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Noel Gallagher

+ {Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds}

Hero of the Britpop movement and big brother of paparazzi-baiting Liam, iconic Manchester City supporter and songwriter extraordinaire NOEL GALLAGHER (born 29 May 1967, Longsight, Manchester) has been at the core of the music biz since OASIS broke through in 1994.
A troublesome kid from the city’s suburbs, Noel’s love of music (especially The BEATLES) and the guitar took him beyond nights in the cell and nearly into the job of singer with INSPIRAL CARPETS; just failing the audition he became their roadie in the early 90s. Frustrated at not getting that break of all breaks, he offered to join “our kid” Liam’s band, when all they wanted was a manager. Letting Liam do most of the talking, while he penned all the songs and played guitar, OASIS signed up with Alan McGee’s Creation imprint. And the rest was history; until their inevitable split in August 2009.
While his brother Liam was hyping his own act BEADY EYE, former sparring partner/brother was plotting his own comeback of sorts as NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS; aka Noel, plus on keyboards Mikey Rowe, guitarist Tim Smith, bassist Russell Pritchard (ex-ZUTONS), drummer Jeremy Stacey (ex-LEMON TREES) and percussionist Lenny Castro. Hit singles `The Death Of You And Me’ and the genuinely brill `AKA… What A Life!’ preceded a chart-scaling eponymous set, NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS (2011) {*7}, while `If I Had A Gun…’ was almost apocalyptically romantic. To save face or fight, one could call it a scoring draw for the sibling rivalry, a rivalry that will probably soon match the OASIS vs. BLUR media fiasco of the mid-90s. “Be” that as it may.
With BEADY EYE seeing out two sets before giving up the ghost in October 2014, round two of NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS was underway the following March; both Smith and Pritchard had proved surplus to requirements when multi-instrumentalist Paul Stacey (Jeremy’s twin) joined up.. The chart-topping CHASING YESTERDAY {*7} echoed his heroes like JOHNNY MARR (here as a guest on best cut `Ballad Of The Mighty I’), while even slices of DAVID ESSEX’s `Rock On’ found its way on to `Lock All The Doors’. Not quite NICK DRAKE, but procuring an old song title from the magic man, `Riverman’ was cool as Noel’s sunglasses, while his lyrical prowess was re-established on `The Girl With X-Ray Eyes’. Other track titles, `You Know We Can’t Go Back’ and `While The Song Remains The Same’, suggested OASIS were not about to be re-formed any day soon, but as they say, don’t believe the hyperbole.
As his brother Liam launched his own post-BEADY EYE solo career a la “As You Were”, the steadfast in name only, NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS, geared up for chart-topping album number three, WHO BUILT THE MOON? (2017) {*8}. Together with studio team: Jeremy Stacey (who was soon-to-be replaced by veteran Chris Sharrock), bassist Jason Falkner (a fill-in for tour-only Pritchard), and Keefus Cianda (for tour-only Rowe) – Gem Archer (ex-HEAVY STEREO) would replace Tim Smith – Noel’s team of players were swapped to suit the occasion; there were further additions on the promotional tour by way of the bonus attractions of backing vocalists Jessica Greenfield (also on keyboards), Charlotte Marionneau (also on tin whistle) and YSEE (aka Audrey Gbaguidi). Perennial guest spots for JOHNNY MARR and PAUL WELLER – on respective songs `If Love Is The Law’ and minor hit, `Holy Mountain’ – certainly supplied a hotchpotch of Britpop celebrity, while DAVID HOLMES sat at the production desk. If 50-something Noel had taken away anything from his star cameos for The CHEMICAL BROTHERS (`Setting Sun’ and `Let Forever Be’), it’d be that there was still plenty mileage in psychedelic indie-rock; prime examples: `Fort Knox’, `It’s A Beautiful World’ and `She Taught Me How To Fly’.
© MC Strong/MCS Jun2012-Dec2017

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