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The History of Oasis

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Formed in 1991 in Manchester, England, Oasis became one of the biggest bands to come out of the 1990s. Thanks to their style of alternative rock and Britpop music, the group found much success in the UK and then went on to conquer the United States. Tensions between the band members, especially between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, persisted throughout Oasis' existence however and this eventually led to the band's demise. In this video, we take a look at the history of Oasis.

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Rock band Oasis formed in 1991 in Manchester, England. The group originated from another band called The Rain, and was comprised of guitarist Paul Arthurs, bassist Paul McGuigan, drummer Tony McCarroll and vocalist Liam Gallagher. The line-up was solidified later that year when Noel Gallagher came on as the band’s leader and main guitarist, while Arthurs took over rhythm guitar.

Early UK Success

Oasis spent the next few months playing shows and recording a demo. They were then discovered by the co-founder of Creation Records Alan McGee in 1993. Their debut Definitely Maybe dropped the next year. Thanks to several successful singles such as “Supersonic” and “Live Forever,” the critically-acclaimed rock disc went to number one in the UK and found commercial success in the States.

Tensions and Rivalries

The subsequent live dates were fraught with tensions between the Gallagher brothers, and this sibling rivalry became a continuous source of media fodder throughout the band’s existence. In addition, the British press attempted to manufacture a rivalry between Oasis and fellow Britpop act Blur, who was also successful during this period.

UK and U.S. Success

Following line-up changes that included McCarroll’s replacement by Alan White, Oasis released their second album in 1995. Despite mixed reviews, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? topped the UK charts and reached the fourth position in the U.S. The alternative rock effort became a commercial success, and spawned several huge hits: “Some Might Say,” “Champagne Supernova,” and “Wonderwall.”


Following a successful but drama-filled tour, Oasis came out with Be Here Now in 1997. With the band at the peak of their popularity, the highly-anticipated disc became Britain’s quickest-selling record to that point and hit number two on the American Billboard 200 chart. However, the album was later criticized for its length and overproduction.

Brief Hiatus and Next Album

The Britpop movement soon began to decline. As a result, Oasis decided to stay out of the spotlight for awhile following the “Be Here Now Tour.” In 1999, Arthurs and McGuigan left the band. The next year, Oasis released Standing on the Shoulder of Giants on their own label, Big Brother. The album was influenced by psychedelic rock, and was another number one in the UK; however it received lukewarm reviews.

Line-Up Changes and Return to Rock

After a world tour, they came out with their first live CD: Familiar to Millions. Up next was 2002’s Heathen Chemistry, which was the first Oasis album to feature Gem Archer on guitar and Andy Bell on bass. It marked a return to a more basic rock sound and contained writing contributions from the other members for the first time.

Touring Incidents and Critical Success

During the world tour that followed, several of the band’s members were involved in a car accident, and later others were arrested after a nightclub altercation. Oasis released their next record Don’t Believe the Truth in 2005. This was their first with Zak Starkey on drums after Alan White’s departure the year before. This critical success continued the collaborative approach of the previous effort, and was supported by a huge world tour. That concert series was later documented in the rockumentary movie “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down.”

Last Album and Break-Up

Following the 2006 best-of compilation Stop the Clocks, the band released Dig Out Your Soul in 2008. The album topped the UK charts and peaked at number five in the U.S. With drummer Chris Sharrock replacing Starkey, Oasis then began promoting the record with a tour that was meant to last over a year. However, it was cut short when an argument between the Gallaghers ultimately resulted in Noel quitting the band.


After the breakup, the brothers went their separate ways musically. Liam Gallagher, along with Archer, Bell, Sharrock and new recruit Jeff Wootton on bass formed the band Beady Eye. They released their first album Different Gear, Still Speeding in 2011. Later that same year, Noel Gallagher released his debut Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Britpop Stars

Despite the Gallagher brothers’ frequent feuding, Oasis became one of the United Kingdom’s most popular exports in the 1990s and helped bring Britpop into the mainstream.

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