Every Oasis B-Side Ranked!

The other side of Oasis: MOJO ranks and rates the Britpop champions' B-sides.

Noel And Liam Gallagher Birmingham 1996

by Chris Catchpole |
Updated on

Picture: Jill Furmanovsky

Much to Noel Gallagher’s later chagrin, in their glory years, Oasis tucked away songs other bands would sell their own grandmothers to have as B-sides. Indeed, as 1998's compilation The Masterplan showed, some of Noel’s finest-ever compositions can be found on the reverse of singles that were often their inferior. Even when the band descended from their mid-90s peak and Noel's songwriting well began to look drier, there was still plenty of gems to be found tucked away on CD singles and downloads. May of which came from the songwriting pens of little brother Liam and new members Andy Bell and Gem Archer.

Even when trotting out fairly unremarkable Beatles' pastiches in their alter years, it was clear Oasis still enjoyed and valued the lost of art of the B-side, making our run down the source of plenty of surprises. Despite some of the A-list names on the controls, including The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett, we’ve excluded the multiple remixes that took up most of Oasis’ B-sides by the time of their long-playing swan song, Dig Out Your Soul , and on a technicality ruled out the sublime Slide Away. Yes, it featured as one of the tracks on the CD version of 1994’s Whatever, but it had already been released on Definitely Maybe four months previously. Plus, it would probably sail comfortably to the upper reaches of this list, which seems unfair on these non-album tracks which deserve their time in the sunsheeeine…

READ MORE: Liam Gallagher: “We put an offer on the table for Oasis and Noel said no”


Those Swollen Hand Blues

On: Falling Down, 2008

With all the far-out remixes Oasis were commissioning around their final album Dig Out Your Soul (The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, erm Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez) you’d be forgiven for thinking they might have ditched some of their late period ‘60s fetishisms in favour of something a bit more forward-facing. Well, you’d be wrong. Those Swollen Hand Blues is a nice enough tune but is so far down the road of Beatles pastiche it may as well be The Rutles.


The Meaning Of Soul – Live At City Of Manchester Stadium ‘05

On: Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, 2007

Put out to promote the tour film of the same title, Lord Don’t Slow Me Down was an excellent bluesy rocker that sounded not dissimilar to occasional Oasis support act Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The download-only release came backed by two songs recorded at the aforementioned City Of Manchester Stadium show. Musically, The Meaning Of Soul is an absolute beast, pounding away like the hammer of the gods, but Liam sounds muffled and disinterested. Which is odd, given it’s one of his own songs.


Don’t Look Back In Anger – Live At City Of Manchester Stadium ‘05

On: Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, 2007

Taken from the same release, such is the deafening roar of the crowd singing along to Oasis’s 1995 classic that they really should be given a co-credit here as they pretty much drown out both Noel and the rest of the band. Great if you were there no doubt, but fairly pointless if not.


Sitting Here In Silence (On My Own)

On: Let There Be Love, 2005

The B-sides that came out around Oasis’ sixth album Don’t Believe The Truth seemed to largely be a forum in which the various of members of Oasis can see who can rip-off The Beatles the most. Sitting Here In Silence (On My Own)’s similarity to The White Album’s Sexy Sadie is bare-faced even by Noel Gallagher’s standards, right down to the Ringo drum fills. Maybe the fact that they now had Zak Starkey in the band meant they felt it unlikely they’d be sued.


Carry Us All

On: Sunday Morning Call, 2000

Noel’s distaste for organised religion stems back to when his Catholic mother Peggy couldn’t get a divorce from their abusive father, a theme he picks up here on a song which also dismisses any calls to fight in ‘a ten bob revolution’. After getting burnt by appearing at Downing Street with Tony Blair in ‘97, the once vocally left-wing Gallagher would be giving politics a swerve from now on too.


Alive (8 Track Demo)

On: Shakermaker, 1994

Noel Gallagher’s early streak was such that he could afford to throw away tracks others would chop off their songwriting arm to have written as B-sides. This demo version isn’t one of them, though: a fairly run-of-the mill rocker with an uncharacteristically bland vocal from Liam. At the start it sounds oddly like Kings Of Leon’s Sex On Fire, too.


