William John Paul "Liam" Gallagher (born 21 September 1972 in Burnage, Manchester) is the lead singer and occasional guitarist of the English rock band Oasis. One of the figureheads of the 1990s Britpop movement, Gallagher's erratic behaviour, distinctive singing style and abrasive attitude have been the subject of commentary in the press. He remains one of the most recognisable figures in modern British music. Although his brother Noel Gallagher writes the majority of the band's songs, Liam has penned a number of the band's most well-known songs, including "Songbird", "The Meaning of Soul" and "I'm Outta Time".
Childhood and early years (1972–1993)
Liam Gallagher was born in Burnage in 1972, the third and final child of Irish parents Thomas and Peggy Gallagher. He, like brother Noel, is a Manchester City supporter. When Liam was 10, Peggy took the boys and moved away from Tommy. Although Liam maintained sporadic contact with his father throughout his teens, he says that today their issues remain unresolved.
Paul and Noel often contend that even from a young age, Liam went out of his way to antagonise people, especially Noel, with whom he shared a room. The Gallagher brothers were troubled children, especially in their teens. Liam was expelled from school at age 15 for fighting, and would often steal bicycles from outside local shops.
Noel Gallagher has said that Liam showed little interest in music until his late teens. Liam became confident in his abilities to sing and began listening to bands like The Stone Roses, The Who, The Kinks, The Jam, T.Rex, and The Beatles, forging a life-long obsession with John Lennon, which would later lead to him claiming he was Lennon re-incarnated. When school friend Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, invited Gallagher to join his band, The Rain, as a vocalist, he agreed.
Liam was the band's co-song writer, along with guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs. Noel Gallagher has since openly mocked this writing partnership, describing them as being "just awful," and even Liam said "We were shit." The band only rehearsed one day a week and didn't get many gigs. It was after one of their rare shows in 1992, that Noel, having recently returned from touring America as a roadie with Inspiral Carpets, saw them perform. Although Noel disliked the band, Liam asked him to join and Noel agreed on the condition that he be the sole songwriter, ending Liam and Bonehead's songwriting partnership. Noel later went on to say "If you think some of my early stuff is bad, you should have heard the stuff that those two were coming out with." It was around this time that Liam pushed for the band name to change to Oasis.
Under Noel's guidance, Oasis acquired a record contract and recorded the album Definitely Maybe, which became the fastest selling British debut album ever (until HearSay's debut album). Gallagher was praised for his vocal contributions to the album, and his presence made Oasis a popular live act. However, his attitude also won him much attention from the British tabloid press who often ran stories concerning his alleged drug use and sexual promiscuity.
During recording sessions for the second Oasis album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, the brothers had a violent fight involving a cricket bat, when Liam invited everyone from a local pub back into the studio while Noel was trying to work. Also in 1995, drummer Tony McCarroll was asked to leave Oasis after an alleged fight with Gallagher.
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? was even more successful, becoming the third-best selling album in British history. Around this time, Oasis became embroiled in a well documented media-fuelled feud with fellow Britpop band Blur. The differing styles of the bands now leading the Britpop movement — Oasis a working class, northern band and Blur a middle class, southern band — made them natural rivals. At the same ceremony, Oasis received the award from Michael Hutchence and insulted him straight away, saying, "Has-beens shouldn't be presenting awards to gonna-bes". On 14 August 1995, Blur and Oasis released new singles on the same day. Blur's "Country House" outsold Morning Glory's second single, "Roll with It", 274,000 copies to 216,000 during the week. When the band mimed the single on Top of the Pops, Liam pretended to play Noel's guitar and Noel pretended to sing.
After a record breaking two night stand at Knebworth, tension mounted between the Gallaghers when Liam backed out on Oasis' MTV Unplugged set minutes before it was due to start. Noel was forced to fill in at the last minute. Liam claimed to have been struck down with a "sore throat" and that he doesn't like performing acoustically, though Noel claims he was hung-over. Noel was further angered when Liam proceeded to heckle him from the balcony while the band performed. Four days later, Noel was again forced to fill in for Liam on the first gig of their American tour when Gallagher refused to travel to America with the rest of the band, claiming he needed time to buy a house. He was back on stage with Oasis for their next show three days later, but tension between Noel and the rest of Oasis mounted and on 11 September Noel left the tour, causing several media outlets to question the future of the band.
