the mid 1990s Oasis were a cultural keystone, the apex of Cool Britannia and standard bearers for a more confident, brash and bold pop culture.

In 1996 the band sold 18 million albums and played to more than 250,000 people over two days at a concert at Knebworth.

Constant rumours

A year later and Noel was sharing a drink with newly-elected Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street.

But since then the band have struggled amid constant rumours of a split and the lives of the band members grab more attention than the music.

The Oasis story begins in Manchester, with two men, two brothers, Noel and Liam Gallagher.

Born and bred in Manchester with strong working class roots they have a creative partnership with all the ingredients to attract greedy tabloid journalists.

Noel writes the songs and Liam, mostly, sings them and when they are not performing together they are often at each other's throats.

Disastrous gig

They formed in 1991 with an original line-up made up of the Gallagher brothers, Paul Arthurs, Paul McGuigan and Tony McCarroll, and the name Rain.

They were renamed Oasis by Liam - after a local leisure centre - and after an initial disastrous gig Noel took over the creative reins.

Noel and Meg Mathews
Noel and Meg Mathews had a public divorce
The story of their overnight success is legendary and has probably been distorted and exaggerated over the years.

According to rock music mythology they went to Glasgow in 1993 to play a gig at the King Tut's Wah Wah Hut but were told they were not allowed to play.

Legend has it they were given a spot only after threatening the owner.


When they walked on to the stage Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records, walked into the club.

He heard Oasis play and when they finished he gave them a six-album contract.

The official biography of the band tells a similar, if self-congratulatory, story.

"When Creation Records supremo Alan McGee saw them at a club gig in Glasgow they had no manager, no agent, and no money. Just greatness," it reads.

"An unsuspecting world was about to be blown away," it trumpets.

If that sounds pompous, it is. Oasis have never been backwards at coming forwards with tales of their greatness.

Musical formula

They released their first single in the spring of 1994, called Supersonic, a song that Noel claimed to be about absolutely nothing.

After two more single releases, Shakermaker and Live Forever, Oasis' released their debut album Definitely Maybe.

The musical formula was simple with guitar riffs taken from Noel's idols such as Slade, T-Rex and the Beatles.

Brit awards quickly followed and the band drew praise not just from fans, but also from critics who had grown weary of the state of the moribund pop scene.

Oasis were a tonic and the Gallagher wagon was rolling.

As the band prepared to launch their second album - What's the story (Morning Glory) - they became embroiled in the start of a long-running and infamous feud with Blur.


The clash of the bands, the working class guitar music of Oasis and the supposedly more cerebral material produced by Blur, was a perfect story for newspapers who were only too happy to stoke the fire.

Nicole Appleton
Liam is now with Nicole Appleton
Oasis's single Roll With It went head to head with Blur's Country House (Damon Albarn of Blur later admitted he had precipitated the clash by shifting the release date of the band's single) and a war of words ensued.

Noel said he hoped Albarn would "die of Aids", a comment he later apologised for and while Blur scooped the number one single Oasis would emerge the victor in the long run as their album went on to sell millions.

Compared to the Beatles, lauded by music critics and making millions, Oasis could do no wrong.

But just a couple of years into the band's success fights between the two brothers and tales of drink and drugs excess began to dominate the coverage.

Garner praise

The pair have long endured a love-hate relationship, with Noel famously quitting an American tour and later refusing to tour at all with his brother in Europe.

The third and fourth albums - Be Here Now and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants - failed to sell as well and garner praise and Noel has since blamed his cocaine habit for interfering in the creative process.

The band began to be marginalized musically as the Brit Pop and Cool Britannia movements seem to run out of steam.

The newspapers were more interested in the Gallagher brothers' love lives - Noel's divorce from Meg Mathews and Liam's marriage and subsequent divorce from Patsy Kensit and his new relationship with All Saint Nicole Appleton.

A fifth album has been recorded and is due out shortly and it remains to be seen if Oasis can recapture the success of the 1990s.

Much has changed since 1991. The musical landscape is dominated by dance, garage and America R&B and the influence of traditional guitar bands has slowly been eroded.

The question fans and critics alike want to know is - has the Oasis dried up?

* Oasis play a series of concerts to mark their 10th anniversary. 7 and 8 October, London, Shepherd's Bush Empire; 10 October, Manchester, Apollo Theatre; 11 October, Manchester, Apollo Theatre; 13 and 14 October, Glasgow, Barrowlands.

See also:

18 Aug 01 | Music
Oasis tickets snapped up
03 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Baby Gene for Liam and Nicole
25 May 01 | Music
Oasis star wins Mirror damages
06 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Noel follows Liam's lead again
24 Sep 00 | Entertainment
All over for Liam and Patsy
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