Liam Gallagher

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Liam Gallagher

William John Paul Gallagher (born September 21, 1972), better known to the world as Liam Gallagher is the vocalist, and sometime tambourine player, of Britpop band Oasis, known for his outragous behaviour, distinctive singing style and attitude. Although his brother, Noel Gallagher, writes the majority of the band's songs, in recent years Liam has developed himself as a standalone songwriter to Noel.

Liam, more than his brother or his band, is one of the most polarising forces in the British music industry. His aggressive, controversial nature has led many to debate whether these are attributes necessary of a true "rock and roll star" or detriments showing Gallagher to be little more than an intensely unpleasant person, who, through chance, has been thrust into the public eye. Despite differing opinions on his antics, Liam was one of the figureheads of the britpop movement in the 1990's and is one of the most recognisable characters in British music.

Contents

Biography

Liam was born in 1972, to Irish parents Thomas and Peggy Gallagher. He is the youngest of three sons, his brothers being Paul (b. 11th January 1966) and Noel (b. 29th May 1967), to whom he is affectionately known as "our kid". When Liam was a child, he was often called "Peggy's shadow" as he regularly clung to his mother. When he was 14, his mother took Liam and his brothers and left Thomas due to his alcoholism.

Paul and Noel often contend that even from a young age, Liam had gone out of his way to annoy people, especially his two brothers. When Liam was around 8 years old, he went through a stage in which he claimed that he hated music and would often insult people walking down the street with guitars in their hands. Noel has made much of the fact that at the point he was becoming quite affluent with guitars. Because they shared a bedroom, they often fought with each other.

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Liam on stage during one of Oasis' stadium concerts

At school, Liam met Paul McGuigan, nicknamed Guigsy, and the two became friends. In the early 1990s, Guigsy informed Liam that his band, "The Rain", was in need of a vocalist, and so Liam offered his services. When he joined, Liam suggested the band's name be changed from "The Rain" (which was the name of a Beatles song) to "Oasis"; a name which he apparently saw on an Inspiral Carpets poster in Noel's bedroom. Liam became the band's song writer, along with Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (who was the also band's guitarist). Noel has since openly mocked this writing partnership, whose output was not strong. The band only rehearsed one day a week and didn't get many gigs. It was after one of their rare gigs in 1992, that Noel, having recently returned from touring America with the Inspiral Carpets, saw them perform. He was highly critical of his younger brothers band, describing them as "utter shite". However, Noel clearly saw some potential and offered to join if he was given complete control of the band and wrote all of their songs.

Under Noel's guidance, Oasis acquired a record contract and recorded the album Definitely Maybe, which became the fastest selling British debut album ever. Liam was praised for his vocal contributions to the album, and his presence made Oasis a popular live act. The second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? was even more successful, becoming the second-best selling album in British history.

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Liam smoking in 1995

Liam's life in the eye of the public has not been without its share of controversy. He is regularly involved in scuffles with members of the media, famously trying to drag a photographer into a fight outside the hospital where his girlfriend had just given birth to his son Gene. On December 1 2002 he broke several of his teeth and sustained injuries to his face after a fight broke in a Munich hotel. He and Oasis drummer Alan White were arrested, but were released without charge. Oasis had to pull out of the show in Munich due to Liam's injuries. He has been embroiled in disputes with celebrities ranging from Robbie Williams and John Lydon to former Oasis drummer Tony McCaroll and his own big brother, Noel.

Throughout the 90s Liam was infamous for his libido, mixing his sexual relationships with wild cocaine and alcoholic escapades. Various reports for his sexual life surfaced in the media and some female fans complained that after tours, Liam, drunk or under the influence of cocaine, tried to assault them with disjointed and foul language as well as touch their breasts. Liam met his first wife, Patsy Kensit in 1994 and married her on April 7 1997. A week after the marriage it was revealed he already has a daughter named Molly, born in April 14 1997, by Kill City vocalist and former groupie Lisa Moorish. A son, Lennon Francis, was born September 13, 1999. Nevertheless, his wild life didn't stop and he continued his sexual conquests and drug-parties. Consequently he and Kensit divorced in September 2000, shortly before Noel announced he was to divorce Meg Matthews. Undisturbed in the least just after his divorce was closed, Liam began a relationship with Nicole Appleton of the British bands All Saints and Appleton. His second son, Gene, was born to Appelton on July 3, 2001. Liam's song Songbird, on Oasis' Heathen Chemistry album, is about his love for Nicole.

