Maybe? Definitely! Every song Oasis ever recorded ranked in order of greatness
It was, I think, my friend Hamish who I once spent some time pondering the improbability of a band like Oasis existing. You’ve got these two brothers, sharing a room in a council house in Manchester, in the late ’80s and early ’90s. There’s Noel, on the top bunk, oblivious to the fact that the annoying little twat underneath him is the best singer of his generation. There’s Liam, on the bottom bunk, oblivious to the fact that the annoying slightly older twat above him is the best songwriter of his generation. And then somehow, because of fate or luck or magic or witchcraft, they work it out, and they form Oasis. What, actually, are the chances of that happening? One in a million? One in a trillion? One in a billion? No idea. But thank God it did, because I have no idea who else would’ve guided me through life from my mid-teens onwards. It’s sad, obviously, that Liam and Noel don’t talk anymore. But look at everything they’ve done and said and sung and drunk and snorted and played and filmed and sold together. Maybe there’s only so much intensity one relationship can handle. Their legacy, though, is epic. Untouchable maybe. Except these very bottom ones, which we’re going to run through very quickly…
Magic Pie (1997)
Most of the bad things people say about ‘Be Here Now’ are wrong or misunderstood (it’s too long! It’s overproduced! The songs are bad! Cocaine had a negative influence on the album!), apart from on ‘Magic Pie’, which is bobbins.
Dodgy cover of David Bowie’s finest moment that popped up as a ‘D’You Know What I Mean’ b-side. Do not add to playlist.
Those Swollen Hand Blues (2009)
Oasis never ever, ever sounded more like The Beatles than they do on this largely pointless ‘Falling Down’ b-side.
Takes 1.33 minutes to get to Liam singing. Too long, baby, waaay too long.
The Quiet Ones (2005)
Gem Archer wrote it, Liam sung it, everyone forgot it.
The Nature Of Reality (2008)
Andy Bell’s post-divorce, post-therapy meditation on life, love and atheism. Squint and it sounds a bit like Liam doing new vocals for The White Stripes’ ‘Ball and Biscuit’, with Meg on drums and all.
A Quick Peep (2002)
Waiting For The Rapture (2008)
Hung In A Bad Place (2002)
Merry Xmas Everybody (2002)
A strangely joyless Slade cover. Come on Noel, it’s Christmas. Recorded for the charity album ‘NME In Association With War Child Presents 1 Love’, though, so it gets some For A Good Cause points.
I Believe In All (2008)
An unremarkable ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ bonus track for the Japanese edition. Possible prototype for ‘You Better Run’ from Liam’s ‘As You Were’, which is an updated and improved version.
To Be Where There’s Life (2008)
Some late era Oasis songs could do with being deleted. This, written by Gem Archer, has the lyric that inspired the title of the album it lives on: “dig out your soul, cos here we go”. Which is something, I suppose.
(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady (2008)
A slice of plodding honky-tonk that was originally demoed for 2002’s ‘Heathen Chemistry’ and six years later found its way onto ‘Dig Out Your Soul’. It’s possible it took Noel that long to realise how good it is. It’s also possible that by the time Oasis’ seventh and final album came along he wasn’t that arsed anymore.
Force Of Nature (2002)
Written for a the film Love, Honor And Obey starring Jude Law and Jonny Lee Miller, ‘Force Of Nature’ is a tune that rips the beat from Iggy Pop’s ‘Nightclubbing’ and everyone thinks is about NG’s ex-wife, because of lyrics like “It’s all over town that the sun’s going down on the days of your easy life”. But Noel says he’d never do anything so undignified.
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1995)
Beatles cover. Probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
If We Shadows (1997)
Released in 2016 on the reissue of ‘Be Here Now’, ‘If We Shadows’ is hardcore acoustic Noel introspection, as a lot of his ‘97 tunes were. “All the feelings I got inside / nobody knows what’s wrong,” he goes, then: “everything I do is wrong / but I always sing my song, in my own way”. Never believe him when he says his lyrics don’t mean anything.
Who Put The Weight of The World On My Shoulders? (2005)
A dreary little thing that, somehow, ended up on the soundtrack to the film Goal!. The violins from the 3.20 mark are quite good, to be fair.
Thank You For The Good Times (2002)
No no no Oasis, thank you.
I Will Believe (1993)
Described as “shoegazer shit” by Dave Scott, the sound engineer at Oasis’ Pink Museum sessions in Liverpool in 1993. And his dim view of the song turned out to be a stroke of genius, as he talked the band into jamming a new instrumental instead, which swiftly turned into ‘Supersonic’.
Hey Hey My My (2000)
Noely G is a long-standing Neil Young fan, and so it was that Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’ was played 34 times on the ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ tour, and officially released on their live album ‘Familiar To Millions’. “Hey hey my my, rock ‘n’ roll will never die” is a very Oasis mantra, but this jam is laboured and strained.
Sunday Morning Call (2000)
One of two long, bleak and pessimistic Noel-sung tunes on Oasis’ fourth album ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ (the other: ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’) about which, Noel once said, “people who used to always turn up on my fucking doorstep, at ungodly hours of the morning – proper well-off rich, famous people – and run you through their drug and booze and hell… and you’ll be going, ‘Get a grip of yourself, man.” After the euphoria of everything the band did, said, released and recorded in the mid-late ‘90s, both were a bit of a shock. That’s what kicking a hearty cocaine habit will do to ya.
Where Did It All Go Wrong? (2000)
Part Of The Queue (2005)
Aka the one that sounds like ‘Golden Brown’ by The Stranglers.
See The Sun (1991)
Guigsy’s finest moment. Ignore how much of a Stone Roses rip-off this is, and let the pure vibes of his bass guitar flow through you.
