Liam Gallagher Biography
Liam Gallagher (born William John Paul Gallagher on September 21, 1972, Burnage, Manchester) is an English singer for the band Oasis. His erratic behaviour, distinctive singing style and abrasive attitude have been the subject of commentary in the press. Although his brother Noel Gallagher writes the majority of the band's songs, in recent years Liam has increasingly developed himself as a songwriter, and has contributed songs for the group's most recent albums.
Liam Gallagher was one of the figureheads of the Britpop movement in the 1990s and remains one of the most recognisable characters in modern British music. A 2007 poll rated him among the ten greatest wits ever.
Childhood and Early Years (1972-1993)
Liam was born in Burnage in 1972, the third and final child of parents Thomas and Peggy Gallagher. Thomas was an alcoholic and was often violently abusive to his family. Although his older brothers Noel and Paul took the most abuse, Liam has said that the abuse affected him deeply and inspired to become an artist. When Liam was 14, Peggy took the boys and moved away from Tommy. Although Liam maintained sporatic 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 were often. Liam was expelled from school at age 15 for fighting, and would often steal bicycles from local stores.
Noel Gallagher has said that Liam showed little interest in music until his late teens. Gallagher became confident in his abilties to sing and began listening to bands like The Stone Roses, 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 offered his services but he insisted that the band's name be changed to Oasis, named after a venue in Swindon, which was on an Inspiral Carpets tour poster in his and Noel's bedroom.
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 partnership.
Under Noel's guidance, Oasis acquired a record contract and recorded the album Definitely Maybe, which became the fastest selling British debut album ever. 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 their first American tour in 1994, Gallagher took to changing the words of Noel's songs so that they were offensive to both Americans and Noel. A confrontation after the show led to a chair being thrown and Noel leaving the tour and heading for San Francisco, then Las Vegas. (The song "Talk Tonight" is supposedly about the events that led Noel to rejoining the band.) During recording sessions for the second Oasis album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, they 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 straightaway, 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. However, the marriage got off to a bumpy start due to various incidents reported in the tabloids. Gallagher made headlines after an incident of road rage. He allegedly leaned out of his car window, grabbed a cyclist and dragged him along. The cyclist was not injured and Gallagher was given a caution. In January 1998 Lisa Moorish, who now fronts Kill City, bore Gallagher a daughter, Molly, who was conceived during an affair in Los Angeles only a week after he and Kensit were married. 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 although a civil case was pursued leading to Gallagher reportedly settling out of court. Liam later admitted the assault, claiming he was being hassled by the fan.
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, it's 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."
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 as the only original member. 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 was poorly received by critics.
Whilst 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 derogatory comment about Noel's then wife, Mathews (apparently questioning the legitimacy of Noel's daughter), 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 on 2 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. 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 hotel. 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.
Longtime drummer Alan White left in early 2004 to be replaced by Zak Starkey.
In 2004, Gallagher made headlines when it was revealed that he regularly paid £2000 ($4,000) in child support for his son Lennon Francis and daughter Molly. Furthermore, he criticised the father of Lisa Moorish's other child - former Libertines and current Babyshambles frontman, Pete Doherty - for his alleged lack of child support. The relationship between the two was put under further strain, because of Doherty's heavy heroin habit and visits to Moorish under the influence of the drug. Liam has recently expressed his disgust towards Doherty's habit in the press.
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), "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 Sport, 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."
In April 2007, it was widely reported that Gallagher had purchased a property in Henley-on-Thames.
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. At the 1996 BRIT Awards, INXS singer Michael Hutchence presented Oasis with an award, after which Gallagher remarked, "Has-beens shouldn't be presenting awards for gonna-bes".
Gallagher has made known his distaste for many non-Brits' tastes and conventions (particularly those of Australians and Americans). On an early U.S. tour, Gallagher regularly made derisive remarks about Americans, as well as his brother Noel, which led to an ultimatum from the guitarist who briefly left the band in 1994. At different times, addressing their less-than-hysterical reception in the States (especially by comparison to the UK), Gallagher stated, "...Americans have bad taste - hence the Backstreet Boys...they should be shot."and "Americans want grungy people, stabbing themselves in the head on stage. They get a bright bunch like us, with deodorant on, they don't get it."
He has in the past claimed that he was possessed by the spirit of John Lennon, even going so far as to suggest he is Lennon in a re-incarnated form, despite the fact that he was eight years old when the former Beatle was murdered. 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."
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." The UK-based music magazine NME has regularly proclaimed Liam as the "greatest British vocalist of the past 25 years."
Since the early days of Oasis, Liam's stage presence has become iconic in its own right. Liam eschews much more common styles of live rock and roll performance of standing up straight and singing directly into a handheld mic, possibly while moving about the stage or dancing in the manner of Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, or Axl Rose. Liam Gallagher's "singing pose" is instantly recognizable, and entails how standing with a bent knee, body bent towards one side, hands either clasped behind his back or in rarer occasions in his front pockets, neck angled up towards a mic that is set high and angled downwards. Liam also ensures that the mic 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, Liam can be seen touching the microphone with one hand, but still employing the rest of his unique 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" and "Life in Vain", 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".