This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #447: Live Forever by Oasis.
Oasis began in that hotbed of UK music: Manchester, in the 1990s. Their debut album, “Definitely, Maybe” spawned several hit songs such as “Supersonic”, “Cigarettes and Alcohol”, “Rock n’ Roll Star”, “Shakermaker” and today’s song, “Live Forever”. It was a massive debut and, for awhile, Oasis was the biggest band in the UK and one of the biggest bands in all of the world.
Oasis was fronted by The Gallagher Brothers: Liam, as lead singer and Noel as songwriter and lead guitarist. There are two things to know about The Gallagher Brothers….(1) They were heavily influenced by The Beatles. When you watch the video I will share at the end of this post, you will note that Liam Gallagher looks an awful lot like John Lennon (which is intentional on Liam’s part) and that Noel Gallagher sports a mop-top haircut, reminiscent of The Beatles in their early days. As well, if you watch the big screen behind them as they play live at Wembley Stadium, you will see a series of messages go by that relate to the theme of this song and, at the very end, they close with a photo of John Lennon. (2) The Gallagher Brothers were notorious for bickering publicly on stage while performing. They were very hard on each other which, after a decade of performing, wore on them both and caused them to stop performing together. Both Liam and Noel perform today but, they do so separately. Consequently, the entity known as “Oasis” no longer tours as a band.
The song, “Live Forever” is a straight-ahead rock n’ roll song about enjoying life and leaving a lasting legacy that comes from being a rock n’ roll star. While the human body may die, the memory of who a person was, how they lived and what they accomplished, lives on in the hearts and minds of those left behind. “Live Forever” was written, in part, to counteract the sentiments being expressed in some of the songs coming out of the Grunge movement in the US. In particular, Noel Gallagher viewed each day as a gift. He and Liam grew up in a working class neighbourhood in Manchester and didn’t have much in the way of material possessions growing up. So now that Oasis was a big band and the brothers had money and opportunity, Noel couldn’t understand why singers such as Kurt Cobain would write songs about being miserable and wanting to die. “Live Forever” is Noel Gallagher’s declaration of defiance in the face of Nirvana’s depression.
Noel Gallagher may, in fact, get his wish and “live forever”. Oasis had a brilliant run for awhile there; including having other big hits such as “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “Champagne Supernova”. They have left behind as strong a catalogue of hit songs as any of their contemporaries in the last 25 years. The Gallagher Brothers are still fairly young so, there is potential for future hits as solo artists or, dare I say, as part of an Oasis reunion somewhere down the road. That may be wishful thinking. For now, Oasis has left us plenty to remember them by, including today’s song, “Live Forever”. Enjoy.
The link to the music video for Live Forever by Oasis can be found here.
The link to the website dedicated to all things Oasis, can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. A link to their website can be found here.