Comin’ On Strong (1992/1993)
In ‘92/’93 Oasis recorded a woozy and punky demo called ‘Comin’ On Strong’ with Liam on vocals which, in 1996, became a woozy and dance-y Chemical Brothers song called ‘Setting Sun’ with Noel on vocals. The vibes are very different but, impressively, the vocal melody shines brightly on both, and is the best thing about each track.
My Sister Lover (1997)
‘Stand By Me’ B-side that was bumped off ‘The Masterplan’ for ‘Going Nowhere’. Correct. Confusingly, a demo version was first recorded in ‘92 and called ‘Lock All The Doors’, which Noel then rejigged and re-released as a High Flying Birds single in 2015. It’s done the rounds.
Full On (2000)
This, you suspect, was the song that became ‘You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’. It’s a dark and doomy stomper, and it’s a hell of a lot better than the song it was a B-side for (‘Sunday Morning Call’).
(Probably) All in The Mind (2002)
I love Oasis more than I love my own children (probably a joke!), but there are some songs I just cannot be arsed with. This is a bad version of ‘Who Feels Love?’, which isn’t exactly a classic. Liam doesn’t even sound good on it. So what is the point? A fact, though: it was first demoed by Noel and Andy Bell immediately after they’d finished a session with Paul Weller for a track of his called ‘One Times One’.
Colour My Life (1992)
Stone Roses homage co-written by Liam and Bonehead. In a review of ‘Colour My Life’ in the Christmas 1991 issue of Manchester listing mag City Life, Liam was described as sounding “a bit nasally… sort of like Dermo [lead singer] from Northside [a baggy Manchester band around at the time]”. Needless to say, LG had the last laugh.
Liam wrote the words, Bonehead wrote the music, and I guess he’d been listening to The Smiths a lot. It’s quite charming, really: “She always comes up smiling, and playing with her hair.” Although Noel did describe it as “pish” in a 2001 interview with Sky Box Office. Probably just jealous.
Let There Be Love (2005)
Imagine this song without Liam singing it. Horrendous!
I Will Show You (1992)
On which a 19-year-old Liam sounds every inch the Ian Brown fanboy.
Take Me (1992)
That bass! A little ripper of a Liam and Bonehead co-production, written before Noel joined the band. In a July ‘95 Q interview NG said he wished they’d record it, but they wouldn’t. Too busy getting wankered weren’t they.
Strange Thing (1993)
Dear The Stone Roses. I love you. I have stolen John Squire’s guitar playing from the song ‘Love Spreads’. Hope that’s cool. Love Noel Gallagher.
A Bell Will Ring (2005)
“The world’s as wide as your life is thin, so entertain your goals” is an amazingly – perhaps even admirably – bad lyric, but this Gem Archer jam has an otherwise trippy ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by The Beatles vibe.
Shout It Out Loud (2002)
Go straight to the two minute mark to hear Noel getting his Pink Floyd on. You can get away with that sort of thing on a B-side.
Must Be The Music (1992)
Trippy, rhythmical, danceable – a good warm up for ‘Columbia’.
Won’t Let You Down (2004)
Written by Liam, sung by Liam, acoustic guitar probably not played by Liam, but the lyrics are very Liam: “Won’t you say? It’s time that you came out and played / Let’s get out of our minds, won’t waste your time.”
The Turning (2008)
This, according to Noel in the October 2008 issue of Q magazine, is “The [Stone] Roses doing The Stooges with a nod to The World Of Twist.” That, plus the lyric “shake your ragdoll, baby”, make it worth exploring.
Turn Up The Sun (2005)
The good thing about having Liam Gallagher in your band, is that even if the bassist writes a dodgy tune for your new album there’s every chance he’ll rock up in a good mood and save it with some quality vocals.
Ain’t Got Nothin’ (2008)
Written a few months after Liam’s 2002 bar brawl in Munich, ‘cos he was annoyed with everyone saying it was Oasis who started the fight in which he had two teeth knocked out: “I don’t care what they say anymore, all I want is the truth”. The six year delay in releasing it reduced its potency somewhat, but hey ho.
Mucky Fingers (2005)
Yeah yeah, it’s ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ by The Velvet Underground. And yeah yeah, it needs Liam on vox.
I Can See A Liar (2000)
It’s pretty bad. Okay, it’s very bad. But one of the most intriguing things about Oasis around the year 2000 is that even though Noel’s songwriting had dipped a tad, Liam was still in his peak. Top hair, solid burns, good clobber, voice from the gods, made iffy tunes listenable on the regular. A prime example from The David Letterman Show:
John Lennon, 1980: “When ‘Help’ came out, I was actually crying out for help. I didn’t realise it at the time. I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest, looking back at how easy it was. I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for help.” Throughout January and February 1998 Noel played this Beatles cover 14 times, then kicked his cocaine habit later that year. Maybe he was trying to tell us something.
The Cage (2002)
Half an hour after ‘Better Man’ comes ‘Heathen Chemistry’’s very zen (and very ‘Fade In-Out’-y) instrumental secret track, ‘The Cage’. Five minutes later it ends, and your mood has probably improved. Strangely it made its way onto the ‘The Big Bash! NME Awards Nominations Album 2003’ alongside other year-defining classics such as ‘Supergyrations!’ by The Datsuns and ‘Sun Child’ by The Vines. Life is weird sometimes.
Put Yer Money Where Your Mouth Is (2000)
Dodgy song with dodgy lyrics elevated somewhat by amazing vocals. Brilliantly, though, ‘PYMWYMI’ was used as the intro music for season six of the Canadian version of Dragons’ Den.
