The two Oasis songs inspired by George Harrison

The Manchester Bitpop sensation Oasis soared to the full height of national acclaim after debuting their anthemic, uncompromising sound in 1994. Led by Noel and Liam Gallagher, the band enjoyed the odd throwback cover. One that sticks in my memory particularly well is the riotous live cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’, which appeared on the B-side of ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’.

Dismissing Oasis as a Beatles parody act would be unfair, but their success is heavily hinged on the Liverpool band’s example. The Gallagher brothers cited other notable influences in their early years, such as The Kinks and The Stone Roses. From Liam’s circular shades to Noel’s borrowed progressions, Oasis has much to thank the Fab Four.

Although Oasis’ Beatles obsession appeared primarily rooted in John Lennon’s musical whim and fashion sense, the Gallaghers adored George Harrison in equal measure. After all, Oasis’ enormous 1995 hit ‘Wonderwall’ was inspired by Harrison’s 1968 debut solo album, Wonderwall Music.

Noel discussed the evolution of ‘Wonderwall’ in a 2009 interview appearing in the book The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters. “Its original title was ‘Wishing Stone,’” he revealed. “We played the Cathouse in Glasgow, where it says on the record we recorded ‘I Am the Walrus,’ but that’s actually from a Sony conference we played; but that night we played with The Verve; I ended up with this capo.”

“I met some girl, and we went back to my hotel room, and she had this stone in her pocket that she insisted I had,” he continued. “You meet these kinds of divvy birds all over the place. I thought it was a great title, and the song came out of that. I don’t recall where I was when I wrote the lyrics.”

After getting the bones of the song together, Noel providentially heard Harrison’s solo debut LP for the first time. “It was called ‘Wishing Stone’ for ages until we were listening to Wonderwall Music by George Harrison, and it was like, ‘Brilliant, I’ve got a Beatles connection!’”

‘Wonderwall’ wasn’t the first time Noel took a dab from the bag of Harrison genius, either. When writing ‘Supersonic’, the hit single from 1994’s Definitely Maybe, the lead guitarist wanted to channel Harrison in the main riff.

Elsewhere in The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters, Noel responded to accusations of lifting ideas from other artists. “I don’t give a fuck, that’s what it’s there for. I never said I was inventing anything,” he asserted with admirable honesty. “I’m a lover of music. If I nicked guitar riffs here and there, I’d have thought the songwriter would be quite fucking pleased. The guitar riff in ‘Supersonic’ is a bit George Harrison, but I wasn’t expecting anybody not to notice.”

In the wise words of Woody Guthrie, “That guy stole that from me, but I steal from everybody.”

Despite Oasis’ obsession with Harrison, the so-called Quiet Beatle wasn’t particularly impressed with the band, especially its frontman, Liam. “The one who writes the songs, Noel – he is ok. But they don’t have that much depth,” Harrison said in the French documentary Derrière le Miroir. “The other bloke, he is just pain. I don’t think they need him. The one who writes the songs, he can sing them just as well, you know. Maybe because it’s his brother, he’s got to keep him in the band.”

Listen to Noel Gallagher’s George Harrison-inspired riff in ‘Supersonic’ below.

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