My Generation

On: Little By Little/She Is Love, 2002

Little By Little/She Is Love was Oasis’s first double A-side. This being the CD era (for now) they still needed another song though. Hence this muscular, but somehow sterile version of The Who’s parent-baiting anthem. Perhaps what the new-look Oasis had gained in musical proficiency, they had lost in their earlier mercurial magic.


Columbia (Live)

On: Songbird, 2003

The third outing for early Oasis stalwart Columbia on record. Play the colossal, stadium-sized riffing of this live version next to the white label demo of ten years previously and it sounds like the work of a different band. Which, mathematically speaking, it was.


Thank You For The Good Times

On: Stop Crying Your Heart Out, 2002

Oasis’ all-conquering stampede in the early ‘90s eclipsed Creation Record’s former golden boys Teenage Fanclub. Written by another Creation alumni, former Ride guitarist Andy Bell, Thank You For The Good Times paid tribute to The Fannies by ripping off the music for their 1991 track The Concept lock, stock and barrel.


The Quiet Ones

On: The Importance Of Being Idle, 2005

A pleasant, but largely forgettable Gem Archer number. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is the clear musical inspiration here, so it’s not much of a stretch to assume ‘the quiet one’ himself is the subject of the lyrics, too.


Pass Me Down The Wine

On: The Importance Of Being Idle, 2005

By Don’t Believe The Truth, Liam was being given more and more opportunities to flex his songwriting muscle. Though its rhyming couplets are still at a June/moon/spoon level, Pass Me Down The Wine’s Kinks-like spell is alluring enough.


Rock ‘n’ Roll Star - Live At City Of Manchester Stadium 2 June

On: Let There Be Love, 2005

With the exception of Knebworth, Oasis’s two homecoming shows at Maine Road, home of their beloved Manchester City, in 1996 were the valedictory high points of their live career. By 2005, City had moved a ten-minute drive north to a new stadium where Oasis delivered another live knock-out from which this version of Rock ‘n’ Roll Star is taken. Drilling home the civic links, the recording of Latvian paranormal researcherKonstantin Raudiv you can hear at the end as the band walk off is the same one Morrissey sampled on The Smith’s 1986 B-side Rubber Ring. Oasis clearly thought it was a good night too and put out the whole gig as a live DVD in 2007.



On: D’You Know What I Mean? 1997

Oasis had turned down the offer to support David Bowie in 1995, reasoning that The Thin White Duke was “a has-been”. Perhaps as recompense, they recorded this pretty much faithful rendition of 1977’s Heroes with Noel on vocals.


Shout It Out Loud

On: Stop Crying Your Heart Out, 2002

There was mutual admiration between Oasis and Neil Young. The band covered Young’s Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) at Wembley Stadium in 2000 and Young in turn invited the Gallaghers to support him in Paris the following year (unlike with Bowie, they said yes). Shout It Out Loud wears its admiration on its sleeve, basing its wizened crackle largely on Cortez The Killer. Imitation is sincerest form of flattery though and the Noel fires off some impressively Shakey-like guitar heroics here for good measure.


The Fame

On: All Around The World, 1997

A fairly straightforward stomper with Noel admitting his once longed-for rock star lifestyle might not be what it’s cracked up to be. A theme he would explore more during Oasis’s post-Britpop hangover.


Won’t Let You Down

On: Lyla, 2005

To be fair to Won’t Let You Down’s author, Liam’s song itself is original enough but the Lennon-aping slap-back echo producer Dave Sardy adds to the vocal and the Instant Karma! stamp and clap push the B-side to 2005’s Lyla into ‘Tonight Matthew, I will be…’ territory.


I Will Believe (Live)

On: Supersonic, 1994

Within the early flush of Oasis releases, this live version of I Will Believe is remarkable perhaps because of its relative unremarkableness. The tune itself is great, but performance-wise it's clod-footedness (complete with fluffed notes in the intro) lets it down. Certainly not terrible, but not showing the greatness they were already capable of. Perhaps if they'd dusted off further down the line they might have done it justice.