Eyeball Tickler (2005)
It’s probably a coincidence that for 10-ish seconds this ‘Lyla’ B-side resembles ‘Fuck Forever’ by Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles, came out in the same year as it, and goes on to feature lyrics about a “shocking junkie suckin’ on your veins”, but you never know. I’m calling it: this is the best Oasis song Gem Archer ever wrote, and it would’ve rocked live.
Better Man (2002)
Liam’s idea was to write a song with a similar groove to John Lennon’s ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier’, and you know what? Decent effort.
Sittin’ Here In Silence (On My Own) (2005)
There’s a bit in the 2016 Supersonic film where Noel explains they ways in which he is a cat, and Liam is a dog: “Cats are very independent creatures, they don’t give a fuck. Right bastards. Dogs, it’s just fucking, ‘Play with me, play with me, please fucking throw that ball for me. I need some company.’ It’s as basic as that. I’m a cat, OK. That’s just what I am.” This, like ‘Talk Tonight’ or ‘Going Nowhere’, is a Noel Is A Cat song: playing on his own, singing about being on his own.
Helter Skelter (2000)
IMHO Noel Gallagher’s voice does not sound good when he is shouting. If only he knew a guy who was brilliant at that sort of thing…
Undeniably charming, if only for how young Liam sounds. The guitar work at 3.30 is absolutely classic Noel.
Carry Us All (2000)
Hidden away as a ‘Sunday Morning Call’ B-side, ‘Carry Us All’ seems to be a pep talk from born-to-Irish-Catholics Noely G to believe in yourself, rather than a God of any kind. “Everybody’s gone for quick, sure fire solution / But faith in any god will only bury us all”, he goes. “No-one’s gonna fight in a ten-bob revolution /Have faith in what you’ve got and it will carry us all”, he continues. Worked out pretty well for him, didn’t it.
You’ve Got The Heart Of A Star (2002)
A theory: could this slow, warm acoustic ‘Songbird’ B-side be about the eldest Gallagher, Paul, and how strange life must be for him? Some lyrical evidence: “Cos you can only be what you are / and you’ve got the heart of a star / but the light never hits ya.” Hm yeah, maybe. Some more lyrical evidence: “So be all you can / and just hold up your hands / someday you’ll understand why life never kissed ya.” Hmmm yeeeeeah, maybe!
Better Let You Know (1992)
Tony McCarroll doubters be gone. His loose and lithe ways are perfect on this tune inspired by the Cartouche’s house banger ‘Feel The Groove’, back when Oasis were still influenced by dance music.
Life In Vain (1992)
If Liam re-recorded this little acoustic gem, with all the Ian Brown twang taken out of his voice, it’d sound right good on one of his solo albums.
Bag It Up (2008)
A dirty rocker, and a salve for everyone who’d always wondered if the moment Liam singing “hee-bee-gee-bees” would ever come.
Boy With The Blues (2008)
A Liam-written ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ cast-off that became a ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ cast-off and then a ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ bonus track and then the title track of an EP released in 2009. As Noel correctly pointed out to NME in 2005, the “Come all together / If we come all together / We’ll come all together for you” has a Spiritualized kinda vibe.
Keep The Dream Alive (2005)
There is a quiet majesty to this gently optimistic Andy Bell jam. It builds and it builds, and it steadies your mood. Reddit wizards have noticed a secret high-pitched sound at the 4.33. If you can’t hear it: best see a doctor.
Falling Down (2008)
Sort of famously, before Noely G released his debut solo album in 2011, he made and then popped in the bin an album with psychedelic space-rock dudes Amorphous Androgynous. The origins of that almost exciting collaboration can be found in AA’s 22 minute panpipe-heavy remix of this single from ‘Dig Out Your Soul’. It’s a good trip.
Little By Little (2002)
Makes more sense the older you get. Once, I heard it while shopping in Topps Tiles, and this bit in particular really spoke to me: “And all the time I just ask myself… Why am I really here?”
The Meaning Of Soul (2005)
Liam’s best Oasis tunes always got there quickly. Here are 97 seconds of rapid rock ‘n’ roll, probably about himself: “I’m different bleach and an Armani elite, I’m ten out of ten all night.”
Idler’s Dream (2002)
Get this: this is the only Oasis song with no guitar on it, just Noely G and a piano. Get this too: it’s one of only three Oasis songs that don’t have any drums or any other form of rhythmical accompaniment on them (the others, you will already know, are ‘Married With Children’ and ‘Sad Song’).
One Way Road (2000)
Noel left it off ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’, then decided it was actually brilliant so played an acoustic version of it on a radio show in Toronto in 2005. Better than the original, without a doubt:
Can Y’See It Now? (I Can See It Now!!) (2005)
Mostly instrumental bonus track for the Japanese edition of ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ which, intriguingly, made it into a compilation CD called ‘Brand Neu!’ that celebrated the influence of German krautrock heroes Neu. A cynic might suggest Oasis were chosen for the compilation so they’d sell more copies. Someone more optimistic might say that no, here are the seeds of some of the more playful moments in Noel’s solo career.
Love Like A Bomb (2005)
When Liam Gallagher falls in love, he falls in love hard. “I’m seeing a whole other world in my mind / Girl I feel it I’m breathing a love all the time,” he goes. “You turn me on / love’s like a bomb / Blowing my mind,” he continues. “Yeah I’m seeing, a whole other world in my mind / Girl I’m feeling we’ve been in love all the time,” he concludes. A good example of his charmingly straightforward songwriting.
Born On A Different Cloud (2002)
The bit where it goes “talking to myself again, this time I think I’m getting through” – very good.
