Liam Gallagher Biography

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Genres: Folk, Rock

Born William John Paul Gallagher on Sept. 21, 1972 in the Manchester, England suburb of Burnage, he was the youngest of three sons by Irish parents Thomas and Peggy Gallagher. By all accounts, his childhood was a miserable one, filled with violence at the hands of his father, who suffered from alcoholism. When Gallagher turned 10 years old, his mother left her husband, taking her three sons with her. However, the change of environment did little to quell Liam's penchant for aggressive, antagonistic behavior, which led to expulsion from school in his teenaged years and petty theft. Music, however, did not become a significant part of his life until his late teens, when he discovered classic British rock acts like the Beatles and the Who, as well as newer groups from his hometown like the Stone Roses. Gallagher also developed an obsession with John Lennon that would later lead to him declaring that he was the reincarnation of the late Beatle, despite being born nearly a decade prior to his death in 1980.

In the early 1990s, Gallagher began singing in The Rain, a rock group formed by his school friend, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan. He also served as the group's chief songwriter with bandmate Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, though Gallagher soon relinquished this duty to his older brother Noel, who had recently completed a tour of America as a roadie for the British psych-pop group Inspiral Carpets. Noel soon shepherded the band, which changed its name to Oasis, to a recording contract with Creation Records, which spawned their debut album, Definitely Maybe (1994). Singles like "Supersonic" and "Live Forever" helped to mint the record as the fastest selling British debut album in music history, as well as a key release in the rise of Britpop, a retro-minded subgenre of U.K. independent rock that drew inspiration from acts like the Beatles and the Kinks while offering a more upbeat alternative to the darker, metal-influenced sounds of American grunge. By the time Oasis released its sophomore record, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995), with its chart-topping singles "Don't Look Back in Anger," "Champagne Supernova" and "Wonderwall," they were unquestionably one of the most popular bands in England, as well as a growing phenomenon around the world.

With Oasis' rise to fame also came well-publicized coverage of the Gallagher brothers' frequently boorish behavior, which included unchecked drug and alcohol usage, fatuously self-inflated comparisons between their music and the Beatles, and Gallagher's frequent drunken brawls. However, the brothers seemed to reserve their most vitriolic actions for each other. As early as 1994, Gallagher's anti-American statements resulted in not only a backstage punch-up but also Noel's brief departure from Oasis during a U.S. tour. Tensions between the siblings deepened after Gallagher bowed out of a 1996 performance on "MTV Unplugged" (1998- ), then heckled the band from a balcony during the taping. Shortly thereafter, he refused to join the band on an important U.S. tour, citing his need to find a house with his then significant other, actress Patsy Kensit. The tepid response to Oasis' third album, Be Here Now (1997), preceded a string of unfortunate events in Gallagher's personal and professional life. News surfaced that same year that he had fathered a son with singer Lisa Moorish one week after his marriage to Kensit. The union would last just one additional year, which saw the birth of a son, Lennon, before Gallagher and Kensit were divorced.

Gallagher made his solo songwriting debut on "Little James," a song from Oasis' fourth album, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (2000). The record saw further decline in the band's standing among music fans, as well as increased hostility between the Gallaghers, which resulted in Noel refusing to tour overseas with the group. He would eventually quit the group following a brawl with his younger sibling at a 2009 festival in Paris, which also brought Oasis to an end that same year. Though their working relationship was over, the Gallaghers continued to snipe at each other in the press. A 2011 comment by Noel in regard to Liam's part in the band's breakup prompted the singer to launch a lawsuit against his brother, which was eventually settled after Noel made a public apology. Gallagher also busied himself with a new group, Beady Eye, which featured most of the remaining players that comprised Oasis in its final years. Their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was released in 2011. The following year, it was announced in the press that, for better or worse, the Gallagher brothers had ended three years of silence and resumed communication with each other.

By Paul Gaita