Oasis and the Beatles

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Oasis are a British rock band who were most heavily influenced by the Beatles, an influence that was frequently labelled as an "obsession" by the British media.[1][2][3] Vocalist Liam Gallagher named his first son Lennon.[4] The band has been known to perform live covers of "I Am the Walrus", "Helter Skelter", "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", which have seen release on live albums and as b-sides. From 2004 to 2008, Ringo Starr's son Zak Starkey was Oasis' drummer. Noel Gallagher sat on a panel in 2004 to decide on the most influential of pop artists to be included in the UK Music Hall of Fame, and was quoted as saying "[The Beatles] inspire me more now than they did when I was a kid and are still the greatest".[5]

Oasis have been successfully sued for plagiarism by Neil Innes, ironically himself a member of Beatles-parody band The Rutles sued by McCartney over plagiarism of the Beatles' songs, as Noel Gallagher's 1994 song "Whatever" directly lifted parts of its melody from Innes's 1973 song "How Sweet to Be an Idiot". This event was subsequently referenced in the Rutles song "Shangri-La" off their 1996 album The Rutles Archaeology, itself a parody of The Beatles Anthology.

Lyrical/musical references to the Beatles in Oasis music

Oasis songs also often contain references to Beatles' songs, such as:

  • "You can sail with me/In my yellow submarine" – "Supersonic" off Definitely Maybe (1994).
  • During live performances of "Whatever" (1994), the band often alter the lyrics to match those of Beatles song "Octopus's Garden".
  • "Walking to the sound of my favourite tune, Tomorrow Never Knows what it doesn't know too soon" – "Morning Glory" from (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
  • The song "Don't Look Back in Anger" from (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995) features a piano line near-identical to that of John Lennon's solo hit "Imagine", as well as a bridge section instrumentally reminiscent of "Octopus's Garden" and featuring a Lennon quote in the lyric ('so I start a revolution from my bed').
  • The song "Wonderwall" takes its name from a 1968 film for which George Harrison wrote the soundtrack. A lyric in the song, 'all the roads we have to walk are winding', references the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road".
  • "Champagne Supernova" features a lead guitar line (occurring approximately 5 minutes & 45 seconds into the song) markedly similar to the closing lead guitar of "Dear Prudence". Along with this, at the beginning of the song, features water splashing effects reminiscent or almost even identical to that of "Yellow Submarine".
  • "She's Electric" from (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995) ends with the same chord progression as the end of "With a Little Help From My Friends".
  • John Lennon was once asked to sum up the 60s in one phrase – his reply, "Be here now", was used by Gallagher for Oasis' 1997 album, and for the album's title track. George Harrison had previously used the title for a song on his 1973 album Living in the Material World.
  • "Sing a song to me/One from 'Let It Be'" – "Be Here Now" from Be Here Now (1997).
  • The "Na-Na-Na-Na" segment of "All Around the World" from Be Here Now (1997) is very similar to that of "Hey Jude"
  • "Get on the Helter Skelter/Step into the fray" – "Fade In-Out" from Be Here Now (1997).
  • "I'd like to be/Under the sea" – a line from Beatles song "Octopus's Garden" is recycled in "Take Me Away" from the Supersonic [EP] (1994). The same line can also be heard around the 4:50 mark of "The Masterplan" (b-side to "Wonderwall", 1995) being sung by Noel. Shortly thereafter, a rocking chair can be heard which is a reference to the ending of the "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles.
  • "Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine" – "D'You Know What I Mean?" from Be Here Now (1997).
  • "Down The Long and Winding Road/and back home to you" – "My Big Mouth" from Be Here Now (1997).
  • The title of "Go Let It Out" may be a reference to the line in "Hey Jude", "So let it out and let it in, hey, Jude, begin" (2000)
  • "Won't let you down"/"Don't let me down" – "Won't let you down", b-side to "Lyla" (2005)
  • The melody for the Liam track "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel" from Don't Believe the Truth (2005) by his own admission, is a slowed down version of "I Wanna Be Your Man".
  • "Who kicked a hole in the sky, so the heavens will cry over me?" a reference to Beatles song "Fixing a Hole" – "Let there Be Love" from Don't Believe in the Truth (2005).
  • "Love is a litany"/"A magical mystery" – "The Shock of the Lightning" from Dig Out Your Soul (2008).
  • "I'm Outta Time" from Dig Out Your Soul (2008) features an audio-clip of Lennon defending his right to live in New York, when he says "As Churchill said, 'It's every Englishman's inalienable right to live where the hell he likes. What's it gonna do? Vanish? Is it not going to be there when I get back?'"
  • "Falling Down" from Dig Out Your Soul (2008) imitates the rhythm and drum-focussed sound of "Tomorrow Never Knows"

References/Influences of the Beatles in imagery used by Oasis

  • The music video for "Supersonic" (1994) features the band performing on a rooftop, similar to a famous rooftop concert delivered by the Beatles.
  • The music video for "Shakermaker" (1994) features Liam Gallagher in a record shop, holding the Paul McCartney and Wings LP Red Rose Speedway.
  • The front cover of the "Live Forever" single (1994) features a photograph of the childhood home of John Lennon.
  • The cover of "Don't Look Back in Anger" (1995) is a reference to the story when Ringo left the Beatles for a short time, only to be welcomed back with flowers all over his drum set.
  • The cover for the single "Don't Go Away" (1997) features Liverpool Speke Airport, famous for being the site of the Beatles' return from a major trip to the US, to be mobbed by fans during the "Beatlemania" era.
  • The Rolls Royce on the cover to Be Here Now (1997) features the same license plate number "(SYD 724F)" as the police van on the Beatles Abbey Road album.
  • The video to "All Around the World" (1997) features the band in white suits similar to those worn by the Beatles for their performance of "Your Mother Should Know" during the film Magical Mystery Tour. Psychedelic, cartoon imagery – similar to that used in music videos by the Beatles – is used throughout, as the band appear to be travelling in a yellow spaceship, a reference to The Beatles song "Yellow Submarine". During the video, the band do in fact come across an actual yellow submarine.

Outside of Oasis

Both Noel and Liam Gallagher have continued to show the influence of the Beatles music outside of their work with Oasis.

In 1995, Noel performed on a cover of "Come Together" with Paul McCartney and Paul Weller under the guise of the Smokin' Mojo Filters, recorded at Abbey Road for release on The Help Album. In 1999, he provided acoustic guitar for Claire Martin's cover of "Help!". In 2000, Noel Gallagher was a guest performer at a John Lennon tribute show performed at George Martin's AIR studios, performing with other musicians on "Tomorrow Never Knows", "All You Need Is Love", and "I'm Only Sleeping". For a large part of Noel Gallagher's acoustic solo tour to promote the Oasis release Stop the Clocks in 2006, his set-list inclulded "Strawberry Fields Forever".

Liam Gallagher's new band Beady Eye have stated one reason they selected that name was so that as part of an alphabetised CD collection, their music would most probably be next to someone's collection of Beatles albums. As a charity single, the band recorded a cover of Beatles song "Across the Universe".


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