Bonehead’s Bank Holiday (1995)
Bonehead, to Mojo, in 2005: “Liam takes me down the pub and we come back at midnight, legless, and there’s Noel and Owen waiting for me to record my vocal. I’ve got Liam holding me up, holding the lyrics in front of my face. We’re making up the words. Everyone’s crying with laughter. Months later I got a cassette through the post. It just had ‘BBH’ written on it – five hours of outtakes of ‘Bonehead’s Bank Holiday’ from Owen. I still play it a lot.” Someone tell Bonehead to get that on YouTube pronto.
Who Feels Love? (2000)
An unusually trippy Oasis tune (and their weirdest ever single?) that peaked on July 22 2000 when Liam turned up arseholed to the second of two Oasis gigs at Wembley Stadium and changed the lyrics to: “I thank you for the sun the one that shines on everyone who deals drugs / Now there’s a million years between my fantasies and fears, I’ve got drugs.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the man’s a genius.
Guess God Thinks I’m Abel (2005)
Liam, in the June 2005 issue of Mojo, about writing this song: ”It’s Biblical innit. Cain and Abel… it’s me and our kid. Or me and you. Two people who are the opposite, who become one. I love him, I adore him, more than anyone else in the fuckin’ whole wide world. But we also don’t speak that much. It’s like, shut the fuck up, give respect and you’ll get respect back. Life, brothers and sisters, that’s what we all want isn’t it, respect?” A sidenote: it’s sweet that Liam’s best songs are his tender ones.
Pass Me Down The Wine (2005)
Liam doing some good, dark songwriting. A fact: the only Oasis song with the f-word in the lyrics (“and to all the fathers who are sick and fucking tired”). Should’ve been on ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’.
She Is Love (2002)
Noel’s ‘Songbird’. Very cute despite the slightly strange “she is love and I believe her when she speaks” line.
(As Long As They’ve Got) Cigarettes In Hell (2000)
“I don’t mind not going to heaven, as long as they’ve got cigarettes in hell,” goes Noel. Sold.
Lord Don’t Slow Me Down (2007)
The trouble with ‘Lord Slow Me Down’ is there’s the official version, with Noel singing, and an unofficial version with LG on the mic. We all know who’s winning that fight. Both cuts kinda sound like the brothers doing Bob Dylan Going Electric karaoke, which is something well worth hearing.
Soldier On (2008)
The last track on Oasis’ last album, written by Liam. Here’s Noel being nice about it in a 2008 issues of Q: “It would have been easier, and more obvious, to put an uplifting song at the end of the album. When I hear it I imagine a guy with a big fucking rope and lump of concrete on his back: as if someone has told him right – there’s your baggage. Take it through your life, that’s why it was last on the album. I really, really love that song.”
It’s Better People (1995)
‘Wonderwall’ with different, and actually brilliant, lyrics. “It’s better people love one another / ‘Cause livin’ your life can be tough.” 100% accurate. But not, it must be said, Noel’s attitude when it comes to his little bro.
‘All Around The World’ B-side that, somehow, avoids the distinctive sound of ‘Be Here Now’. It’s big and it’s loud, but it’s also measured, has a jaunty chorus, and crucially and most endearingly there’s a whistle solo.
Just Getting Older (2002)
Released as a ‘The Hindu Times’ B-side but written in the ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ doldrums of 2000, ‘Just Getting Older’ is the sound if Noel Gallagher facing his demons (“I’m halfway up to the bottom of another bottle”), his life that he no longer likes (“I can’t be bothered making conversation with the friends that I don’t know”) and his mortality (“I bet that this is how life turns out when you’re finally grown”). But Noel is tough and Noel is wise, so he gets his shit together: “You’re not cracking up, you’re just getting older”. As if to prove the power of the message, YouTube commenter GamingTutor writes: “This song saved my life. I went through a really dark time when I had really bad depression in my teens and this literally saved me.” And you cannot argue with that.
I’m Outta Time (2008)
The only ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ tune that Liam plays in his solo sets, which says it all. Keep reaching for those high notes LG.
Some Oasis songs don’t make perfect sense until they’re played in front of 60,000 people and given the Liam Changes The Lyrics treatment. I give you ‘Lyla’ at the City Of Manchester stadium on July 3, 2005. Liam’s adaptation goes like so: “I waited for a thousand years for you to come and fuck me out my miiiiiiind.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the man’s a genius.
Digsy’s DInner (1994)
“These could be the best days of our li-iiiiiiiiiiiiiives” – amazing.
Angel Child (1997)
Noel-sung ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ B-side written during his summer of ‘97 writing sessions on the private Caribbean island of Mustique. Classic melody, good lyrics, should’ve been on ‘Be Here Now’ instead of ‘Magic Pie’, and was briefly resurrected by Noel for two solo gigs in 2012.
Another Noel homage to Stone Roses’ guitarist John Squire, especially his heavier escapades on ‘The Second Coming’. The lyrics are very much classic early Oasis, with lyrics about “a new day dawning” and needing shades “‘cause the sun is blinding”.
The Girl In The Dirty Shirt (1997)
General consensus is that the reason Noel dislikes ‘Be Here Now’ so much is because much of it is about his ex-wife Meg. Here he is speaking to Q in September 1997: “You guessed it. Meg is the girl in the dirty shirt. We were doing a gig in Brighton, just before Meg and me were going out. She was at the hotel ironing a dirty shirt because she hadn’t brought enough clothes with her. I know it sounds a bit soft. Liam will read this and say, You fucking wanker! Because he thinks all the songs are about him. He even thinks Wonderwall is about him.” So songs like ‘The Girl In The Dirty Shirt’ get sort of forgotten, because Oasis never played them. Tune though.