Gallagher married Patsy Kensit on 7 April 1997. After an incident of air rage (apparently over a scone) on a flight to Australia, Gallagher was banned for life from Cathay Pacific airlines. Gallagher claimed he would "rather walk". During the tour of Australia, Gallagher was arrested and charged with assault after allegedly head-butting a 19-year-old fan, who claimed he was only asking him for a photo criminal charges were later dropped.
Oasis' much anticipated third album, Be Here Now, was released on 21 August 1997. Although it was initially received warmly by critics and sold in record numbers, its critical stature quickly declined and is now thought of as overblown. Despite Noel Gallagher's dislike of the album, Liam has defended the album and still calls it "a top record."
Patsy Kensit bore Gallagher a son named Lennon Francis in September 1999. Despite this, the couple divorced a year later.
Oasis returned in 2000 with Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Founding members Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs and "Guigsy" McGuigan left during the recording, leaving Liam Gallagher as the only member remaining from The Rain. The album featured their first song written by Liam rather than Noel, "Little James", a childlike melody written for Kensit's son James Kerr. The album, along with the song, was poorly received by critics.
While on tour in Barcelona in May 2000, Oasis were forced to cancel a gig when drummer Alan White's arm seized up, and the band spent the night drinking instead. During the night, Liam made a comment to Noel leading to a fight. Following this, a press release was put out, declaring that Noel had decided to quit overseas touring with Oasis, and the rest of the band (with guitarist Matt Deighton replacing Noel) played the rest of Oasis' non-eqtenta.
Liam Gallagher's second son, Gene, was born to Nicole Appleton in July 2001. Liam famously tried to drag a photographer into a fight outside the hospital. Oasis' next album, Heathen Chemistry (2002), featured three more songs written by him. "Songbird" was an acoustic ballad about his love for Appleton. The song was the fourth single from the album, reaching #3 in the UK charts.
On August 7, 2002, Noel, Andy Bell and keyboardist Jay Darlington were injured in a car crash while riding in a taxi in Indianapolis, Indiana. The three members of the band were treated for shock, cuts, and bruises. Noel was riding in the front seat and suffered severe facial bruising and seat belt cuts, and Darlington had his hand cut and bandaged. Liam was not with his bandmates at the time of the accident as he was out drinking with beer buddies. Subsequent tour dates in Boston and New York City were cancelled and never re-scheduled. Later that year on December 1, Gallagher broke several of his teeth and sustained injuries to his face after a fight broke out in a Munich bar. He and Alan White were arrested, but were released without charge. Oasis had to pull out of the shows in Munich and Düsseldorf due to Liam's injuries.
2005 saw the release of Oasis' sixth studio album, Don't Believe the Truth, featuring a further three compositions by Gallagher. "Love Like a Bomb" (co-written with rhythm guitarist Gem Archer), "The Meaning of Soul" and "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel"
Gallagher joined the rest of Oasis to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at the BRIT Awards 2007. As the band picked up the award he commented on stage, "Seeing as we don't get nominated for this shit no more this'll have to do." Around the same time, it was announced that he was in negotiations with the makers of Channel 4 afternoon quiz Countdown to appear as the weekly celebrity guest in "Dictionary Corner". Co-presenter Carol Vorderman, interviewed by The Daily Star, said, "Liam loves it and yes, we're in talks about him coming on. I told him I think it will do his cred no end of good."
Gallagher and Appleton were married on February 14, 2008 at Westminster Register Office, the same venue where he married his first wife, actress Patsy Kensit. Also present were Appleton's sister Natalie and her husband, The Prodigy's Liam Howlett. Noel Gallagher and band mates Gem Archer and Andy Bell were reportably not notified until after the ceremony took place.
Oasis appeared on the music scene in 1994 and quickly made a public image for themselves. In 2006, it was alleged that Gallagher had a drunken fight with Paul Gascoigne at the Groucho Club which ended with Gallagher setting off a fire extinguisher in Gascoigne's face.
