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‘People had stopped listening’: Noel Gallagher says Oasis split is reason they’re ‘up there with the greats’

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Noel Gallagher has said that Oasis’s break-up was not a decision he took “lightly” – but that calling it a day when they did helped cement their legacy as one of the greatest British bands of all time.

The group disbanded in 2009, with Gallagher quitting following a confrontation with younger brother Liam at the Rock en Seine festival near Paris.

Fans have long been calling for an Oasis reunion and Liam has openly said he would be up for it, but Noel has made it clear it is not something he wants – although he did recently joke that he would “do it for £100 million”.

Oasis - Noel and Liam Gallagher in Munich in 1996. Pic: AP
Image: Noel and Liam Gallagher pictured at the height of Oasis’s fame in 1996. Pic: AP

In May, it was revealed that both Noel and Liam are to executive produce a documentary about Oasis’s most famous shows – two nights at Knebworth, which were attended by 250,000 fans in August 1996 and came a year after the release of their second album, What’s The Story (Morning Glory).

The film aims to be “a crucial document of the moment that defined an era and cultural revolution”, which was part of a pivotal time in British culture – amid the rise of New Labour, Euro ’96 and the phenomenon of Britpop.

By the time the band split 13 years later, the cultural landscape was very different.

Speaking on Sky Arts programme Noel Gallagher: Out Of The Now, the Oasis songwriter said audiences had grown bored of the band during the final months.

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“It’s not a decision I took lightly,” he said of his decision to leave. “And I’d written every meaningful song that was ever recorded by Oasis. And it was my life, I directed it and creatively it was my thing. With the benefit of hindsight it was the best thing for me and for the band.

“Because the band now, Oasis back in 2009 were not lauded as one of the greats of all time. There was a kind of undercurrent of, ‘well they should really call it a day’. That’s what I felt anyway.

“And I felt that people had stopped listening to the records and were coming to see us trot out the hits and it’s a position I never wanted the band to be in. But now of course we’re seen as up there with all the greats.”

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Gallagher, 54, who went on to form Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, also spoke about making the decision to leave.

“Oasis tours were always about the struggle anyway,” he said. “The incident in Paris, that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, really.”

He said he was sitting in the back of a car outside the music festival in France when he decided it was time to end it.

“And the driver pulled off and that was it. I didn’t feel a sense of relief because I knew there was a s***storm coming. And there was going to be a lot of nonsense talked about it.

“One of the biggest bands ever imploded, finally. And I couldn’t go back to England because the press had descended on my house and my missus was there with my kids.

“So we had to kind of spirit her out in the middle of the night and they came to join me in France somewhere. And then when we eventually got back to England, of course all f****** hell broke loose.”

Noel Gallagher: Out Of The Now airs on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11, on Thursday 10 June at 9pm