Liam Gallagher achieved both fame and notoriety as the lead singer of Oasis, the band who defined Britpop in the 1990s. By the early 2000s, Gallagher began stepping out of the shadow of his brother Noel (the songwriter who penned most of Oasis' hits), contributing original tunes to the band starting with the 2003 single "Songbird." The siblings split in 2009, leading Liam to take the remaining members of Oasis to form Beady Eye. Once that group ran its course, Gallagher launched a solo career in 2017 with As You Were, a number one hit in the U.K. Sophomore LP Why Me? Why Not. also topped the British charts, and he followed with an MTV Unplugged set, released in 2020.
Gallagher was born in Burnage, Manchester, in 1972 to Irish parents Thomas and Peggy Gallagher. Liam, the youngest of three, had two older brothers, Noel and Paul. Having suffered abuse at the hands of their father, both Liam and Noel went on to have troubled teenage years. Although Liam displayed little interest in music early on, in his late teens he began listening to the Beatles, the Who, the Stone Roses, and the Kinks. It was at this time that his lifelong admiration for John Lennon developed (he later named his son Lennon as a tribute to the late Beatle).
Gallagher joined his school friend Paul McGuigan's band the Rain as the lead singer, along with guitarist Paul Arthurs. Meanwhile, Liam's brother Noel had been touring the U.S with Inspiral Carpets as their roadie, and upon his return, he guided Liam's fledgling band toward a more successful future. Featuring Noel as chief guitarist and songwriter, the newly renamed Oasis went on to secure a record deal and make their debut album, Definitely Maybe, in 1994. Upon its release, it became the fastest-selling debut album in Britain to date. As the band's music began to make headlines, so did Liam, as the tabloid press speculated about his drug use and volatile behavior, which included seemingly endless spats with his brother. Just a year later, the band released (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which eclipsed their debut's staggering popularity. That same year, Oasis went head to head with fellow Brit-poppers Blur when both bands released singles on the same day. Blur emerged victorious with "Country House" while Oasis' "Roll with It" languished in second place. The chart war, along with the tabloid press, fueled the rivalry between the groups, pitching them as opposing forces within the Brit-pop scene -- working-class northerners Oasis versus middle-class southerners Blur.
All the while, Liam continued to dominate the press on his own, which included an assault charge while on tour in Australia. Oasis' fourth record, 2000's Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, would feature Gallagher's songwriting debut. "Little James" was an ode to his then-wife Patsy Kensit's son with Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr. It was a trend that would continue, as over the band's final three albums -- 2002's Heathen Chemistry, 2005's Don't Believe the Truth, and 2008's Dig Out Your Soul -- Gallagher emerged from his brother's songwriting shadow to contribute more of his own compositions, like "Songbird" and "I'm Outta Time." Along with an increased input to the band's records, Liam continued to make headlines with his extracurricular activities, including a 2002 fight in a Munich bar that left him with several broken teeth. Relations between Liam and Noel continued to be fractious, and in 2008 they reached a nadir that resulted in Noel leaving the band.
The following year, Gallagher announced he had formed a new group with former members of Oasis. He also launched his own clothing brand, Pretty Green, named after a track by the Jam, and featuring the by-then-classic Gallagher getup of parkas and desert boots. By 2010, the brand had its own flagship store on London's celebrated Carnaby Street. In 2011, Beady Eye's debut record, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was released. The band headlined a Japan tsunami relief concert at London's Brixton Academy, and also supported the Stone Roses in 2012. Beady Eye presented their second record, BE, in 2013 and toured in support of the album, but by 2014 Gallagher had announced via Twitter that the group had disbanded. In the interim, he very publicly pursued the ongoing feud with his brother by trashing Noel's High Flying Birds project, making an Oasis reunion ever more unlikely.
Having previously dismissed any suggestion of a solo career via his Twitter account, Gallagher made a U-turn in 2016 and announced he would in fact be releasing a solo record. "Wall of Glass," the first single from the album, arrived in May 2017. Following the terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, the singer organized a benefit concert at Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Gallagher made a surprise appearance, playing Oasis classics "Live Forever" and "Rock 'n' Roll Star" alongside Coldplay's Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland. Gallagher continued an intensive promotional campaign leading up to the October release of his first solo full-length, As You Were. The album debuted at number one in the U.K. and hit the Top 30 on the Billboard 200. In June 2019, Gallagher returned with "Shockwave," the first single off his sophomore follow-up, Why Me? Why Not., which was released that September. Three other singles -- "Once," "One of Us," and "Now That I've Found You" -- were pulled from the album, and during its promotional tour, Gallagher recorded an MTV Unplugged, which wound up getting released in June 2020.
© Bekki Bemrose /TiVo