A forensic analysis of Liam and Noel Gallagher’s ongoing feud
A timeline of the best brotherly insults of all time
God and the Devil? Pffft, please, that’s a schoolyard fight compared to the epic clash of Manchester’s finest, Liam and Noel Gallagher, which has seen decades of physical and mental blows across the globe; visible on stage and plastered all over front pages.
With an age difference of five years, their relationship was fraught from the very start, with their mum Peggy describing a rivalry since birth in the Oasis documentary Supersonic: “I think there was that bit of jealously with Liam and Noel. Noel was beautiful as a baby and then Liam comes along – it takes the limelight off you.”
Obviously this is a perfectly normal reaction, but childhood for the Gallaghers was to be extremely difficult. Their father Tommy proved to be an abusive, gambling womaniser and drug taker, giving Noel such a hard time that he produced a stammer which took four years of speech therapy to get rid of.
But it was only when they were thrown into the spotlight in 1994, after Definitely Maybe was released, that the tumultuous relationship of the brothers Gallagher became of public interest. And, while they should be recognised mainly for their legendary music, we’ve taken a nosy look back through the most famous sibling feud in music in all its mad, fascinating detail.
29 September 1994: the wrong drugs
Oasis's Whisky a Go Go show in LA is thought to be one of their most shambolic performances ever, with Liam slurring and changing his words, hitting his brother on the head with his tambourine, insulting the American crowd, and just acting, well, like Liam.
Noel walked out on the band briefly after the show, a move that was thought to be down to Liam's actions during the infamous show. But it was actually down to the rest of the band doing drugs. The WRONG drugs...
Speaking to Stuff Magazine back in 2007, Noel said: "Well, first off, the reason why I left is because crystal meth is like cheap speed, and I was into far more exotic drugs at that point. I was quite upset my band members had become punks when I was busy reaching for the stars. But in regard to the drug thing, it was omnipresent."
7 April 1994: an entire interview of arguing
In an NME interview with John Harris, Noel and Liam spend an entire 15 minutes ripping each other apart.
The main topic of choice? Discussing what rock 'n' roll actually means, with both brothers using an Amsterdam gig as an event to prove their point, with Liam saying it was basically cool to get kicked off a ferry and deported, whereas Noel thinks playing an actual show to fans is rock 'n' roll.
Although some of it does come off as quite playful, you can tell that the seed of rivalry planted long ago is growing into full-blown hatred.
Here are some fantastic quotes from the shambolic interview, which you can also listen to below:
Noel: "If you're proud about getting thrown off ferries, then why don't you go and support West Ham and get the fuck out of my band and go and be a football hooligan, right? ‘Cause we're musicians, right? We're not football hooligans."
Liam: "You're only gutted ‘cause you was in bed fuckin' reading your fuckin' books."
Liam: "What happened on that boat, right, is we got, had a few drinks and that's because I like drinking. And I love it. I'm into it."
Noel: "You can't drink, you dickhead!"
Liam: "Who can't drink? Well fuckin' where the fuck did it go? It went right in there, and I dealt with it."
Noel: "Eeyare! Wooah!"
Liam: "Hey, shut up! Shut the fuck up!"
Noel: "You think it's rock 'n' roll to get thrown off a ferry, and it's not."
Liam: "I don't think it's rock 'n' roll."
Noel: You fucking...that was your quote, you prick!"
The entire interview was released as a single on Fierce Panda, astonishingly reaching number 52 in the charts, the highest position that an interview has ever reached.
1995: the cricket bat incident
During the recording of What's the Story, Morning Glory, Liam decides to nip out for a pint, only to return with a plethora of wildly intoxicated people, much to the disdain of Noel.
Noel being the sensible chap he is, forces his brother's new friends to leave the studio. Liam doesn't like this and loses it, attacking Noel and his guitars.
In retaliation, Noel cracks Liam over the head with a cricket bat, because who doesn't have one on hand when recording music.
