Mandatory Music: Liam Gallagher to Release Live MTV Unplugged Album, Much Better Than When He Went MIA With Oasis in 1995
There’s no definitely maybe about it. Liam Gallagher, the onetime lead singer of Oasis, is almost as famous for his antics off stage as for his music. He is often described as the bastard child of John Lennon and Johnny Rotten. With those two for parents, it’s no wonder he’s a musical genius — and a spoiled brat. While he never ate a bat’s head, Liam did get in fights, trash-talk his brother, and infamously bailed on an MTV Unplugged gig in 1996.
Though he cited a sore throat as the cause of his stage fright, many suspect other reasons. Either his prima donna attitude or drug use are the usual suspects. While no one can change the past, we do sometimes get second chances. Gallagher’s opportunity for a musical mulligan came some 23 years later. In September, Gallagher played his heart out for a crowd in Hull City Hall in the UK for an MTV Unplugged broadcast. An EP from the performance landed in January, and the entire album releases on June 12. We review the highs and lows of Gallagher’s career.
Cover photo: Michael Campanella / Contributor (Getty Images)
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1991: Oasis Is Born
Oasis played their very first gig way back in 1991 at the Boardwalk in Manchester. Liam suggested the name based on a poster hanging in his and his brother’s room, though the brotherly love wouldn’t last.
1993: The Big Break
The band’s big break came in 1993 when Alan McGee — co-owner of Creation Records — discovered Oasis at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Apparently they almost weren’t allowed into the club that fateful night, though the story changes depending on who you ask.
1994: A No. 1 Hit
Oasis released their debut album, Definitely Maybe, in late 1994. It quickly hit No. 1 on the charts and sent the band, Liam Gallagher included, skyrocketing to fame.
1995, Part 1: The Battle of Brit Pop
The rivalry between Oasis and Blur, another British rock band, dominated headlines on the island in 1995. The face-off culminated when the bands dropped singles on the same day, with Blur’s “Country House” besting Oasis’s “Roll With It.”
1995, Part 2: ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’
Clearly losing the battle was a bitter pill for the Gallaghers, with Noah even telling a paper he hoped their rivals would catch a disease. Proving karma isn’t a thing, Oasis’s second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, went on to become the UK’s fifth bestselling album in history.
1996: 'MTV Unplugged' Debacle
Oasis was set to appear on MTV Unplugged when Liam pulled out at the last minute, citing a sore throat. Folks wondered if this was the true story when Liam and his girlfriend showed up to the event as audience members, with Liam proceeding to smoke, drink and loudly heckle his own band.
1997: ‘Be Here Now’
Oasis’s moment in the sun continued to shine with the release of their third album, Be Here Now, in 1997. Despite the album’s record-setting sales, creative difference between Liam and Noel led to heated arguments and very tense recording sessions.
2000: Bye, Bye Band Members
When Oasis released its fourth album in 2000, conflicts between the Gallagher brothers and other band members led to two founding members — Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs and Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan) — leaving. In a sign of things to come, Noel quit the band for part of the tour due to fights with his brother Liam as well, though he eventually returned.
The battle of the brothers, or the Gallaghbowl in Game of Thrones parlance, finally came to a head in 2009 when the band canceled several major shows in a row, all minutes before they were supposed to go on. Liam sued Noah, and though the brother made up, Oasis disappeared like a mirage in the desert.
2019: 'MTV Unplugged,' Take 2
Liam Gallagher finally made it to his date with MTV Unplugged in September 2019, albeit as a more mature and somewhat less cantankerous solo act. There’s even hope of an Oasis reunion once the COVID-19 pandemic is contained, so maybe fans haven’t seen their last champagne supernova just yet.