READ MORE:Noel Gallagher on Oasis in 1994: “I’d hear Blur or Pulp on the radio and think, Fuck these idiots…”


Let’s All Make Believe

On: Go Let It Out, 2000

2000’s Beta Band-referencing Go Let It presented Oasis as a band renewed, with Ride’s Andy Bell and Gem Archer from Heavy Stereo replacing Guigsy and Bonehead. A new musical outfit for a new millennium, but it’s hard to hear the lyrics of Let’s All Make Believe’s bitter psychedelia and not think of the souring of the relationship at the heart of Oasis: “Let’s all make believe that we’re still friends and we like each other… and in the end we’re gonna need each other.”


Bring It On Down (Live)

On: Shakermaker, 1994

“Good evening Great Britain, hello!” chirrups Liam to kick off this live version of Oasis’ homage to The Sex Pistols/The Stooges. Tony McCarroll reportedly struggled to get the drums right when recording the Definitely Maybe version to the extent that Noel threatened to get a session drummer in, but he nails it here. Liam on the other, sounds uncharacteristically soft.


Just Getting Older

On: The Hindu Times, 2002

“I’m staying in, I can’t be bothered making conversation with the friends that I don’t know,” grumbles Noel on Just Getting Older, sounding not at all like the man who wrote Rock ’n’ Roll Star, “… I’ll sit around all day and moan.” Gallagher fully embracing his new role as the Victor Meldrew of rock.


Helter Skelter

On: Who Feels Love?, 2000)

Paul McCartney’s White Album track and Charles Manson-favourite Helter Skelter gets an Oasis makeover. The significantly improved musicianship of Oasis’ new turn of the millennium line-up is evident here, although it would have been preferable to hear Liam, not Noel, snarling his way through the gnarly riffolama.


Street Fighting Man

On: All Around the World, 1997

As cover versions increasingly creeped onto Oasis B-sides around Be Here Now it seemed Noel’s once inexhaustible stash of songs might be starting to look a little bare. The Stones’ apocalyptic rattle was a good fit for Oasis, though, and Liam sounds considerably more like a man aquatinted with a curb-side scrap than Mick Jagger ever did.


Angel Child (Demo)

On: D’You Know What I Mean? 1997)

Before overdubbing everything to the nines in the studio, Noel demoed the songs for Be Here Now while on holiday in Mustique. Taken from those recordings, Angel Child showed his songwriting could still shine with little more than an acoustic guitar and some handclaps.


One Way Road

On: Who Feels Love?, 2000

The sound of birds tweeting opens this Noel-sung, Neil Young-like number which features some more what does it all mean maaaan? philosophising in its lyrics. Noel must have later thought the tune deserved a higher billing and would repurpose a significant part of the melody for High Flying Birds’ single Everybody’s On The Run in 2011.


(You’ve Got) The Heart Of A Star

On: Songbird, 2003

Liam had deservedly bagged his first songwriter credit on a single with Songbird, so Noel took the lead for the flipside. Collier brass give a wonderfully warm feeling to this Lennon-like strum and stomp. Surely no other songwriter in history has gotten as much usage out of parenthesis in song titles as Noel Gallagher (probably).


Live Forever (Live At Glastonbury ’95)

On: Roll With It, 1995

Oasis’s performance headlining the NME stage at Glastonbury in 1994 just before the release of Live Forever was a key moment in their career. One year later, they were returning kings with new drummer Alan White underpinning a more muscular, practically bullet-proof version of the song.


Full On

On: Sunday Morning Call, 2000

A spikey, nasty and heavily distorted burst of noise and confusion inspired by The Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog. To 2023 ears, however, Full On sounds remarkably like Kasabian, a band who at this point hadn’t released a note of music but would soon be making moves on Oasis’ lad-rock crown.