Take Me Away (1993)
Solo Noel, acoustic, in the style of his heroes Burt Bacharach and Harry Nilsson, singing about a better life: “cos me and my soul we know where we’re going / we’re going where the grass is free, the air is clean and the good times are growing.” Classic early NG. One take. Easy.
Roll It Over (2000)
A textbook Noel cocaine comedown song – and the sad but grand finale to ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ – on which he takes a “look around at all the plastic people, who live without a care / try to sit with me around my table, but never bring a chair”. Liam gives it some necessary edge, and NG gets his very best Pink Floyd on at the 3.15 mark.
Little James (2000)[Text Wrapping Break]Liam Gallagher. For much of the mid-late ‘90s, a man both celebrated and despised for his wild, reckless, loutish behaviour, and a man who was not necessarily known for having a caring side, or for handling the big emotions well. ‘Little James’. A song written by said man for and about his stepson James, and his then-wife Patsy Kensit. There is a lot of heart, love and soul in this song, and there is a lot of //gratitude// in this song. He loved that kid. You can hear it. And that’s why ‘Little James’ is amazing.
The Hindu Times (2002)
Check out this demo version of ‘Heathen Chemistry’’s lead single: The sound is better, the lyrics are better, the pace is better and the vibe is better. Obviously Noel’s a genius, but he did make some weird decisions.
Street Fighting Man (1997)
Some cover versions just make sense. Liam Gallagher singing “well now, what can a poor boy do, except to sing for a rock n’ roll band?”. Yes please.
My Generation (2002)
The Who wrote it, but Oasis do it better:
The Fame (1997)
Just really great vibes. Big and shouty first cousin to ‘Step Out’, and perhaps a third cousin to ‘I Hope I Think I Know’.
The Shock Of The Lightning (2008)
The annoying thing about ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ is that this, the lead single, was written and recorded at the last minute, without too much thought put into it, and it came out great – exciting, loud, heavy, hard. It’s even got a freakin’ drum solo. A few more of these could’ve saved the album.
I Got The Fever (1997)
Bask in those giant ‘Be Here Now’ guitars and the even bigger plagiarism: “I can feel it coming in the air tonight”. A close relative to both ‘Stay Young’ and ‘My Big Mouth’, which probably explains why it never made it onto ‘BHN’. Rumour has it Liam’s eyeing it up for his live shows. Big shout.
Cum On Feel The Noize (1996)
One of the first songs Noel ever learned on the guitar (while touring as a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets) and then, in the most Oasis move ever, the grand finale of both of their Maine Road shows. Surely Slade have never been cooler than they briefly were on those two nights in April ‘96.
All Around The World (Reprise) (1997)
The finest piece of classical music ever written. Fuck you, Beethoven.
Fuckin’ In The Bushes (2000)
A Top Five Oasis debate: what’s the best instrumental, this or ‘The Swamp Song’? This has the advantages of being the heaviest thing Noel ever wrote and featuring some nice weird samples, but the disadvantages of never being played live by band (only used as a walk-on track) and missing out on Oasis in their pomp. ‘The Swamp Song’, meanwhile…
The Swamp Song (1995)
…has the advantages of being actually played by Oasis at, for example, Maine Road in ‘96, and used as a walk-on track at their biggest ever gig (Knebworth) that same year, but the disadvantages of… wait, there are none. Crucially, and decisively, it’s the song being played during one of Liam’s best over moments: walking on stage at Maine Road in a full Umbro tracksuit and still managing to look majestic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the man’s a genius.
Up In The Sky (1994)
Noel: “It’s about establishment figures who really didn’t have a clue how people were living in England at the time, and what people had done to the country. It’s quite an angry song. Have an acoustic version from ‘93 complete with slide guitar and Liam singing high notes, if you like:
Don’t Go Away (1997)
“Damn my situation and the games I have to play / With all the things caught in my mind” – amazing lyric. “Damn my education I can’t find the words to say / About all the things caught in my mind//” – amazing lyric. “//I need more time, yes I need more time / Just to make things right” – amazing lyric. The “me and you, what’s going on?” bit – heartbreaking.
She’s Electric (1995)
A lot of people pretend they don’t like this song, but every single one of them is lying.
The Importance Of Being Idle (2005)
The only classic late-era single?
The best Oasis song Liam ever wrote. It’s sweet, it’s simple, it’s vulnerable, and he sings it like a dream.
Stop Crying Your Heart Out (2002)
Change the word “stars” in the chorus to “scars” and you’ve got yourself a classic about the bumpy ride that is life.
Stand By Me (1997)
Done best acoustically, by a pool:
Hey Now! (1995)
The clunkiness of both “that read” and “it said” being used in this lyric (“The first thing I saw as I walked through the door was a sign on the door that read / it said you might never know that I want you to know what’s written inside of your head”) has annoyed me for almost two decades now, but there’s no denying that ‘Hey Now’ is massively underrated.
“I’d like to be somebody else, and not know where I’ve been” – amazing. Cost them $500k when Coca Cola sued Noel for liberally borrowing from ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’, as used on their adverts. Worth it.
Go Let It Out (2000)
Underrated and gently pyschy lead single from the comedown album (‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’) that only has three members of the band playing on it (LG, NG and Alan White) because they hadn’t got round to replacing Bonehead and Guigsy yet. Plus, in the video: Liam playing acoustic guitar on the top deck of a bus. Pick up the bass!
I Hope I Think I Know (1997)
Just listen to that boy sing. My god.
D’yer Wanna Be A Spaceman? (1992)
At some point in 1992 Noel and Liam went round to future Oasis producer Mark Coyle’s house in Manchester to record some demos, and this Noel-sung classic came out. “It’s funny how your dreams change as you’re growing old / You don’t wanna be no spaceman, you just want gold / All the dream stealers are lying in wait, but if you wanna be a spaceman it’s still not too late.” Believe. Liam does, and made the strange but brilliant decision to include it in some of his live shows in 2018.
