Following the recording of the band's seventh album Dig Out Your Soul (2008), Starkey left and was replaced by Chris Sharrock on Oasis' last tour as a collective band. During the tour the brothers' increasingly deteriorating relationship ultimately led to Noel Gallagher announcing in August 2009 that he would be leaving the band after a backstage altercation with Liam before a festival appearance. The band, comprising the remaining members of Oasis and led by Liam Gallagher, decided to continue working together under the name Beady Eye until breaking up in 2014, while Noel went on to form his solo project Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
Oasis have had eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums, and won fifteen NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for Outstanding Contribution to Music and one for the Best Album of the Last 30 Years as voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners; they have been nominated for three Grammy Awards. By 2009, the band had sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide. The band were listed in the Guinness World Records book in 2010 for “Longest Top 10 UK Chart Run by a Group” after an unprecedented run of 22 top 10 hits in the UK. The band also holds the Guinness World Record for being the most successful act in the UK between the years 1995 and 2005, spending 765 weeks in the Top 75 singles and albums charts.
Oasis evolved from an earlier band called The Rain, composed of Paul McGuigan (bass guitar), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Tony McCarroll (drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). Unsatisfied with Hutton, Arthurs auditioned acquaintance Liam Gallagher as a replacement. Liam suggested that the band name be changed to Oasis. This change was inspired by an Inspiral Carpets tour poster that hung in the Gallagher brothers' bedroom. One of the venues the poster listed was the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Oasis played their first ever live gig on 18 August 1991 at the Boardwalk club in Manchester. Liam's brother Noel Gallagher, who was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets, went with the band to watch his younger brother's band play. Whilst Noel and his friends did not think Oasis sounded particularly spectacular, he did begin to consider the possibility of using his brother's group as a possible outlet for a series of songs he had been writing for several years. Noel approached the group about joining with the proviso that he would become the band's sole songwriter and leader, and that they would commit to an earnest pursuit of commercial success. "He had loads of stuff written," Arthurs recalled. "When he walked in, we were a band making a racket with four tunes. All of a sudden, there were loads of ideas." Oasis under Noel Gallagher crafted a musical approach that relied on simplicity, with Arthurs and McGuigan restricted to playing barred chords and root bass notes; McCarroll playing basic rhythms, and the band's amplifiers turned up to create distortion, Oasis created a sound "so devoid of finesse and complexity that it came out sounding pretty much unstoppable."
After over a year of live shows, rehearsals and a recording of a proper demo (known as the Live Demonstration tape), the band's big break came in May 1993 when they were spotted by Creation Records co-owner Alan McGee. Oasis were invited to play a gig at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut club in Glasgow, Scotland, by a band called Sister Lovers, who shared their rehearsal rooms. Oasis, along with a group of friends, found the money to hire a van and make the journey to Glasgow. When they arrived, they were refused entry to the club as they were not on that night's set list, which reportedly caused the band to bully their way in (although both the band and McGee have given contradicting statements about how they actually managed to get into the club on that night). They were given the opening slot and impressed McGee, who was there to see 18 Wheeler, one of his own bands, that night. McGee was so impressed by what he saw he offered them a recording contract then and there; they however did not sign until several months later. Due to problems securing an American contract, Oasis ended up signing a worldwide contract with Sony, which in turn licensed Oasis to Creation in the UK. Following a limited white label release of the demo of their song "Columbia", their first single, "Supersonic", was released in April 1994, reaching number 31 in the charts. The release was followed by "Shakermaker". This song would become the subject of a plagiarism suit, with Oasis paying $500,000 in damages. Their third single, "Live Forever", was their first to enter the top ten of the UK charts. After troubled recording and mixing sessions, their debut album, Definitely Maybe, was released in September 1994, entering the charts at number one, and at the time becoming the fastest selling debut album in the UK.
The best part of a year of constant live performances and recordings, along with a hedonistic lifestyle, were taking their toll on the band. This behaviour culminated during a gig in Los Angeles in September 1994, leading to inept performance by Liam during which he made offensive remarks about American audiences and hit Noel with a tambourine. The incident upset Noel to such an extent that he temporarily quit the band immediately after and flew to San Francisco (it was from this incident that the song "Talk Tonight" was written). He was tracked down by Creation's Tim Abbot and they made a trip to Las Vegas. Once there, the elder Gallagher was persuaded to continue with the band. He reconciled with his brother and the tour resumed in Minneapolis. The group followed up the fourth single fromDefinitely Maybe, "Cigarettes & Alcohol", with the Christmas single "Whatever", which entered the British charts at number three. This song would later carry a co-writer's credit for Neil Innes, who sued and also won damages.
