Noel Gallagher: “Ray Davies is my hero”Playlist: five tracks that inspired NOEL GALLAGHER to write the music that made oasis rock ’n’ roll stars.
Oasis were the high priests of Britpop in the 1990s: Their concerts filled stadiums, they sold 50 million albums and their singles stayed in the British charts for a total of 765 weeks. Yet, in spite of their success, the Manchester band split in 2009 because the strife between Noel and his vocalist brother Liam had become unbearable.
Noel’s been solo ever since. Chasing Yesterday is the 47-year-old’s second solo album. It contains 10 new songs that combine Gallagher’s ingenious, Beatles-esque song-writing skills with new sounds, such as a clarinet and a washboard. Here he tells us which songs have made a mark on his life.
1 The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset
“All my recent songs are inspired by the art of Ray Davies’ storytelling. He’s the master, the unsung hero of the 1960s. In my opinion he should have a knighthood by now. He should be called Sir Ray Davies. I love Pete Townsend, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but Davies is probably a little bit better than all of them.”
2 The Beatles: Hey Jude
“The Beatles recorded so many great songs that it’s almost impossible to choose just one. Hey Jude isn’t even my favorite, but it had a big influence on me as a songwriter in my Oasis period. I can’t bear to listen to it anymore as I’ve played it to death. But I still think it’s one of the greatest songs ever made.”
3 Sex Pistols: Pretty Vacant
“If it wasn’t for the Sex Pistols, would any of us be here? They might be the single most important band of all time, because they re-ignited the youth culture that had been murdered by the hippies. My favorite song of theirs is ‘Pretty Vacant.’ The guitar riff is amazing. Their album Never Mind the Bollocks is the first record I bought.”
4 The Smiths: Nowhere Fast
“The Smiths gave me so much. Not that I’ve been influenced by Morrissey’s vocals or song-writing, or Johnny Marr’s guitar playing—you couldn’t be, because both of them are so fantastic. You can’t develop that. At the minute I’m really into a song called ‘Nowhere Fast’ off Meat Is Murder. It has amazing energy and an amazing rock ’n’ roll vibe.”
5 Rhythim Is Rhythim: Strings of Life
“The last song is totally electronic, because that’s a side to my influences most people know very little about. This brilliant track came out in 1987 and was produced by Derrick May, one of the pioneers of the Detroit techno movement. If you listen carefully, you’ll realize it inspired the song ‘AKA … What a Life!’ on my first solo album.”