The bat was sold as a collector's item along with a certificate of authenticity by music journalist Paolo Hewitt, who took it off Noel's hands after he said it was destined for the trash.
23 August 1996: Liam gets a sore throat before MTV Unplugged session
During rehearsals for the prestigious live show, Liam was complaining of a sore throat and was refusing to sing, saying he wanted to preserve his vocals for the big night.
The event comes and the band walks on stage. Well, nearly, all of them. Noel looks around and doesn’t see Liam, so decides to sing the entire set himself.
Midway through the performance, Liam then appears, nursing his sore throat with a beer and heckling his brother from the sidelines.
At the end of the show the crew ask if they can record the first song again – Liam shows up claiming to be better and asking if he can sing it. Noel tells him to piss off and does it himself, leaving Liam in an infamous strop.
4 July 2000: Liam questions the legitimacy of Noel's daughter
This went beyond playful northern banter to just pure nasty.
In Barcelona, Oasis cancelled a gig due to drummer Alan White injuring his arm.
Obviously, they all went out on the beers, and jibing brotherly chat turned sour when Liam questioned the legitimacy of his daughter, Anais, born to his former wife, Meg Matthews.
Noel jumped on top of Liam and, not surprisingly, kicked the shit out of him and split his lip.
Noel then leaves the tour while the band continue on without him, but Liam does eventually apologise.
12 February 2002: Liam loses some teeth
This is the point where Noel starts to not give a shit anymore - it almost seems like he’s losing interest in everything.
Liam gets into a bit of a scuffle in a Munich hotel with a group of Italian lads (something which - apparently - was none of the band’s fault), culminating with him kicking a German police officer in the ribs and losing a load of his own teeth.
“All I’m bothered about is that he can still sing,” he told the News of the World.
October 2005: Noel bites back
Instead of Liam giving it all that in the press, it’s Noel's turn to act the part of egotistical rock star in an interview with Spin magazine:
"I can read him, and I can fuckin' play him like a slightly disused arcade game. I can make him make decisions that he thinks are his, but really they're mine. Without fightin'. It's an art I've learned. Our relationship's the same, but we're getting older. Instead of insults and fist fightin', it's now more veiled psychological warfare through the press."
No more fighting? Oh Noel, you poor, naive fool.
28 August 2009: Noel leaves Oasis
He’s done it before - way back in 1994 when Liam was a bit of a dick during their Whisky a Go Go show, changing the lyrics of songs and hitting his brother on the head with his tambourine - but this time its serious, with a tambourine replaced with a guitar being swung.
Noel explained what happened at French festival Rock en Seine that led him to leave the band for good in a press conference speaking about his new project, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds:
“Liam was quite violent. At that point there hadn’t been any physical violence, but it was a bit like WWE wrestling, and he was like the Macho Man Randy Savage — he was like oooh yeah and all that going on—and it’s like, “Fucking hell.” … Liam does the “Fuck you and fuck you and fuck you” and he kind of storms out of the dressing room. And—I’m glad it never ended like this—on the way out he picked up a plum and he threw it across the dressing room and it smashed against the wall. Part of me wishes it did end like that, that would have been a great headline: Plum Throws Plum and Finishes Fuckin’ Oasis.”
Then he kind of leaves, he goes out the dressing room. For whatever reason he went to his own dressing room and he came back with a guitar and he started wielding it like an axe. I’m not fucking kidding. And I’m making light of it because it’s kind of what I do, but it’s a real unnecessary violent act, and he’s swinging this guitar around, and he nearly took my face off with it. It ended up on the floor and I put it out of its misery. … There were people who were in the band, not saying anything, kind of looking the other way. It wasn’t even a big dressing room. And I was like, you know what? I’m fucking out of here. And at that point the tour manager came in and said, “Five minutes!” … I kind of got in the car and I sat there for five minutes and I just said fuck it, I can’t do it anymore.”