Oasis had their first UK number one single in April 1995 with "Some Might Say". At the same time, drummer Tony McCarroll was ousted from the band. McCarroll said, on leaving Oasis, that he was "unlawfully expelled from the partnership" for what he called a "personality clash" with the brothers. The Gallaghers, on the other hand, doubted McCarroll's musical ability, with Noel saying: "I like Tony as a geezer but he wouldn't have been able to drum the new songs". McCarroll was replaced by Alan White, formerly of Starclub and younger brother of renowned studio percussionist Steve White, whom Paul Weller recommended to Noel. White made his debut for the band at a Top of the Pops performance of "Some Might Say". Oasis began recording material for their second album in May of that year in Rockfield Studios near Monmouth. The band, by this point, had recorded the concert that would see release in August as Live by the Sea.
During this period, the British press seized upon a supposed rivalry between Oasis and Britpop band Blur. Previously, Oasis did not associate themselves with the Britpop movement and were not invited to perform on the BBC's "Britpop Now" programme introduced by Blur singer Damon Albarn. On 14 August 1995, Blur and Oasis released new singles on the same day, setting up "The Battle of Britpop" that dominated the national news. Blur's "Country House" outsold Oasis' "Roll with It" 274,000 copies to 216,000 during the week. Oasis' management came up with several reasons for this, claiming "Country House" sold more because it was less expensive (£1.99 vs £3.99) and because there were two different versions of "Country House" with different B-sides forcing serious fans to buy two copies. An alternative explanation given at the time by Creation was that there were problems associated with the barcode on the "Roll with It" single case, which did not record all sales. Noel Gallagher told The Observer in September that he hoped Damon Albarn and Alex James of Blur would "catch AIDS and die", which caused a media furore. He subsequently apologised for this in a formal letter to various publications.
Bassist Paul McGuigan briefly left the band in September 1995, citing nervous exhaustion. He was replaced byScott McLeod, formerly of The Ya Ya's, who was featured on some of the tour dates as well as in the "Wonderwall" video before leaving abruptly while on tour in the US. McLeod later contacted Noel Gallagher claiming he felt he had made the wrong decision. Gallagher curtly replied "I think you have too. Good luck signing on." To complete the tour, McGuigan was successfully convinced to return to the band.
"What Oasis has done in Britain, unifying an entire country under the banner of a single pop act, a band could no longer achieve in a country like the US. In Britain the band reigns unchallenged as the most popular act since the Beatles, there is an Oasis CD in roughly one of every three homes there. Last month, the band drew 250,000 people to Knebworth for the biggest outdoor concerts in the country's history; The group's battling brothers, Liam and Noel Gallagher, appear as regularly as royalty on tabloid covers."
The group played their first headline outdoor concerts at Maine Road Football Ground, Manchester on 27 and 28 April 1996. Highlights from the second night featured on the video...There and Then, released later the same year. As their career reached its zenith, Oasis performed back-to-back concerts at Knebworth on 10 and 11 August. The band sold out both shows within minutes. The audience of 250,000 people each night for two nights (2.5 million people applied for tickets, and 375,000 were actually sold, meaning the possibility of 53 sold out nights), was at the time a record-breaking number for an outdoor concert held in the UK, and to this day the largest demand for a show in British history.
The rest of the month proved to be difficult for the group. Oasis were due to record an episode ofMTV Unplugged at the Royal Festival Hall but Liam pulled out, citing a sore throat. He watched the performance from a balcony with cold beer and cigarettes, heckling Noel's singing between songs. Four days later the group left for a tour of American arenas but Liam refused to go; the band decided to continue the tour with Noel on vocals. Liam rejoined the tour on 30 August, and on 4 September 1996, Oasis performed "Champagne Supernova" at the1996 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Liam made gestures at Noel during his guitar solo, then spat beer all over the stage before storming off. A few weeks later Noel flew home without the band, who followed on another flight. This event prompted media speculation that the group were splitting up. The brothers soon reconciled and decided to complete the tour.
Oasis, 1997. L-R: Alan White, Paul McGuigan, Noel Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, and Liam Gallagher.
Oasis spent the end of 1996 and the first quarter of 1997 at Abbey Road Studios in London and Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey recording their third album. Quarrels between the Gallagher brothers plagued the recording sessions. Be Here Now was released in August 1997. Preceded by the UK number one single "D'You Know What I Mean?", the album was their most anticipated effort, and as such became the subject of considerable media attention. By the end of the first day of release, Be Here Now sold over 350,000 units and by the end of business on Saturday of that week sales had reached 696,000, making it the fastest-selling album in British history. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, but its first week sales of 152,000—below expected sales of 400,000 copies—were considered a disappointment. Although early media reviews were positive, once the hype had died down, the album was criticised for being bloated and derivative with most of the critics focused on the extensive length of several songs, the heavier sound, and overproduction.
