Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher was the vocalist and lead guitarist in the 1990s alternative rock band Oasis. He began a solo career after quitting Oasis in 2009.


Noel Gallagher was born in Manchester, England, on May 29, 1967, and experienced an unhappy childhood due to poverty and an abusive father. In 1991 he joined his brother Liam’s band, which evolved into the alternative rock band Oasis. Oasis has produced many hit singles such as “Supersonic” and “Wonderwall.” Known for his altercations with Liam, Noel left Oasis in 2009. He emerged as a solo artist in 2011 with his debut album, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Early Life

Musician Noel Gallagher was born in Manchester, England, on May 29, 1967. His father was Thomas Gallagher, and his mother was Peggy Gallagher. Gallagher grew up with siblings Paul Anthony, 18 months older, and William (Liam) John, five years his junior.

They experienced unhappy childhoods primarily due to abuse at the hands of their drinking and gambling father. Paul and Noel stammered, eliciting hits from their angry father. Both boys required four years of speech therapy to conquer their stammering.

The family struggled to keep afloat, with Noel’s mother working as a cafeteria cook and his father as a laborer when he could find work. As teens Noel and his brothers often got into trouble with the law and at school. At age 15 Noel was expelled for throwing a bag of flour over a teacher. Noel found solace in tinkering with his father’s guitar, and eventually his mother bought him his own guitar.

When Noel was 17, his mother left his father and took all three boys with her. Noel maintained contact with his father, working for the concreting business he then owned. Noel and his father continued to have a rocky relationship, and eventually Noel left to work for a gas company. There he suffered a work accident that crushed the bones in his left foot. It was during his recuperation that he wrote several of the songs that were later included in his Definitely Maybe album.

In 1988 Noel met the guitarist of the Manchester band Inspiral Carpets. They kept in touch, and Noel auditioned to be the lead singer when the previous one left. Inspiral Carpets chose someone else, but Noel ended up working for them as a road crew member.

Commercial Success

In 1991 Noel heard from his mother that his brother Liam had started a band called The Rain. Noel watched a performance and was unimpressed. He told them that to be successful, he needed to be the creative force; the band members relented. Noel began writing all their songs, playing lead guitar and singing. He also hated the band’s name, so it was changed to Oasis. In additional to Noel, Oasis included Liam as lead singer, Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs as rhythm guitarist, Paul McGuigan as bass player and Tony McCarroll as drummer.

Showcasing its alternative rock style of music, in 1993 Oasis played in Glasgow, where they were discovered by record executive Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records. McGee took their demo tape to executives at Sony America, who were impressed and signed the band to a six-album contract.

In 1994 Oasis released its first single, “Supersonic,” which performed well, hitting No. 31 on U.K. charts. Later that year Oasis launched its first full-length album, Definitely Maybe, which climbed to No. 1 in the U.K, becoming the fastest-selling debut album in Britain’s history. Another single, the rock ballad “Live Forever,” reached the No. 2 spot on the U.K.’s modern pop chart. The single “Some Might Say” performed even better, peaking at No. 1 in the U.K. in 1995.

Oasis’ second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory, achieved great commercial success in 1995, entering the U.K. album chart at No. 1 and reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. It became the fastest-selling album in the U.K. since Michael Jackson’s Bad. The hit single “Wonderwall” propelled (What’s the Story) Morning Glory to break into the Top 10 in America, where it reached quintuple-platinum status.

During this time Noel and Liam lived a classic rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle filled with drugs, booze and fights. They made tabloid headlines for fighting with fans, the press and each other. At one point during their 1996 American tour, Noel briefly left the band, but returned.

In 1997 Oasis completed its third album, Be Here Now, which included the hit “D’You Know What I Mean.” Though this album met with much success, the enthusiasm waned due to a media backlash against Noel and Liam’s excessive and turbulent lifestyle. Noel received even more criticism when he attended the high-profile New Labour media party hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair. Noel’s mingling with politicians tarnished his image with many fans.

In 1998 Oasis released a collection of B-sides, called Masterplan. Rhythm guitarist Bonehead Arthurs left the group in 1999, and Noel haughtily told media outlet NME, “It's hardly Paul McCartney leaving the Beatles, is it?" Ex-Ride guitarist Andy Bell replaced Bonehead after the recording of Oasis’ fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Oasis then released its first live record, Familiar to Millions, in 2000.

Noel decided to take more control over the band, setting up Big Brother Recordings to distribute Oasis in the U.K. He formed his own label, Sour Mash Records, in 2001 and debuted as a record producer for bands such as Proud Mary.

In 2002 Oasis released its fifth album, Heathen Chemistry, followed by Don’t Believe the Truth in 2005. Drummer Alan White, who had replaced original member Tony McCarroll in 1995, exited the band, and Ringo Star’s son Zak Starkey replaced him. The band’s seventh album, Stop the Clocks came out in 2006, and Dig Out Your Souls came two years later.

After a much-publicized falling-out with Liam, Noel quit Oasis in 2009. "We were backstage waiting to go onstage to 30,000 people in Paris," Noel said in a NPR interview. "The tour manager came in and said, 'Five minutes!' We broke up within that five minutes. I'm not proud of that, but all things come to an end." Liam then changed the band’s name to Beady Eye, and Noel embarked on a solo career.

After leaving Oasis, Noel stayed under the radar before surfacing again in 2011 with his solo debut, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. He is working on a second album in collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous, with an expected release in 2013.

Personal Life

Noel Gallagher moved out of his mother’s home when he was 22 years old to live with his girlfriend, Louise Jones. They dated for six years, until 1994. In 1997, Noel married interior designer Meg Matthews in Las Vegas. Meg and Noel's daughter, Anais, was born in 2000, but they divorced in 2001, reportedly due to Noel's alleged affair with Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald.

Noel and MacDonald have two children together: Donovan, born in 2007, and Sonny, born in 2010. The couple was married in June 2011, with Noel’s close friend Russell Brand serving as best man.

Noel is good friends with Richard Ashcroft, lead singer of the Verve. He nicknamed Ashcroft “Captain Rock,” and it is believed by many that the Oasis track “Cast No Shadow,” from the album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, was dedicated to Ashcroft.

Simon Cowell reportedly asked Noel to join The X Factor as a judge in Series 8 of the show, but Noel declined. He told the BBC that Cowell "called me up and he said he needed an alpha male to replace him…and he pushed and pushed for a while… but I was never going to say yes. All my mates were going, 'You've got to do it' and I was like it's eight months and I can't have these people round my house crying in the kitchen." He said that his daughter Anais, a fan of The X Factor, never forgave him for refusing to be on the show.

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