Eyeball Tickler

On: Lyla, 2005

Gem Archer penned this pounding, punky update on John Lennon’s drug withdrawal rocker Cold Turkey. Hearing Liam snarl the brilliantly nonsensical line “I got my drip drab velcro moutache” Lennon would have surely approved.



On: All Around The World, 1997

An excellent bluesy chord sequence and melody sees Noel taking stock of life before some baroque through-the-looking-glass psychedelia blows in on the middle eight. Why this was left off Be Here Now in favour of Magic Pie - essentially a half-arsed stab at the same thing - is a mystery.  Also features a great whistling solo.


(I Got) The Fever

On: Stand By Me, 1997

A menacing psych rocker who’s major key chorus seemingly breaks through the darkness from nowhere. Alan White throws in some nifty syncopated fills at the end, prompting Liam to mimic the host of The Fast Show’s Jazz Club: “jazz… nice!”


The Swamp Song

On: Wonderwall, 1995

Used as a two-part instrumental segue on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, this bluesy jam featured Noel’s new best mate Paul Weller guesting on guitar and harmonica. “It was originally called, inspiringly, The Jam,” recalled Noel. “But once Paul Weller played on it, we thought we’d better change it, cos it might sound like we were taking the piss.”


Stay Young

On: D’You Know What I Mean? 1997

Like Colonel Kilgore’s fleet of choppers in Apocalypse Now, 1997’s D’You Know What I Mean? rode in on a wave of bluster and bombast ready to crush all in its wake. Stay Young, however, harked back to a more innocent time when Oasis weren’t the biggest band on the planet. A fuzzy stomp-along capturing the carefree optimism of the band’s early years.


My Sister Lover

On: Stand By Me, 1997

Not for the last time, The Kinks Dead End Street is the blueprint here, although there’s also plenty of The Doors in My Sister Lover’s bar room piano and disorientating narcotic fug. An unsung and unexpected gem from a time where the wheels were starting to come off the Oasis juggernaut.


Take Me Away

On: Supersonic, 1994

Exposing the sensitive yin to their bolshier yang from the off, the Noel-fronted tune that accompanied Oasis’s debut single sets up a theme that would run through so much of their most effective songs: a yearning for escape, both in the material and spiritual sense. The addition of some sloppy slide guitar adds a nice Stonesy touch to Noel’s melancholy strumming.


(As Long As They’ve Got) Cigarettes In Hell

On: Go Let It Out, 2000

For Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, out went the bluster of Be Here Now to be replaced with less grandiose soul-searching and some vintage trippiness. As on A-side Go Let It Out, Oasis make good use their new toy, a 60s mellotron, here as backwards guitar loops swirl around a sweetly reflective Noel tune.


(It's Good) To Be Free

On: Whatever, 1994

1994 standalone single Whatever was already pointing the way towards a larger orchestral palette we’d hear more of on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?  (and perhaps a little *too* much of on Be Here Now). Despite its lyrics celebrating the little things in life, Liam’s Lennon/Lydon sneer, the narcotic fug of distortion and some woozy electric piano meant that B-side (It’s Good) To Be Free still had plenty of menace. Plus, there’s an unexpected sea shanty hoedown on accordion at the end courtesy of Bonehead.


Idler’s Dream

On: The Hindu Times, 2002

A delicate piano arpeggio ushers in one of Noel Gallagher’s most unabashedly romantic songs, before a heart-swelling lift of brass and Beach Boys-y harmonies send it off into the happily ever after.


Step Out

On: Don’t Look Back In Anger, 1995

A freewheeling glam rock ride, Step Out was originally stated for inclusion on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? until Stevie Wonder’s lawyers quite rightfully demanded a share of the LP’s royalties due to the song’s unmistakable similarity to Uptight (Everything Is Alright).


Up In The Sky (Acoustic)

On: Live Forever, 1994

By their third single Oasis had already ascended to the level of greatness and as such poorly recorded demos weren’t going to cut it for the accompanying tracks. If anything, this version of Up In The Sky is better than its Definitely Maybe counterpart: a joyous, slip-sliding 12-string swish with Noel taking lead vocals.