By this time the Britpop movement was in decline, and the band had failed to meet expectations with their third album. After the conclusion of the Be Here Now Tour in early 1998, amidst much media criticism the group kept a low profile. Later in the year, Oasis released a compilation album of fourteen B-sides, entitled The Masterplan. "The really interesting stuff from around that period is the B-sides. There's a lot more inspired music on the B-sides than there is on Be Here Now itself, I think", related Noel in an interview in 2008.
In early 1999, the band began work on their fourth studio album. First details were announced in February with Mark "Spike" Stent revealed to be taking a co-producing role. Things were not going well and the shock departure of founding member Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs was announced in August. This departure was reported at the time as amicable, with Noel stating that Arthurs wanted to spend more time with his family. Arthurs' statement clarified his leaving as "to concentrate on other things". However, Noel has since offered a contradicting version: that a series of violations of Noel's "no drink or drugs" policy (imposed by Noel so that Liam could sing properly) for the album's sessions resulted in a confrontation between the two. Two weeks later the departure of bassist Paul McGuigan was announced. The Gallagher brothers held a press conference shortly thereafter where they assured reporters that "the future of Oasis is secure. The story and the glory will go on."
Guitarist Gem Archer performing at an Oasis concert.
The now three-piece Oasis chose to continue recording the album, with Noel Gallagher re-recording most of Arthurs' guitar and McGuigan's bass parts. After the completion of the recording sessions, the band began searching for replacement members. The first new member to be announced was new lead/rhythm guitaristColin "Gem" Archer, formerly of Heavy Stereo, who later claimed to have been approached by Noel Gallagher only a couple of days after Arthurs' departure was publicly announced. Finding a replacement bassist took more time and effort. The band were rehearsing with David Potts, but he quickly resigned, and they brought inAndy Bell, former guitarist/songwriter of Ride and Hurricane No. 1 as their new bassist. Bell had never played bass before and had to learn to play it, (with Noel since saying that Liam said "if he can play the guitar, he can play the fookin' bass.") along with a handful of songs from Oasis' back catalogue, in preparation for a scheduled tour of America in December 1999.
With the folding of Creation Records, Oasis formed their own label, Big Brother, which released all of Oasis' subsequent records in the UK and Ireland. Oasis' fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, was released in February 2000 to good first-week sales. It peaked at number one on the British charts and number 24 on theBillboard charts. Three singles were released from the album: "Go Let It Out", "Who Feels Love?" and "Sunday Morning Call", all of which were top five UK singles. The "Go Let It Out" video was shot before Bell joined the group and therefore featured the unusual line-up of Liam on rhythm guitar, Archer on lead guitar and Noel on bass. With the departure of the founding members, the band made several small changes to their image and sound. The cover featured a new "Oasis" logo, designed by Gem Archer, and the album was also the first Oasis release to include a song written by Liam Gallagher, entitled "Little James". The songs also had more experimental, psychedelic influences. Standing received only lukewarm reviews and is the band's lowest selling studio album.
To support the record the band staged an eventful world tour. While touring in Barcelona in 2000, Oasis were forced to cancel a gig when an attack of tendinitiscaused Alan White's arm to seize up, and the band spent the night drinking instead. After a row between the two brothers, Noel declared he was quitting touring overseas altogether, and Oasis were supposed to finish the tour without him. Noel eventually returned for the Irish and British legs of the tour, which included two major shows at Wembley Stadium. A live album of the first show, called Familiar to Millions, was released in late 2000 to mixed reviews.
Throughout 2001, Oasis split time between sessions for their fifth studio album and live shows around the world. Some gigs included the month-long Tour of Brotherly Love with The Black Crowes and Spacehog and a show in Paris supporting Neil Young. The album, Heathen Chemistry, Oasis' first album with new members Andy Bell and Gem Archer, was released in July 2002. The album reached number 1 in the UK and number 23 in the US,although critics gave it mixed reviews. There were four singles released from the album: "The Hindu Times", "Stop Crying Your Heart Out", "Little by Little/She Is Love", and "Songbird", written by Liam – Oasis' first single not written by Noel. The record blended the band's sonic experiments from their last albums, but also went for a more basic rock sound. The recording of Heathen Chemistry was much more balanced for the band, with all of the members, apart from White, writing songs. Johnny Marr provided additional guitar as well as backup vocals on a couple of songs.