In March 2006, Gallagher publicly blasted The Rolling Stones and U2, saying "I respect the Stones but their songs are a pile of crap. As for U2, they don't say a lot or seem like normal people."
Gallagher has briefly touched on the topic of religious belief with the statement "I live for now, not for what happens after I die. If I die and there's something afterwards, I'm going to hell, not heaven. I mean, the devil's got all the good gear. What's God got? The Inspiral Carpets and nuns. Fuck that.". However Liam has confessed going to church, but he claims to not "be looking for guidance." He also claims "some days I don't believe and some days I do believe". Also Liam claims to have had "a conversation with God one night".
Liam's voice has been compared to a blend of John Lennon and John Lydon while Stephen Thomas Erlewine, contributor to allmusic.com dubbed him "the best singer in rock".
Gallagher has said that if he is anywhere in singing terms between the pair he would be happy.
On the Definitely Maybe DVD, Gallagher revealed that the reason he sings with his arms behind his back is because it allows him to project more power through his voice.
In 2006, Q magazine voted Gallagher the 11th best singer of all time, citing songs such as "Live Forever", "Lyla", "Don't Go Away"and "Champagne Supernova" as examples of his best work.
Since the early days of Oasis, Liam Gallagher's stage presence has become iconic in its own right. His "singing pose" is instantly recognisable, and entails him standing with a bent knee, body bent towards one side, hands either clasped behind his back, down by his side or in rarer occasions in his front pockets, with his neck craning up towards a mic that is set high and angled downwards. Gallagher also ensures that the microphone comes in the closest contact with him between his upper lip and nose, rather than directly in front of the mouth as is the case with most singers. In very early Oasis shows, Gallagher can be seen touching the microphone with one hand, but still employing the rest of his singing position with the rest of his body.
Liam's first known dabbles into songwriting came in the early days of Oasis, before Noel Gallagher joined. Liam and Bonehead co-wrote a handful of songs, Liam writing the words and Bonehead writing the music, including "Take Me", with only the former worthy for inclusion, according to Noel, though Liam refused.
Liam co-wrote a song (titled "Love Me and Leave Me") with former Stone Roses guitarist and songwriter John Squire for The Seahorses' debut album in 1997.
The first Liam-written song to appear on Oasis album was "Little James" for the 2000 Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
Liam wrote three songs on the 2002 Oasis album Heathen Chemistry: "Born on a Different Cloud", "Better Man" and "Songbird", the first Liam-penned Oasis single.
The 2005 Oasis album, Don't Believe the Truth, features a further three of Liam's songs: "The Meaning of Soul", "Love Like a Bomb" and "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel". Another Liam song is the acoustic ballad "Won't Let You Down" which appeared on the single "Lyla". Another Liam-written b-side "Pass Me Down The Wine" was from the single "The Importance of Being Idle" .
Liam has contributed 5 songs to Oasis' new 2008 release, Dig Out Your Soul. Three of which, "I'm Outta Time", "Ain't Got Nothin'" & "Soldier On" are included on the album, two others "Boy with The Blues" and "I Believe In All" are extra tracks included with the Deluxe box set version of the album. Two of his new songs are included on the band's setlist for their "Dig Out Your Soul 2008/2009 World Tour".
Oasis songs written by Liam Gallagher
"Little James" Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
"Songbird" Heathen Chemistry
"Born on a Different Cloud" Heathen Chemistry
"Better Man" Heathen Chemistry
"Love Like a Bomb" Don't Believe the Truth (co-written with rhythm guitarist Gem Archer)
"The Meaning of Soul" Don't Believe the Truth
"Guess God Thinks I'm Abel" Don't Believe the Truth
"Wont Let You Down" "Lyla" (B-Side)
"Pass Me Down the Wine" "The Importance of Being Idle" (B-Side)
"I'm Outta Time" Dig Out Your Soul
"Ain't Got Nothin'" Dig Out Your Soul
"Soldier On" Dig Out Your Soul
"Boy With the Blues" Dig Out Your Soul (Bonus Track)
"I Believe In All" Dig Out Your Soul (Bonus Track)