On: Live Forever, 1994

Funky isn’t a word you might associate with Oasis, but Cloudburst’s loose-fitting vibe is perhaps the closest they got to the Madchester sound that preceded them. Its monster groove and heavy riffing could be the work of Liam and Noel favourites The Stone Roses who, a few months away from their own disappointing comeback, had already had their star eclipsed by Oasis.


Cum On Feel The Noize

On: Don’t Look Back In Anger, 1995

Arguably, Oasis had already covered one glam rock classic when they repurposed T. Rex’s Get It On for Cigarettes & Alcohol, but they fully made Slade’s 1973 hit their own here, Liam updating Noddy Holder’s rock and roll foghorn for the ‘90s.


Supersonic (Live April ‘94)

On: Live Forever, 1994

Recorded at the Sony Music conference at The Gleneagles Hotel in February ‘94 two months before the release of their debut single (not in April as the title claimed), the band clearly felt they had something to prove to their new US label as they put in one of their best-ever performances. “This is going to be the single, so go and buy it,” sneers Liam at the start of this colossal take on Supersonic. The whole six song set is on YouTube and is well worth watching.


Listen Up

On: Cigarettes & Alcohol 1994

In which our protagonist sets off down life’s lonely highway with a shrug and a tune. Some Leslie speaker-ed guitar and a sustained Heroes-inspired guitar line add a nicely psychedelic haze, with only some rudimentary ‘bom-tish bom-bom-tish’ drumming from Tony McCarroll letting the side down.


I Am The Walrus (Live Glasgow Cathouse June ‘94)

On: Cigarettes & Alcohol 1994

I Am The Walrus had been a staple of Oasis’ live set since before they signed to Creation and it says something about the caliber of Noel Gallagher’s songwriting that audience members frequently asked him if he’d written The Beatles’ 1967 psychedelic classic himself (so he claims). Certainly, on this version recorded at Glasgow’s Cathouse the band - and in particular a ferociously on-form Liam - make John Lennon’s Edward Learisms their own, sending the song home in a thunderous cacophony of feedback and FXs.


It's Better People

On: Roll With It, 1995

If anyone ever doubts Noel Gallagher’s skill as an actual guitarist as opposed to a songwriter they should listen to the nifty interplay of acoustic guitars that make up It’s Better People, a good vibes burst of hippie rock and roll that lands nicely between two Gallagher favourites - The Beatles’ White Album and The La’s.


Underneath The Sky

On: Don’t Look Back In Anger, 1995

With lyrics adapted from a book of travelers’ quotes Noel came across in an airport and chords inspired by The Kinks’ Dead End Street (again), Underneath The Sky is kicked off by the district sound of Noel’s guitar playing through a revolving Leslie cabinet, a psychedelic effect favoured by The Beatles (see also: Listen Up). Though the elder Gallagher has spoken about how much he liked the song, and Liam’s performance on it, Oasis only ever played it live once, during a solo Noel acoustic performance in 1997.

READ MORE: Noel Gallagher interviewed: “People want you to rewrite Don’t Look Back In Anger 14 times…”


Columbia White Label Demo

On: Supersonic, 1994

The first ever demo to be playlisted by Radio One, the promotional white label version of Columbia shows a more experimental side to Oasis that would soon be ironed-out in pursuit of the rock and roll jugular. Liam’s vocals sound more detached/stoned than they do on the hypnotic swirl of the Definitely Maybe version, with snippets of recorded voices rushing past upping the weirdness. Limited to 510 copies at the time, original white labels are currently changing hands for over 200 pounds.


Rockin’ Chair

On: Roll With It, 1995

Fading in and out as if we’ve walked down a corridor to discover Oasis playing, this nimble folk rocker features what might be Liam’s greatest on-record vocal: strident, clear as a bell, but displaying a real wounded vulnerability in place of the cocky swagger he so often used to relay his brother’s words.