Upon the departure of Paul Arthurs and Paul McGuigan from Oasis in 1999, Liam became the only remaining original member of the band. They were replaced by Gem Archer and Andy Bell.

In 2004, Gallagher made headlines when it was revealed that he regularly paid 2000 in child support for his son Lennon Francis and daughter Molly. Furthermore, he critisied 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 heroine habit and latter's visits to Moorish under the influence of the drug.

Public Persona

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Liam displaying his legendary arrogance

Oasis appeared on the music scene in 1994 and quickly made a public image for themselves. Whereas other Britpop bands such as Elastica and Manic Street Preachers chose not to play the media 'game', or if they did it was usually un-inspiring (as was the case with Blur), Oasis chose to portray themselves, arguably realistically, as loud mouthed, arrogant and aggressive. This caught the public's imagination. Though the other members of the band took this role lightly, Liam appears to have really taken it to heart, often verbally abusing photographers and members of the public in his Mancunian accent, with his trademark arrogant swagger.

He is a famously aggressive character and occasionally gets into fights. One of his most high profile disputes was with Robbie Williams. Following Williams split from Take That, the two became close friends. However, it was not to last. In his autobiography "Feel", Williams claimed "Liam was really paranoid about everything. It's dreadfully sad for him." The two battled through the press and the dispute finally came to a head when Robbie offered to fight him for a 100,000 charity purse. Liam never reciprocated. When James Walsh of Starsailor approached Noel to question him about negative comments made in the press, Liam chimed in and ended up squaring up to Walsh. The two were to feud for some time afterwards. It is alleged that he once tried to crush the testicles of an NME photographer with his bare hands.

Liam has also had a habit of making incomprehensible statements. He has claimed he was possessed by the spirit of John Lennon, even going so far as to suggest he is John Lennon in a re-incarnated form (he was eight years old when Lennon was murdered.) However strange Noel claims to find this obsession, he occasionally indulged him, going so far as to buy him Lennon's "dreamcatcher" necklace. However, in typical Liam fashion, "It came in a glass case, but I wanted to try it on," he says. "So one night I came in, tanked up and took a hammer to it. All these beads started falling off and rolling across the floor. I thought, 'Fuckin' hell, John Lennon's beads! It's back in a case now.'" When questioned about his opinions on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, he claimed "I know who fuckin' did it. It was the Scream. I'm gonna send a letter to President Bush telling him who did it: Scottish cunts. Havin' it large. Skinny fucker Gillespie." Unlike many band frontmen, actors and celebrities, Liam and Noel remained quiet about the Iraqi invasion in 2003, never solidly stating whether they were for or against it. They both criticised people who chose to use their celebrity as a soap box for political opinions.

Lead Singer

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Liam Gallagher singing on stage

Liam is renowned for his particular style of singing and his stage presence. Grating, arrogant and often nasal, Liam's voice in the Oasis tracks is recognizable. Noel has hinted that he uses certain words regularly in his songs because of the way Liam pronounces them when he sings. For example, Noel has included the word 'Shine' in several songs because Liam famously sings it as 'Sheee-yienn-ah'. Noel jokes that Liam now does this all the time, imitating Liam phoning him up and asking "D'yer wanna go for a piiiiiint-ah?"

Liam's stage presence has also been praised. Subtle to say the least, he is famed for going against rock and roll tradition by rarely touching the microphone or its stand. Instead, he stands, hands behind back, leaning towards the microphone. His popularity and praise as a performer is accentuated not by his actions (his stance, in essence fairly dull), but the prospect of his actions, his acclaimed vocal style and the arrogance with which he carries himself. This recognisable singing pose has been suggested by some as a main reason for his distinctive vocals, which have become something of an Oasis trademark. However, whilst this style has been praised for enhancing Liam's singing, it may also be damaging his voice as it is not good for the vocal chords.

The strain on Liam's voice has meant that, while on first three albums Noel would sing lead vocals on no more than one album track, and on some of the B-sides, the later two Oasis albums saw him take a more active role as a lead vocalist in the band. This could be explained as an attempt to preserve Liams voice, which has grown more nasal and gratling from his years with Oasis. As a tounge-in-cheek reference to this, Liam gives thanks the orange juice consumed during the Heathen Chemistry sessions on the album sleeve.

