Oasis were a guitar band from Manchester, England originally consisting of frontman Liam Gallagher, lead guitarist Noel Gallagher, guitarist Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs, bassist Paul McGuigan and drummer Tony McCarroll. The group, who underwent numerous line-up changes over the years, split in 2009.
Arthurs, McGuigan and McCarroll played together in the Manchester band Rain with singer Chris Hutton; eventually, they ousted Hutton and drafted in Liam Gallagher as a replacement. Gallagher persuaded his bandmates to change their name to Oasis, inspired by an Inspiral Carpets poster which advertised the band playing a show at the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.
Shortly afterwards, Noel Gallagher went to watch the group play and, although not blown away, told them he would be willing to join if they made him chief songwriter. In 1993, they received a huge break when they were spotted by Creation Records boss Alan McGee at a gig at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. McGee was so impressed with Oasis that he signed them to a deal with Creation.
Oasis’s debut album, ‘Definitely Maybe’, was released in 1994. The LP became the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history at that time and has since sold over eight million copies worldwide. It also received a 9/10 review in NME, who said: “Few other debut albums have captured a band at such a fully-realised aspect, or are capable of scorching the soul with so many jaw-jarringly great pop moments.”
Oasis went on to achieve even greater mainstream success with their follow-up album, ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)?’, released in 1995. It is currently the fourth-biggest selling album in UK history with over four million copies sold. Shortly before the LP’s release Oasis had their first UK Number One single with ‘Some Might Say’.
During this period, drummer McCarroll was replaced by Alan White. It was also during this time that Oasis’s much-publicised rivalry with Blur began, culminating in the Battle Of Britpop: their single ‘Roll With It’ went head-to-head in the charts with Blur’s ‘Country House’ and the event received mainstream news coverage. ‘Country House’ eventually outsold ‘Roll With It’ by 274,000 copies to 216,000.
The success of ‘What’s The Story…’, which included the singles ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’, led to Oasis playing sold-out back-to-back shows at Knebworth in 1996. They played to 500,000 people over two days, which was – at the time – a new record for an outdoor concert in the UK.
Despite their popularity, relationships within the group began to fray: Liam pulled out of a scheduled performance on ‘MTV Unplugged’ but turned up to watch from the crowd and heckle Noel. Weeks later, Noel left the band during their US tour. However he later reconciled with his bandmates to quash rumours the group were on the verge of splitting.
Oasis released their third album ‘Be Here Now’ in 1997. Despite mixed reviews, it became the fastest-selling album in British history after selling 696,000 copies in one week. In 1999, original members McGuigan and Bonehead left the band shortly before the release of Oasis’s fifth album ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ (2000). They were eventually replaced by Gem Archer and Andy Bell, who played on the band’s sixth album ‘Heathen Chemistry’ (2002).
Oasis’s next album, ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ (2005), saw a more democratic attitude to songwriting; while Noel had previously written almost all of the songs, ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ was the first LP to feature contributions from every band member. Oasis’s next album, ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ (2008), would turn out to be their last; in 2009 Liam and Noel reportedly got into a fight backstage at a gig in which Liam allegedly broke Noel’s guitar. Writing at the time of his departure, Noel said: “With some sadness and great relief… I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”
Since the band’s split, Noel has enjoyed solo success as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, while the remaining members of Oasis have continued as the new band Beady Eye. Despite constant rumours that the band will reform in the future, Noel has repeatedly claimed he is not interested in reuniting with his former bandmates.