Submitted by Robin Blackburn
Oasis, one of the biggest British bands of the last 20 years, was formed in Manchester in 1991. Initially, the group was lead by Liam Gallagher (vocals), with Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs (guitar), Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan (bass) and Tony McCarroll (drums). However, when Liam’s older brother, Noel (guitar), joined he insisted on taking full control, becoming the band’s leader and sole songwriter. After a year’s gigging, the band signed to Creation and released their debut single, ‘Supersonic’, in 1994. Further singles raised the group’s profile, so that by the time of the first album, ‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994), they were already one of the leading lights of the emerging ‘Britpop’ phenomenon. Meanwhile, the band’s laddish behaviour, and a well publicised dispute with rivals Blur - caused by both groups releasing singles on the same day - kept them in the press. Despite the sacking of MaCarroll (who was replaced by Alan White) the band kept their momentum up with further singles - including their first number 1, ‘Some Might Say’ - and a second album, ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ (1995). The album went on to sell 19 million copies, becoming the third biggest selling album in the UK, and confirming the group’s position as the biggest band in the country. The following year’s gigs at Knebworth were seen by 250,000 people, marking the peak of the band’s popularity.
However, cracks soon began to appear, with McGuigan temporarily leaving, and a disastrous US tour which saw Noel returning home early without the band. However, they regrouped to record a third album, ‘Be Here Now’ (1997), which, despite selling well, was less popular with the critics. Even the band eventually agreed that it was too long and overblown. During the recording of the band’s next album, both Arthurs and McGuigan quit, leaving the group to finish ‘Standing on the Shoulder of Giants’ (2000) as a three-piece. The album included the first Oasis original material not to be written by Noel - Liam’s ‘Little James’. New recruits Gem Archer (guitar, ex-Heavy Stereo) and Andy Bell (bass, ex-Ride and Hurricane#1) were also encouraged to contribute songs, the results of which were seen on 2002’s ‘Heathen Chemistry’ and 2005’s ‘Don’t Believe the Truth’. The later album featured Zac Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son), who had replaced Alan White on drums.
Now that the hysteria of 1994-6 has calmed, Oasis seem to have settled into their role as one of Britain’s biggest bands. Their last three albums have all sold around 3 million copies each, and the band’s loyal fanbase continues to turn out in large numbers to see them live.