More so than any other rock musician of his generation, Noel Gallagher has never been shy to acknowledge the influence his musical forefathers wield on his career and sound. Whether it’s openly pinching the guitar riff from George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ for ‘Supersonic’, lacing his lyrics with references to Bob Dylan, Neil Young and, of course, The Beatles, or covering a number of songs from the 60s and 70s with Oasis, Gallagher has long kneeled at the alter of the stars who typify the rock ‘n’ roll star he for so long wanted to become.
Appearing on Sunday’s (July 19) edition of Desert Island Discs, the long-running BBC Radio 4 show that asks guests to ponder what records they would want with them if castaway on an uninhabited isle, Gallagher was again paying tribute to his musical heroes, selecting tracks from some of the most influential guitar acts to emerge from Britain and Ireland during the seventies and eighties. There was also a hat-tip to rave culture and tribute to his wife, Sarah, while the frontman picked Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as his desert island book, explaining it is the only novel he’s actually ever read.
Here’s what Noel had to say on the eight tracks that make up his playlist.
The Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’
“I would have been eight or something and I remember being on the high street and seeing a guy with a peroxide, skinhead hairdo and he had an exclamation mark sprayed on the back of his head. I remember being with my mum and thinking, ‘Wow, what’s that?’ I loved [‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols’] because the music was great and it was a great pop album. [The Sex Pistols] changed everything. It was the rebirth of youth culture, which was dead.
David Bowie – ‘Let’s Dance’
“I vividly remember one night there was this thing on [TV] called The 5 Minute Profile: David Bowie. I’d never taken much notice of David Bowie, he didn’t really mean a great deal to me. I’d never heard the track ‘Heroes’ before and it blew my mind. I was like, ‘Wow this is amazing’. The only reason that I’m not going to play the track ‘Heroes’ is because my wife – the lovely Sarah – said to me this morning, ‘You are going to play Let’s Dance by David Bowie, aren’t you?’ and I said, ‘Well I was going to play Heroes’. She said, ‘Play ‘Let’s Dance’, You make me listen to it three times a week. You’ve ruined the song for me. I now hate it because you play it so much. Don’t go on Desert Island Discs and not play it’.”
Sign up for the newsletter
Pink Floyd – ‘Nobody Home’
“I know every single word. I can sing it in sequence at the drop of a hat. Roger Waters, I’d love to meet him. The songwriting is so simple and yet the story is so grandiose and the whole thing is so epic. I wish I could write an album like [‘The Wall’] – a concept album. This track, it bends my head. I probably ripped it off at least three times I can recall.”
The Smiths – ‘Hand In Glove’
“One of the only jobs I’ve ever had was in a screen printers firm and the radio was always on. I remember The Smiths coming on one afternoon and it was like ‘Wow what’s that?. I love this track because it was there first single and it’s got a colour to it. They’re so important to music in this country, particularly alternative music.
“The last time I was out with [Morrissey] was in LA. My jaw was sore from laughing at him, mainly because he was bullying Russell Brand.”
A Guy Called Gerald – ‘Voodoo Ray’
“After punk rock, which was the second youth culture explosion, the third one, which was acid house in 1987, took place at a nightclub, The Hacienda. It was a 40-second walk from my house. I remember going there one night and, of course, never having done ecstasy, thinking, ‘This is nonsense. What is this music? There’s no words. It’s just a drum machine and I can’t hear anything else’. And then taking ecstasy and going back and thinking ‘This is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard in my life’. The music, I still love to this day.”
U2 – ‘With Or Without You’
“‘The Joshua Tree’ at the time was just another record. You listen to it now and, honestly, it’s easily one of the best batches of songs any band have ever written. I love U2. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it, and shame on you if not.”
The Ronettes – ‘Be My Baby’
“I met Sarah in a nightclub in Ibiza. You’re not supposed to meet your future wife in a nightclub in Ibiza. If I could think of one person I’d rather go out clubbing with, it’d be Sarah. One person I’d want to go on a boozy lunch with, it would be her. I don’t ever envisage life without her, she’s everything to me. This was the song for our first dance at our wedding.”
The Beatles – ‘Ticket To Ride’
“I can’t really go through this without mentioning The Beatles. The first guitar that I ever bought when I actually had some money was an Epiphone, it’s what they used to play. They mean a great deal to me musically. They’re just the greatest thing in music that ever was.”