Sad Song (1994)
The Noel-sung original has only had one official release, on the vinyl edition of ‘Definitely Maybe’ – between ‘Columbia’ and ‘Supersonic’ – so still feels a bit of hidden treasure. Unfortunately for Noel – who once said “it’s my voice on there because Our Kid could never sing a song like that” – a cut with Liam singing emerged in 2016 with the Supersonic film. Both versions are good, but come on:
Going Nowhere (1997)
Written, the story goes, in 1990, but not released until a B-side was needed for ‘Stand By Me’. Slots into Noel’s canon of quietly optimistic and ambitious early tunes, sung by him: “I’m gonna get me a motor car, maybe a Jaguar, maybe a plane or a day of fame / I’m gonna be a millionaire so can you take me there, wanna be wild cos my life’s so tame.” It’s impressive, really, that every single one of these dreams came true.
Roll With It (1995)
Famous because of the Oasis vs Blur / ‘Roll With It’ vs ‘Country House’ dustup and obviously a //crucial// stepping stone on the band’s journey to world domination, but really, one of the weakest tracks on ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)’. Best appreciated by watching LG and NG do a job swap while performing it on TOTP, in August ‘95:
Underneath The Sky (1996)
Noel plays the high piano parts (with his left hand, ‘cos he’s left-handed), Bonehead plays the low ones (with his right hand, ‘cos he’s right-handed), and Liam puts in a vintage performance. One highlight is the way he delivers “and as we drink to ourselves we’ll amuse ourselves”, but the best bit is when he pronounces the final word of the song “againnnnna”.
Rockin’ Chair (1995)
Bumped off ‘(What’s The Story)…’ in favour of ‘Wonderwall’, and rarely played live because Liam struggled with the chorus. It’s a lovely little thing, though, and has a good diss in it: “I don’t care for your attitude, you bring me down I think you’re rude.” A difficult line to get out of your head if you are ever faced with a particularly troublesome adversary.
Let’s All Make Believe (2000)
Why wasn’t it on ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’? Why wasn’t it released as that album’s lead single instead of ‘Go Let It Out’? How many songs has Liam sung better than this? Is it secretly the best Oasis song? Are you listening to it? Are you crying yet?
It’s Gettin’ Better (Man!!) (1997)
OK some of the lyrics are sort of silly (“say something / shout it from the rooftops of your head / make it sort of mean something”) and sure, it’s probably too long, and yeah, Noel’s soloing needs to be reigned in a bit. But my god the voice and the vibes and the chorus. It’s massive! A triumphantly OTT way to end the triumphantly OTTness of ‘Be Here Now’.
Married With Children (1992)
Another product of the ‘92 Mark Coyle’s bedroom sessions. “The song’s about pettiness,” said Noel in 1994. “If you live with someone there are always petty things you hate about them. Hence: “Your music’s shite, it keeps me up all night.” Great.
My Big Mouth (1997)
Always worth watching the Knebworth version from ‘96, to remind you that they played new songs at the biggest gigs the UK has ever seen (the cheek of it!), and also for the way LG sings, “that’s what you get for writing for the NME”, the way he holds his pint of Guinness and the way, at the 4.03 mark, he goes “into my big mouth, you could fly… A BLEEDIN’ CONCORD”. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the man’s a genius.
Be Here Now (1997)
It was, until Liam resurrected it for his solo shows in 2017, a forgotten classic. It’s now just a classic. Feel the power.
Stay Young (1997)
Some Oasis songs feature lyrics that describe the whole shebang better than any pathetic mid-30s fanboy journo ever could, and this is one of them. Need some life advice? Get this into ya: “Hey, stay young, and invincible / cos we know just what we are.” Fucking VIBES.
Pro: monstrously wonderful but for some reason often overlooked and underrated opening track on the album that turned Oasis into a supermassivemegaband. Con: according to a Guardian news story from 2013, nonce extraordinaire Gary Glitter has earned over £1m from it thanks to the use of the lyric “hello, hello, it’s good to be back” from Glitter’s 1973 song ‘Hello, Hello, I’m Back Again’.
Talk Tonight (1995)
Written, as we know, when Noel bailed on the band after a catastrophic gig at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in LA in 1994, and legged it to San Francisco to spend some soul-healing time with a lady he knew there. Then recorded in Texas after forgiving Liam for doing all that crystal meth and twatting Noel over the head with a tambourine. It’s good that you can hear Noel take his watch off before he starts playing, it’s even better that you can hear him cough to clear his throat and it’s quite frankly wonderful that he did this sad but soulful slice of acoustic magic in two takes, and two hours. Says Owen Morris, who produced it: “Then the rest of the band turned up and Noel was like, “Haha we’ve already recorded the track without you you wankers.”
Half The World Away (1994)
On which Noely G gets inspired by Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’, plays the drums all by himself and and finds a melody for the ages to carry some despairing lyrics: “And when I leave this island, I’ll book myself into a soul asylum”.
Step Out (1996)
Until early 2019, ‘Step Out’ was best known as the Noel-sung belter that didn’t make it onto ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ because Stevie Wonder was prepping his suits to get heavy on NG’s generous borrowing from the chorus of his tune ‘Uptight’. But then a clip emerged of Liam belting it out and now it’s nothing short of an apocalyptic fucking tragedy that this isn’t a bona-fide grade-A gold-rimmed generation-defining Oasis classic. PS, anyone who has ever questioned LG’s dedication to his art needs to watch this clip:
Cigarettes & Alcohol (1994)
Just. So. Beefy. The last song to be finished for ‘Definitely Maybe’. The fourth single from ‘Definitely Maybe’. The only song from ‘Definitely Maybe’, really, that is overtly political “Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there’s nothing worth working for?“. And one of the best songs ever written about being young and disillusioned, but with a belly full of fire.
