Hail to The Chief.

Noel Gallagher returned this week with new single ‘Easy Now’, as well as an announcement that his fourth solo album, Council Skies, will be released later this year.

The man behind Oasis’ biggest hits has been one of the most recognisable and opinionated voices in British music for coming up 30 years, writing anthems beloved by multiple generations.

Calling himself The Chief, he led the UK’s biggest band as chief songwriter, lead guitarist and occasional singer before one fight too many with his brother, lead singer Liam, brought the band to a messy end.

Gallagher has gone on to enjoy solo success, and we’ve taken a look at 10 songs – plus five bonus tracks – that tell his story in his own words.

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ROCK & ROLL STAR (Definitely Maybe, 1994)

While America had grunge and pop-punk, the UK rock scene of the early 1990s centred primarily around shoegaze, with its distorted vocals and droning riffs. Oasis kicked the door down with the first track on their debut album, a raucous ode to being a dreamer on the dole. “In my mind my dreams are real… tonight, I’m a rock & roll star”.

SLIDE AWAY (Definitely Maybe, 1994)

Arguably Noel’s greatest ever love song, written about his relationship with then-girlfriend Louise Jones. Liam’s vocal, recorded in one take, was described by his brother as his finest moment as a singer, with the song proving that sneer and swagger weren’t all Oasis were bringing to the table.

DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER ((What's The Story) Morning Glory?, 1995)

One of the two mega-selling singles from second album (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ was the first time Noel took lead vocals on an Oasis album track. Almost 30 years later it’s basically the alternate national anthem, and it took on new meaning when it became associated with Manchester’s response to the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert. Gallagher has said if he knew the lasting impact the song would go on to have, he’d still be writing it today.

CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA ((What's The Story) Morning Glory?, 1995)

Oasis at their most Oasis, the ne plus ultra of Gallagher. The closing song on Morning Glory is triumphant, rousing – and completely nonsensical. Noel confessed he often finds himself wondering “what the f*** is that all about?” when playing the song. His answer? “Looking out at a sea of teenagers singing the words of a nonsensical song by a band that were broke up when they were two – that’s what it means”.

THE MASTERPLAN (Wonderwall b-side, 1995)

Some of Oasis’ greatest material is to be found on the B-sides from the first two albums. Songs like Acquiesce, Talk Tonight and Half The World Away became staples of their live set despite never having been included on a studio album. They were eventually collected in one place in a compilation called The Masterplan, and the title track – the b-side to ‘Wonderwall’ – is frequently cited by Noel as one of his finest songwriting moments.

GAS PANIC! (Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, 2000)

It’s not all “walking down the hall faster than a cannonball” in the Gallagher oeuvre, as this highlight from the underwhelming (and grammatically suspect) Standing on the Shoulder of Giants proves. Written about the panic attacks Noel was suffering at the time, his anxiety manifests as a “tongueless ghost of sin” tapping on the window at night.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IDLE (Don’t Believe The Truth, 2005)

Tired of being accused of ripping off The Beatles, Noel decided to rip off The Kinks for this 2005 number one single. In truth that’s a cheap shot at a clear highlight of the latter-day Oasis canon, a stomping tribute to the joys of doing nothing. “Give me a minute/a man’s got a limit/I can’t get a life if my heart’s not in it”, declares the titular idler.                      

AKA… WHAT A LIFE (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, 2011)

Oasis imploded in a maelstrom of smashed guitars and flying fruit backstage at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris in 2009. Three years later Noel returned with his solo project, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and this Hacienda-inspired disco stomper comes across as a sigh of relief from The Chief.

DEAD IN THE WATER (Who Built The Moon?, 2017)

Noel branched out even further from the Oasis sound on 2017’s Who Built The Moon, taking psychedelic and glam rock influences to form an experimental album that features a French woman playing the scissors. On its final track though he proved he could still do balladry with the best of ‘em, including the raw version of a song he’d demoed during an appearance on Irish television.

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EASY NOW (Council Skies, 2022)

Following that more out-there sound, which was followed by a series of Eps, Gallagher has reached back into the bag of tricks marked ‘soaring and epic’ for the first cut off new album Council Skies. Strings? Check. Guitar solo? Check. Rhyming ‘prayer’, ‘there’ and ‘fare’? Double check.


LIVE FOREVER (Definitely Maybe, 1994)

Written in response to Nirvana’s ‘I Hate Myself and Want To Die’, this Oasis classic is a paean to being young, in love and just ALIVE. Gallagher wrote the song on the construction site on which he was working at the time and says he knew instantly he had a classic on his hands.

SOME MIGHT SAY ((What's the Story) Morning Glory?, 1995)

The last Oasis song to feature original drummer Tony McCarroll and the band’s first UK number one, ‘Some Might Say’ is a perfect illustration of the band’s huge sound and Liam’s sneering vocals. McCarroll, who Noel said was sacked for being “crap with a s***e haircut”, sued the band after his dismissal but ended up settling for just £600,000 and agreeing to give up his claim on any future royalties. Some might say he was poorly advised…

I HOPE, I THINK, I KNOW (Be Here Now, 1997)

Everyone knows the story of the third Oasis album. By now the biggest band in the world and doing industrial quantities of cocaine, the band decamped to France to make an album that was bloated – it lasts 71 minutes – over the top – one song contains around 25 of the same guitar line on top of each other – and ultimately the end of the band’s imperial phase despite it selling nearly 500,000 copies on day of release. It’s not all nonsense though – ‘I Hope, I Think, I Know’ is the band on top form.

LITTLE BY LITTLE (Heathen Chemistry, 2002)

Though their later albums were invariably patchy, you could always rely on Oasis for a great single and this certainly fits the bill. It’s also a veritable goldmine of Gallagher-isms, AKA lines that don’t really make sense but damn well SOUND like they do. “True perfection has to be imperfect”? Don’t think about it, just sing along.

LOCK ALL THE DOORS (Chasing Yesterday, 2015)

For his second solo album Noel went way back into the vaults, finally finishing a song he’d demoed for Definitely Maybe. According to The Chief, the melody for the verse came to him as he left a Tesco Metro one Sunday night.