This strain hindered his singing and his role in the band. Thus, following the harsh reaction of Oasis' performance at Glastonbury 2004, where the pain made him give up while the band were performing 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out', he decided to approach noted vocal teacher Lisa Garvey in autumn 2004 because of his voice deterioration. According to her, Liam was forced to quit cigarettes and raise the microphone stand while singing, because the way he used to lean with his head up put a lot of stress on his larynx. This progress is evident on Oasis' upcoming album Don't Believe the Truth as well as on the concerts supporting the new record.

Songwriting

Since the 1999 lineup change Oasis have adopted a more democratic approach to songwriting, giving Liam a chance to showcase his abilities in this particular area, where his sibling Noel had previously been dominent.

Liam's first successful attempt to produce a song adequate for an Oasis album was "Little James" about his stepson James for 2000's Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. It became clear from subsequent interviews for the album, that he still needed his brother's help in a lot of areas for this particular song. However, this first song was not received well by fans or critics who mocked it's childlike rhyme scheme.

For 2002's Heathen Chemistry, Liam devloped himself further as a songwriter providing the album with a slow Lennonesque ballad, "Born On A Different Cloud", "Better Man" and the tender acoustic tune "Songbird", written for his fiancee Nicole. Noel claimed that his brother had written five songs for the Heathen Chemistry sessions and from these they took the best three. His tunes, along with the record, recieved a warm reception from critics, prooving that Liam.

The latest Oasis album, 2005's 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". The second is described by Noel as "Songbird's bigger brother" and a "song for the ladies", while the latter - as a song in the vein of "Born On A Different Cloud", but without the guitars. Another Liam song is the acoustic ballad "Won't Let You Down" - also inspired by Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" - which appeared on their new single "Lyla". Noel stressed that many of the batch of 70 tunes written for ythe Don't Believe the Truth session were written singlehandedly by Liam, which shows a progression.

However, at interview following the release of Don't believe the Truth, Liam stated that he doe not believe he is improving as a writer and often needs guitarist Gem Archer's assistance. As a conesequence along with Archer, Liam is credited as co-writer of his "Love Like A Bomb" on the sleeve of the new album. He commented "Gem helps me out a lot, I struggle with lyrics sometimes... I can't find the words. The words I find hard 'cos I'm fucking thick."

Brotherly Love

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Liam on the set of the Wonderwall video

The Gallaghers' famously share a turbulent relationship. Their arguments have achieved a status as something of Rock Legend. One of their arguments was even released on a bootleg single entitled 'wibbling rivalry'. The arguments seem to pit Noel's calm, complacent wit, logic and canniness against Liam's arrogance, tendency to fly off the handle, penchant for psychedelic non sequiturs (he once ended an on-stage argument by appealing to the crowd for biscuits) and his vocal dedication to any stand-point, no matter how incorrect or easy to dispel it is. Although Noel often ends up making Liam appear quite stupid in these exchanges, Liam's tendency to shout and swear his brother down appears an equally effective tactic. There are only a handful of known incidents where the two have actually come to blows. During their first American tour in 1994, Liam 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 Las Vegas. Whilst on tour in Barcelona in 2000, Oasis were forced to cancel a gig when Alan White's arm seized up, the band spent the night drinking instead. During the night, Liam made a derogatory comment about Noel's then wife Meg Mathews and Noel punched him, knocking him down. Following this, Noel declared he was quitting touring overseas altogether, and Oasis were forced to finish the tour without him.

Wibbling Rivalry

An excerpt of the argument released on the Wibbling Rivalry single:

Noel: Do you know John Lennon?

Liam: Yeah.

Noel: Well, you must be pretty old. 
      How old are you? 21?

Liam: No. About fuckin' thousand and five.

Noel: You're 22. and I watched you being born, 
      so shut the fuck up about John Lennon.

Knebworth - 1996

Noel: THIS IS HISTORY! RIGHT HERE, 
      RIGHT NOW! THIS IS HISTORY!
 
Liam: No it fucking isn't you daft twat.
      This is Knebworth.

An Award Ceremony, February - 1995

Liam had been trying to wind up Damon Albarn for some time when Noel walked in:

Liam: Arsed about the award. The award's 
      nothing mate. It's full of crack.

Noel: You're fucking stupid.

Liam: You can fuck off as far as 
      I'm concerned

Noel: You're just a fucking pop star.

Liam: Yeah, yeah! I am!

External Links

de:Liam Gallagher fr:Liam Gallagher ja:リアム・ギャラガー pt:Liam Gallagher

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