After the album's release, the band embarked on a successful world tour that was once again filled with incidents. In late summer 2002, whilst the band were on tour in the US, Noel, Bell and touring keyboardist Jay Darlington were involved in a car accident in Indianapolis. While none of the band members sustained any major injuries, some shows were cancelled as a result. In December 2002, the latter half of the German leg of the band's European tour had to be postponed after Liam Gallagher, Alan White and three other members of the band's entourage were arrested after a violent brawl at a Munich nightclub. The band had been drinking heavily and tests showed that Liam had used cocaine. Liam lost two front teeth and kicked a police officer in the ribs, while Alan suffered minor head injuries after getting hit with an ashtray. Two years later Liam was fined around £40,000. The band finished their tour in March 2003 after returning to those postponed dates.
Liam Gallagher said Oasis began recording a sixth album in late December 2003 with producers Death in Vegas at Sawmills Studios in Cornwall. The album was originally planned for a September 2004 release to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the release of Definitely Maybe. However, long-time drummer Alan White, who at this time had played on nearly all of the band's material, left the band in early January 2004. At the time, his brother Steve White stated on his own website that "the spirit of being in a band was kicked out of him" and he wanted to be with his current girlfriend. White was replaced by Zak Starkey, drummer of The Whoand the son of The Beatles' Ringo Starr. Though Starkey performed on studio recordings and toured with the band, he was not officially a member and the band were a four-piece for the first time in their career. Starkey played publicly for the first time at Poole Lighthouse.
A few days later, Oasis, with Starkey, headlined the Glastonbury Festival for the second time in their career and performed a largely greatest hits set, which included two new songs — Gem Archer's "A Bell Will Ring" and Liam Gallagher's "The Meaning of Soul". The performance received negative reviews, with NME calling it a "disaster." The BBC's Tom Bishop called Oasis' set "lacklustre and uneventful ... prompting a mixed reception from fans", mainly because of Liam's uninspired singing and Starkey's lack of experience with the band's material.
After much turbulence, the band's sixth album was finally recorded in Los Angeles-based Capitol Studios from October to December the same year. Producer Dave Sardy took over the lead producing role from Noel, who decided to step back from these duties after a decade of producing leadership over the band. In May 2005, after three years and as many scrapped recording sessions, the band released their sixth studio album, Don't Believe the Truth, fulfilling their contract with Sony BMG. It followed the path of Heathen Chemistry as being a collaborative project again, rather than a Noel-written album. The album was the first in a decade not to feature drumming by Alan White, marking the recording debut of Zak Starkey, Ringo Starr's son. The record was generally hailed as the band's best effort since Morning Gloryby fans and critics alike, spawning two UK number one singles: "Lyla" and "The Importance of Being Idle", whilst "Let There Be Love" entered at number 2. Oasis picked up two awards at the Q Awards: one People's Choice Award and the second for Don't Believe the Truth as Best Album. Following in the footsteps of Oasis' previous five albums, Don't Believe the Truth also entered the UK album charts at number one. To date the album has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide.
In May 2005, the band's new line-up embarked on a large scale world tour. Beginning on 10 May 2005 at theLondon Astoria, and finishing on 31 March 2006 in front of a sold out gig in Mexico City, Oasis played more live shows than at any time since the Definitely Maybe tour, visiting 26 countries and headlining 113 shows for over 3.2 million people. The tour passed without any major incidents and was the band's most successful in more than a decade. The tour included sold out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden and LA's Hollywood Bowl. Arockumentary film made during the tour, entitled Lord Don't Slow Me Down directed by Dick Carruthers was released in October 2007. A second DVD included live footage from an Oasis gig in Manchester from 2 July 2005.
Oasis released a compilation double album entitled Stop the Clocks in 2006, featuring what the band considers to be their "definitive" songs. The band received the Brit Award for outstanding contribution to music in February 2007, playing several of their most famous songs afterwards. Oasis released their first ever digital-only release, "Lord Don't Slow Me Down", in October 2007. The song debuted at number ten in the UK singles chart.
The band's resurgence in popularity since the success of Don't Believe The Truth was highlighted in February 2008 when, in a poll to find the fifty greatest British albums of the last fifty years conducted by Q magazine and HMV, two Oasis albums were voted first and second (Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory? respectively). Two other albums by the band appeared in the list – Don't Believe The Truth came in at number fourteen, and the album that has previously been heavily criticised by some of the media, Be Here Now, made the list at No.22.
