Two words to inspire rabid reactions from even the dullest of nobodies…or Chris Martin from Coldplay as he’s more commonly known.
A certain narrative has grown up and taken hold around Oasis. That narrative tells the tale of how song writing genius Noel Gallagher rescued his little brothers desperate rock ‘n’ roll dreams by commandeering his band “Rain”. A few melodies later and Noel had created the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time.
There’s a problem with that version of the story though and that is…it’s bollocks.
The truth of the matter is that Liam Gallagher gifted his older brother the chance to realise HIS dreams. Liam was already doing his thing. Liam had got a band together. Liam was making things happen. Noel was busy lugging gear around for the Inspiral Carpets. Without Liam the only people who would ever have heard of Noel would have been…nobody.
Don’t get me wrong, Noel Gallagher is one hell of a songwriter. He’s got more tunes than Spotify. He’s never been involved in an album that didn’t go platinum. He’s got a massively successful solo career. He’s a funny guy…chat show gold.
But it’s Liam Gallagher who lifted those Oasis songs from being good to being anthems…songs that inspired an entire generation.
It’s difficult to imagine now but when Oasis broke into the public consciousness they were something utterly unique. Forget the tired lines about their being Beatles copyists because that’s so far from the truth as to be an election promise from a political party. They were a band made up of genuine working class lads…the last time that happened and my bet is it won’t happen again ever.
Every time they took to the stage all eyes were fixed on Liam. He didn’t dance. He didn’t leap around. He didn’t urge you to wave your hands in the air like you just didn’t care. He didn’t make small talk. He didn’t give “shout outs” to wherever he was playing. He didn’t introduce the band.
What did he do?
He was Liam.
That was enough.
He stood centre stage; a raging, roaring, ball of passion, drive and desire. He was the only thing that mattered. He hadn’t even opened his mouth and everyone was listening anyway.
Then came the voice. That voice. All Lydon sneers and Lennon authenticity but still sounding like nobody else. No mockney affectation, no mid-Atlantic drawl…just the sound of working class England. Raw. Honest. The voice of a generation.
The very best moments in the Oasis story; on stage, off stage, on record all revolve around Liam. He IS the story.
Just listen to any of these songs; “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, “Champagne Supernova”, “D’you Know What I Mean?”, “Who Feels Love?”, “The Hindu Times”, “Lyla” and “The Shock of the Lightning”. One track from each of the studio albums…each one a testament to Liam being the best voice of his generation. There’s nobody else like him.
Unlike a lot of men who made it big in the Britpop era there isn’t a single photograph of Liam looking like he’s gone shopping in a skip at the back of BHS or like he’s taken his style tips from Austin Powers. From The days when he was pinching clobber from clotheslines in Burnage to Pretty Green he has been a style icon. Like Paul Weller but with better hair.
After the death (could there be a resurrection?) of Oasis Liam dusted himself off and got down to the business of dealing with the loss of one of the best British melody makers of all time by…starting his own band, writing his own songs and steeling himself for the inevitable backlash from the press by getting on with being a singer in a band.
Beady Eye were exactly what was promised…top tunes, good times and great shoes. They didn’t shift the units that Noel and his high flying birds did but sales are only half of the story when it comes to bands you care about. The other half is the DTMI test; Do They Mean IT. No need to think about the answer for anything Liam is involved with. He doesn’t do half-hearted.
Now Beady Eye are gone but Liam is back. His first solo album is just around the corner; “As You Were” and if the first tracks are anything to go by its going to be brilliant. “Wall of Glass”, “Chinatown” and “For What It’s Worth” all suggest that he has moved past being a front man and singer to being a songwriter in his own right. I’m properly excited about the album.
It’s worth pointing out too that Liam Gallagher has a long history of being a good bloke; just take a look at any of the videos of him hanging out with fans, guest listing teenage wannabes or watch his performance at the Manchester concert following the bombing. He’s never lost sight of who he is or where he’s from. He’s one of us.
As you were.