On: Some Might Say, 1995

Alongside Definitely Maybe’s Bring It On Down, Headshrinker is one of Oasis MK1’s heaviest songs and the closet they got to out-and-out punk rock. A ferocious assault of white heat with Liam howling like a banshee, everything is propelled by a thunderous rhythm section firing on all cylinders. Given the tour-de-force he puts in here, Tony McCarroll must have felt even more aggrieved that he got the sack only a few months later.


Going Nowhere

On: Stand By Me, 1997

An early Noel tune with Gallagher once again wistfully dreaming of the fame and fortune he now had in spades (and a chocolate brown Rolls Royce to show for it). Twinkling Fender Rhodes piano, brass and strings add wonderfully to the bittersweet melancholy.


D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman

On: Shakermaker, 1994

All scuffed knees and wistful nostalgia, two childhood friends meet up as disillusioned adults and reminisce about happier times climbing trees and dreaming about what they’ll be when they grow up. A fan-favourite and one of Oasis’s best early B-sides, D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman’s exclusion from The Masterplan’s flipside best-of is baffling.


Talk Tonight

On: Some Might Say, 1995

Before an important stateside show at LA’s Whiskey a Go Go in September 1994 Liam and the rest of the band thought it would be a good idea to try crystal meth for the first time. Unsurprisingly, the gig was a disaster and after a monumental bust up Noel walked out and flew to San Francisco, in his mind never to come back. The touching Talk Tonight recounts the fan he went to stay with, Melissa Lim, who took him to the park she used to play in as a child, bought him a bottle of Snapple Strawberry Lemonade and talked him round.


Round Are Way

On: Wonderwall, 1995

An anthem for a misspent youth. One of Oasis’s most joyous songs is an ode to skipping school/work for ‘25-a-side’ games of football down the park. In fitting with their new status as the – up until this point joint - biggest group in the country, the production values are audibly more high-end, with a full-on brass band and rollicking blues harmonica from Mark Feltham joining the jamboree.


The Masterplan

On: Wonderwall, 1995

On The Masterplan Noel fully indulged his late period Beatles obsessions, both in the Lennon-esque chords sequence and eastern-flavoured, I Am The Walrus-y strings. A quote un-quote indie band no more, Oasis’ globe-conquering ambitions here are clear in the sheer scale and bombast of the arrangement. A wall of sound that would topple into self-indulgence, on the more bloated All Around The World two years later.


Fade Away

On: Cigarettes & Alcohol, 1994

Noel Gallagher made no secret about his light-fingered approach to other peoples’ songs, but still, it takes some cahoonas to try and throw together the gob-stained guitar and drums assault of The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy In The UK with the melody (in the verses at least) from I’m Your Man by Wham!. An interpolation of pop and punk that shouldn’t have worked on paper, on record it was thrilling.


Half The World Away

On: Whatever, 1994

After engineer Mark Coyle played the band Burt Bacharach’s This Guy’s In Love With You, the initial plan was to emulate Bacharach’s slow shuffling drums for another acoustic song. Noel went one further and lifted the whole song, chords and all, for Half The World Away. “It sounds exactly the same,” confessed Gallagher years later, “I’m surprised he hasn’t sued me.” Half The Word Away is the peak of Noel’s wanting to break free songs, inspired by his time sitting at home in Burnage fretting that the life he dreamed of was passing him by (see also: Going Nowhere, Take Me Away, Rockin’ Chair). The song’s warm, distinctly Northern pathos would make it the perfect theme tune for sitcom The Royale Family.



On: Some Might Say, 1995

If Talk Tonight documented a time when the relationship between Liam and Noel was at one its lowest ebbs then Acquiesce is a glorious testament to symbiotic, fraternal bond that made Oasis the greatest band of their era. Noel has repeatedly said that the song is about friendship in general, not his younger brother, and that he only sung the chorus because Liam couldn’t hit the high notes. Hearing them duet for the first time, however, it’s clear that they believed in each other and needed one another more than either of them would ever admit outside of a vocal booth. An Oasis B-side that not only wipes the floor with anything their contemporaries had in the locker but leaves its chart-topping A-side in the shade, too.

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