But that’s not the end of the drama. After the press conference Liam decides to sue Noel for libel, accusing him of lying when he said that Liam didn’t play that year’s Chelmsford V Festival set – they withdrew, with the official line being that Liam had caught viral laryngitis - because he was hungover.
Noel apologises fairly quickly because he’s a rational human being, and Liam drops the lawsuit.
2016: the non-stop Tweets
Liam is relentless in his attacks on Noel on Twitter, his most popular insult calling him a potato followed by a zoomed in picture of his face.
August 2016: the return of Liam
In one of his first interviews in years, Liam opens up to Q about some wildly strange topics including chucking stones at Jamie Oliver's window and asking for bacon rolls, as well as climbing trees and sitting in them with his hood up.
And, as expected, he also opened up about his contempt for his older brother, accusing him of changing with the money he's earned and the company he keeps:
Liam: "Noel lives in a £17million house. That changes you, I reckon. You have appropriate furniture, appropriate kitchens, appropriate red wine that Bono’s recommended. And Damon Albarn becomes your mate. Fair dos, but not for me."
2 October 2016: the Supersonic premiere
Liam criticises Noel for not showing up to the premiere of the Oasis documentary Supersonic, and went as far as to comment on his brother's whereabouts: "He's in one of his really, really, really, really, really big houses, probably eating tofu and having a fuckin' face peel."
29 May 2017: Noel’s 50th birthday – a thawing?
Elder statesman Noel has a 50th birthday party, but doesn’t invite Liam, leading to a predictable slew of slaggings via Twitter:
However, come the day itself, suddenly, what’s this? A nice tweet?
He explained why he posted the message in a subsequent interview, saying:
Nah, I just woke up, you know with all the stuff that went on in Manchester, I woke up and I just thought: ‘You know what? You know I’m going there. Happy Birthday. And plus, I wanted to remind everyone he’s an old fart now. You know, the old 1.6m followers. There were people going, like: ‘What? he’s 50?’ I was, like: ‘Indeed. Yes he is.’”
“But you know, I did mean it,” Liam added. “He’s my brother, man, and I love him. As much as we get into all the tittle and tattle and that, you know, I wish him well, man.”
So all is well between them right? A possible coming together?
5 June 2017: One Love Manchester concert – it’s not all love
After the tragic events in Manchester on 22 May, a concert is organised by Ariana Grande to pay tribute to the victims and to raise funds for charity. Taking place at Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground, it’s a star-studded event, and an unannounced appearance from Liam steals the show, as he performs a phenomenal version of ‘Live Forever’ backed by Chris Martin and Guy Berryman. Would Noel come out to do a song? No he wouldn’t, and Liam was not happy about it.
September 2017: The Manchester Arena ‘PR stunt’ claim
Noel might not have played at Old Trafford, but he did go on to play an emotional set at the reopening of the Manchester Arena, telling those in attendance to “keep on singing, because then we win”.
All good, right? Surely this would make up for Liam’s issues with his brother’s no-show earlier in the year? Well, not quite.
“Don’t buy into his PR stunt he doesn’t give a fuck if the same thing had have gone of in Edinburgh he’d been up there like a shot ahem,” Liam tweeted…sparking a backlash both from fans and for those concerned it took the focus away from the victims of the Manchester attack.
Is there hope?
The fate of the band changes weekly. One day Liam will say he’d like to patch up with his brother for his mother Peggy and that the only thing holding Oasis back is Noel, the next day he’ll literally Tweet ‘FUCK OASIS’.
As much fun as it is to follow their dirty rivalry, it’s incredibly sad that’ll it will probably take a family death for them to make up, because both of their egos are so incredibly large that no one will put their hand out first.
”I’d do time for him. I love him. Me and him are cool. If anyone stepped on his toes, I’d cut them off,” Liam told the Melody Maker in 1995. That love doesn’t go away, it’s just buried deep down deep underneath a lot of insecurities and gallons of Stella Artois.
Enough is enough, time to stop looking back in anger, boys. If not for yourselves do it for the fans.
(Image credits: Rex/Getty)