Cast No Shadow (1995)
Is there a better way to describe the plight of humanity (and the vibe of Richard Ashcroft, on who this song is inspired) than “he walks along the open road of love and life, surviving if he can”? Nah.
Listen Up (1994)
A top five Oasis debate: what are the best lyrics Noel Gallagher’s ever written? This is a contender. That chorus is so pure, so Noel, so brilliantly executed by his brother: “Sailing down a river alone, I’ve been tryin’ to find my way back home / But I don’t believe in magic, life is automatic / But I don’t mind being on my own.” Throw Liam’s voice breaking under the strain at the 1.20 and you’ve got something very special indeed.
(It’s Good) To Be Free (1994)
A report from Marty Lester, the assistant studio engineer at The Congress House Studio in Austin, Texas, where ‘(It’s Good) To Be Free’ was recorded: “[Liam was] ranting like a maniac for much of the first day, which I thought was hilarious eve though I only understood about 10 per cent of what he was saying. I believe most of his venom was spat in the direction of the obviously shoddy drummer [Tony McCarroll].” Poor Tony McCaroll who, actually, sounds light as a feather here.
Fade In-Out (1997)
Johnny Depp played slide guitar on the album version, and blah blah blah. But as with many ‘Be Here Now’ songs, it’s true majesty can be found in the live versions. 1997 was one of the years when Liam Gallagher’s voice was at its absolute peak, and able to turn solid-to-good album tracks into something quite extraordinary.
D’You Know What I Mean? (1997)
It’s summer 1997, almost two years since ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ came out. Oasis are by far and away the biggest band in UK and people are desperate for new music. ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ drops on July 7. The excitement is palpable. It becomes Oasis’ biggest selling UK single, and the lead single for ‘Be Here Now’, which is still the fastest selling UK album of all time. This tune is seismic. This tune is historic. This tune, as LG might say, is biblical. “All my people right here right now, d’you know what I mean?” Yeah we do, yeah.
Round Are Way (1995)
Is this the most charming Oasis song of all? You decide (make sure you make it to Liam’s little zone out at the 2.30 mark):
All Around The World (1997)
Famously, Noel wrote ‘All Around The World’ before ‘Definitely Maybe’ came out (the old footage of them rehearsing it in the Supersonic film is quite something, eh) but didn’t record it until he could afford an orchestra to plonk on it. It possibly features the meanest Oasis lyric ever (“lost at sea? Well I hope that you drown”) and while people moan about it being too long (9.20 minutes, actually, it’s not long enough.
It was NME’s Senior Staff Writer Jordan Bassett who put to me the theory that ‘Wonderwall’, above all other Oasis songs, is where we hear the genius of Liam’s emotional intelligence. Give it to Ed Sheeran or Bastille or James Bay and you end up something icky. Chuck it to LG and you get a love song full of threat, longing, trepidation, disbelief, commitment, confusion and pain, just like actual love is. Didn’t get to Number One in the charts though, thanks to the rarely bettered creative might of Robson & Jerome’s split single ‘I Believe’ and ‘Up On The Roof’.
I Am The Walrus (1994)
The essential Oasis cover. As Noely G puts it: “If I cover a Beatles song, I’m just doing something someone else has written. When we do ‘I Am The Walrus’ we’re doing a song the Beatles never played live and we do it better than they would have done.” Doesn’t matter if it’s out of tune, cos you’re cool.
Massive shout: this is Liam Gallagher’s best ever studio recorded vocal performance.
Gas Panic! (2000)
A top five Oasis debate: what’s their most underrated tune? Ladies and gentlemen it’s ‘Gas Panic!’, of course, Noel’s best trying-to-kick-cocaine tune. Quickly marvel at the very un-Oasisy opening lyric (“what tongueless ghost of sin crept through my curtains?”), before coming on a journey through some of the most ridiculously good live versions of the song:
A) The supernaturally powerful vocals on Jools Holland (and Noel looking about 175 years old, for some reason)
NB: The classic classic classic version at Wembley
C: The psych-y mania at Rock In Rio, especially in the outro and Liam’s shirt
Morning Glory (1995)
Noely G: “When Liam sings that first line you know you’re at a fucking gig. You know things are gonna fucking kick off after that.” Also Noely G: “It’s a song about having nothing better than music and your friends.” I swear to God this guy is wiser than the Dalai Lama sometimes.
Fade Away (1994)
“While we’re living, the dreams we have as children fade away” – ridiculously good. Fun fact: it was recorded at the same time as ‘Listen Up’, ‘Whatever’ and a demo of ‘Some Might Say’ at the Maison Rouge studio in Chelsea. What a week! Another fun fact: for a while there, Noel was worried he was gonna get sued for ‘Fade Away’ because it sounds a bit like the Wham! Song ‘Freedom’. George Michael was always too cool for that sort of behaviour though.
Rock N Roll Star (1994)
The song that defines Liam’s entire existence.
Bring It On Down (1994)
August 9, 1994. Oasis are playing the Riverside in Newcastle. They’re part of the way through ‘Bring It On Down’ when some lunatic jumps on stage and boffs Noel in the head. Noel and Liam jump off stage and chase the bad man through the crowd and out of venue. This tune is pure danger.