Oasis recorded for a couple of months in 2007 - between July and September — completing work on two new songs and demoing the rest. They took a two-month break, because of the birth of Noel's son. The band re-entered the studio on 5 November 2007 and finished recording around March 2008 with producer Dave Sardy. In May 2008, Zak Starkey left the band after recording Dig Out Your Soul, the band's seventh studio album. He was replaced by former Icicle Works drummerChris Sharrock on their tour and, like Zak, Chris was not an official member of the band and Oasis remained as a four-piece. The first single from the record was "The Shock of the Lightning" written by Noel Gallagher, and was pre-released on 29 September 2008. Dig Out Your Soul, the band's seventh studio album, was released on 6 October and went to number one in the UK and number five on the Billboard 200. The band started touring for a projected 18-month-long tour expected to last till September 2009, with support from Kasabian, The Enemy and Twisted Wheel. On 7 September 2008, while performing at Virgin Festival in Toronto, a member of the audience ran on stage and physically assaulted Noel. Noel suffered three broken and dislodged ribs as a result from the attack, and the group had to cancel several shows while he recovered. In June 2008, the band re-signed with Sony BMG for a three-album deal.
On 25 February 2009, Oasis received the NME Award for Best British Band of 2009 as well as best blog for Noel's 'Tales from the Middle of Nowhere'.
On 4 June 2009, Oasis played the first of three concerts at Manchester's Heaton Park and after having to leave the stage twice due to a generator failure, came on the third time to declare the gig was now a free concert; it delighted the 70,000 ticket holders, 20,000 of whom claimed the refund. The band's two following gigs at the venue, on 6 and 7 June, proved a great success, with fans turning out in their thousands despite the changeable weather and first night's sound issues.
As a result of Liam suffering laryngitis, Oasis cancelled a planned gig at V Festival in Chelmsford on 23 August 2009. Tension between the brothers rose and a fight between them in a backstage area on 28 August 2009 reportedly resulted in Liam breaking Noel's guitar. The group's manager announced the cancellation of their concert at the Rock en Seine festival near Paris just minutes before it was about to begin, along with the cancellation of the last date at I-Day Festival and a statement that the group "does not exist anymore".Two hours later, a statement from Noel appeared on the band's website:
"It is 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."
On 16 February 2010, Oasis won the award for Best Brit Album of the Last 30 Years at the 2010 BRIT Awards.Liam Gallagher collected the award alone before presenting his speech, which thanked Bonehead, McGuigan and Alan White but not his brother, Noel. Liam threw his microphone and the band's award into the crowd. On 15 March 2010, Liam defended his actions at the awards ceremony, saying "I'm sick of it all being about me and Noel, the last couple of months has pretty much been all about me and him so I thought it was only right to mention the other lads who played on the album and the best fans in the world." and "I thought it was a nice gesture to give this to the fans, obviously it was misinterpreted as per usual." about throwing the award.
Time Flies... 1994–2009, a compilation album containing singles by the group, was released on 14 June 2010. The decision to make the compilation a singles collection, and the track order, were decided by Noel Gallagher, who released a number of videos to the Oasis YouTube account relating to the collection.
On 26 February 2014, Noel via the band's official website announced that the first three studio albums would be reissued, remastered and re-released throughout the remainder of 2014 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Definitely Maybe. A remastered 3-disc version of Definitely Maybe was released on 19 May 2014.
Legal action has been taken against Noel Gallagher and Oasis for plagiarism on three separate occasions during the course of Oasis's career. The first was the case ofNeil Innes (formerly of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and The Rutles) suing to prove the Oasis song "Whatever" borrowed from his song "How Sweet to Be an Idiot". Innes was eventually awarded royalties and a co-writer credit. Noel Gallagher claimed in 2010 that the plagiarism was unintentional and he was unaware of the similarities until informed of Innes's legal case. In the second incident, Oasis were also sued by Coca-Cola and forced to pay $500,000 in damages to The New Seekers after it was alleged that the Oasis song "Shakermaker" had lifted words and melody from "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing". When asked about the incident, Noel Gallagher joked "Now we all drink Pepsi." On the third and final occasion, when promotional copies of (What's the Story) Morning Glory? were originally distributed, they contained a previously unreleased bonus song called "Step Out". This promotional CD was quickly withdrawn and replaced with a version that omitted the controversial song, which was allegedly similar to the Stevie Wonder song "Uptight (Everything's Alright)". "Step Out" later reappeared as the B-side to "Don't Look Back in Anger", albeit now listing "Wonder, et. al" as cowriters.