So, on Friday, Noel Gallagher posted this message on his blog:
“It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that 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.
Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan.”
And now, Liam has taken off on holiday – along with Andy from the band. The newspapers see it as the genuine end of Oasis, a journey that started 16 years ago up in the north-west of England. Some commentators with connections to the band have suggested that the brothers have always had a fractious relationship, and this will be no different, but from the direct approach Noel has taken, and after listening to Noel a lot on the radio over the past couple of years talking about his work, I suspect this really is the end of the road for the band.
In much the same way as the rivalry of The Beatles and Rolling Stones created a musical dynamic for the 1960s, the interplay between rough working-class Northerners Oasis and university-educated Southerners Blur formed the bedrock for an entire music and art movement in the early 1990s – Britpop. The emergence of these bands, along with others such as Suede and Pulp, all at the same time created an enormous creative scene in the UK and I remember that even just as a fan, it felt as if the eyes of the world were all trained on what music would come from Britain next.
The impact of Oasis on rock and pop music cannot be understated. Yes, they themselves were heavily influenced by the writing partnership of Lennon and McCartney, but their first couple of albums helped to defined British music in the 1990s. Their third album in 1997, went on to be the fastest-selling album in British chart history, but it proved to be the beginning of a long fallow patch. In my own view, their output from 1997 to 2002 was ruined by the excess of too many Champagne Supernovae… and good old Charlie.
Many fans gave up on them – remembering them only for their Britpop classics, but once they settled into the new decade with a new line-up that focused on the two Gallagher brothers plus Gem Archer and Andy Bell, they created a new unit with shared writing responsibilities – though Noel always remained captain of the ship. From 2002 onwards, their output started becoming stronger and stronger – proving that as they matured, they could also improve.
Now, it seems Liam has not been able to apply himself to the life of a professional musician even after all this time – preferring the hotel-burning life of a rock star and model – thanks partly to his new clothing line. It’s a shame it had to come to this when they were creatively working so well together.
Noel will do well as a solo artist though. He is still writing well and he can focus more on the music itself if he can shed the concern that Liam will smash up his guitars at every gig.