Some Might Say (1995)
Amazing because: 1/ The key change at 2.30 minutes 2/ The lyric that comes directly after it (“some might say they don’t believe in heaven, go and tell it to the man who lives in hell”) 3/ And it was the band’s first Number One single. It’s been criminally underrated for so long, but inclusion in LG’s live setlists has given it a well overdue boost.
The Masterplan (1995)
Noel: “I was always going to sing ‘The Masterplan’. I always wanted to sing ‘Wonderwall’, but I’m glad Liam sang it cos he sings it better than I do. He can only sing one way. You put the mic there, you put the beers there, the fags there, and you just wind him up and wind him up until he goes that irate that he screams his bollocks off, and he’ll do it in one go and that’s it. And he’ll sweat like a fucking madman, and it’s fucking genius what he does. But when you try and get him to build something up from really quiet, forget about it.” And it makes. This is NG at his wisest and most poignant. How was this a B-side? How? How? How? How?
It says so much about how good Oasis were in the early years that ‘Whatever’ was just sort of plopped out as a standalone single in-between ‘Definitely Maybe’ and ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’. That string section. That chorus. That violin breakdown. And have you ever in your life heard lyrics as reassuring or aspirational as “I’m free to be whatever I choose, and I’ll sing the blues if I want” and “I’m free to say whatever I like, if it’s wrong or right it’s alright”?
If Oasis ever reunite (they won’t) they’ve gotta open with this, because of these 15 words that sum up the Gallagher plight: “There we were, now here we are / all this confusion, nothing’s the same to me”. And also, nostalgia heads, because it was the first song they played at their first ever gig, at the Manchester Boardwalk on October 19, 1991. A fact: the white label version of the band’s most dance music influenced tune was the first demo ever playlisted by Radio 1.
The debut single, and the moment British music changed forever. Recorded in December ‘93 and released in ‘94, it is the Gallagher manifesto: “I need to me myself, I can’t be no one else”. Check out Liam singing it on The Word, before he’d worked out how to properly be Liam:
Don’t Look Back In Anger (1995)
Listen to this, the first ever performance of a barely finished ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, from April 22 1995 at Sheffield Arena:
No one’s joining in, obviously. Then listen to this crowd of people in Manchester signing it as they grieve the people who were killed in the terror attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017:
This song means a lot to people. This song has a life of its own. In another article, by another writer, this is the best Oasis song. But not today.
Champagne Supernova (1995)
Every major O fan has deep emotions linked to their songs. Me? I can’t listen to ‘Champagne Supernova’ without crying. Because of the lyrics, mostly, which I’ve been getting wrong for almost two decades now (“but you and I we’ll never die” instead of “but you and I, we live and die”), and because of that magical Oasis mix of nostalgia, optimism, hope, glory, sadness, longing, the passage of time – all the good stuff. The sound of the sea gently sloshing in the intro is enough to turn my waterpipes on. Liam’s take on it is good too: “It just reminds me of getting pissed, in a big-style way, and fucking having loads of fucking drugs.” What a guy.
‘Acquiesce’ is sacred because, as things stand at 1505 on Friday May 10, neither Gallagher has performed it as a solo artist. This means something, because both of them have used gigs to send messages. Noel, for example, opening shows with ‘(It’s Good) To Be Free’ when he first went solo. Liam, for example, singing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ – without a shadow of a doubt, Noel’s song – at Glastonbury in 2017. Obviously the problem with ‘Acquiesce’ for both of them is that they share the vocals, and they’d have to find a way round that. But it wouldn’t be that hard, would it, for Noel to sing all the parts, or for Liam to get the crowd involved for Noel’s chorus. So the romantic in me is happy to believe that ‘Acqueisce’ will only ever get played live again on an Oasis reunion tour. “Because we need each other / We believe in one another,” and so on. They’re saving it for the big one. And my oh my that would be quite something. Best B-side ever? Probably.
Live Forever (1994)
It was, when it came out as a single four months after Kurt Cobain killed himself, an incredibly powerful message, and it remains that way. It is about you, the underdog, harnessing the powers of positivity, optimism and self-belief to achieve whatever you want to achieve (“maybe I just wanna fly / wanna live and don’t wanna die”). It is a fuck you to the people running this world, who think they can tell you what you can and can’t do (“we’ll see things they’ll never see”). It is a rejection of the banal and the mediocre (“maybe I don’t really wanna know, how your garden grows / and I just wanna fly”), and a celebration of just how magnificent human beings can be (“maybe I will never be, all the things that I wanna be / now is not the time to cry, now’s the time to find out why”). It is awesome. And I’m pretty sure that when, in my GCSE English Literature class, I was asked to do a talk about something I loved and I played ‘Live Forever’ from Maine Road in its entirety on the TV at the front of the room, even the teacher knew he was in the presence of greatness. So for old time’s sake:
Slide Away (1994)
The love song that conquers all. It’s got the longing phase (“I dream of you and all the things you say / I wonder where you are now?”), it’s got the giddy phase (“I dream of you and we talk of growing old / but you said please don’t”), it’s got the melting into each other phase (“let me be the one who shines with you, and we can slide away”), it’s got the anything is possible phase (“now that you’re mine, we’ll find a way, of chasing the sun”), it’s got the reckless abandon phase (“I don’t know! I don’t care! All I know is you can take me there!”) and all the other phases that come before, during and after. It also just so happens to be a perfectly crafted rock song that doesn’t relent for even half a second, sung by an intensely passionate human being who believes every word he’s singing, and who let this song take him to his absolute peak. There is a moment, 3.44 minutes into this vid from the second night of Oasis’ epic ‘96 Knebworth shows, where Liam sings the words “NOW THAT YOU’RE MINE” so powerfully it knocks his whole body backwards.
I watch that, and I think: has any frontman ever been better than that?