8 August 2014

On This Day In Oasis History...

"Live Forever" is a song by British rock group Oasis. Written by guitarist Noel Gallagher, the song was released as the third single from their debut album Definitely Maybe on 8 August 1994, just prior to that album's release.

Gallagher wrote the song in 1991, before he joined Oasis. Inspired by The Rolling Stones' "Shine a Light," "Live Forever" features a basic song structure and lyrics with an optimistic outlook that contrasted with the attitude of the grunge bands popular at the time. The song was the first Oasis single to enter the top ten in the United Kingdom, and garnered critical acclaim.

Background and recording
Noel Gallagher wrote "Live Forever" in 1991, while working for a building company in his hometown of Manchester. After his foot was crushed by a pipe in an accident, he was given a less-strenuous job working in the storeroom, allowing him more time to write songs. One night he was listening to The Rolling Stones' album Exile on Main St. While playing one of his own chord progressions, Gallagher noted that it sounded good against one of the vocal melodies from the album: "It was the bit from 'Shine a Light' that goes [sings], 'May the good lord shine a light on you,'" Gallagher recalled. Gallagher incorporated the melody, changing the line to "Maybe I don’t really want to know". For a period afterwards, that was the only part of the song Gallagher had completed.

The song was later instrumental in helping the band secure their record deal with Creation Records. Reflecting on when he first heard the song, Creation boss Alan McGee recalled "It was probably the single greatest moment I've ever experienced with them."

The demo version of "Live Forever" begins with an acoustic guitar intro. While recording the album version, the record's producer Owen Morris cut out this intro and replaced it with a drumbeat played by Tony McCarroll. Morris further cut a second section in Noel's guitar solo. Although Gallagher was upset, Morris felt the part had sounded "a bit like fucking Slash from Guns N' Roses".


"Live Forever" was released on 8 August 1994 as the band's third single, a month before the release of their debut album Definitely Maybe. The song had been part of the band's set for longer than a year at that point, and had amassed so many mentions in reviews of the group that "its release [as a single] had long seemed inevitable." In its review of the single, NME found "Live Forever" to be an improvement over Oasis' previous singles, concluding, "Basically, what thus far looked like obnoxious Manc arrogance suddenly looks like sheer effortlessness. A terrific record."

While Oasis' first two singles, "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker", were modestly received, it was "Live Forever" that "got the world's attention." "Live Forever" became Oasis' first top ten hit, reaching number ten on the British singles charts in 1994. In 1995, the song became the band's first chart success in the United States, reaching number two and ten on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, respectively. Noel Gallagher commented on the praise given to the song: "People said to me after 'Live Forever', 'Where are you gonna go after that?' And I was like, I don't think it's that good. I think it's a fucking good song, but I think I can do better."

"Live Forever" has garnered additional acclaim years after its release. In 2006, "Live Forever" was named the greatest song of all time in a poll released by Q; the song had ranked ninth in a similar Q poll three years before. In 2007, "Live Forever" placed number one in the NME and XFM poll of the 50 "Greatest Indie Anthems Ever". The song was selected by Noel Gallagher for inclusion on Oasis' compilation album Stop the Clocks in 2006.

Music videos

Two music videos were made for "Live Forever" for British and American airplay. The original video, directed by Carlos Grasso, features unusual imagery such as Liam Gallagher sitting on a chair affixed to a wall, and a number of scenes are devoted to the band burying drummer Tony McCarroll alive. Some of the UK version of the promotional video was filmed at the Strawberry Fields memorial, the area of New York City's Central Park dedicated to John Lennon—the single cover features 251 Menlove Avenue, the childhood home of Lennon. The American video, directed by Nick Egan, features the band playing in an office with pictures of Sid Vicious, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, and Bobby Moore on the wall. Both videos are included on the 2004 Definitely Maybe DVD.

Track listings

UK tracklisting

"Live Forever" – 4:38
"Up In The Sky" (Acoustic) – 3:32
"Cloudburst" – 5:21
"Supersonic" (Live) – 5:12

7" CRE 185
"Live Forever" – 4:38
"Up In The Sky" (Acoustic) – 3:32

12" CRE 185T
"Live Forever" – 4:38
"Up In The Sky" (Acoustic) – 3:32
"Cloudburst" – 5:21

Cassette CRECS 185
"Live Forever" – 4:38
"Up In The Sky" (Acoustic) – 3:32

European tracklisting

CD HES 660689 2
"Live Forever" (Radio Edit) – 3:43
"Live Forever" – 4:37
"Up In The Sky" (Acoustic) – 3:32
"Cloudburst" – 5:21
"Supersonic" (Live) – 5:10

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