Yesterday marks 18 years since Oasis released their Heathen Chemistry album.
The fifth album from the Manchester band featured Songbird, which saw Liam Gallagher take on songwriting duties for the very first time – ditching the bravado in favour of a delicate two minute and eight second ditty.
Gallagher has gone on to have a successful solo career, releasing two number one studio albums and a number one MTV Unplugged album.
It’s fair to say the former Oasis rocker has got a few more writing credits to his name since the 2003 single was released, but is it still one of his most honest tracks yet?
Here’s everything you need to know about the ballad here…
Who is Songbird about?
Songbird was written for Liam Gallagher’s then-partner Nicole Appleton, who was a part of ’90s and ’00s girlband All Saints.
Gallagher and Appleton married in February 2008 and share a son together, Gene, who was born in 2001.
To this day, the lyrics are some of the most vulnerable that Gallagher has ever penned, conjuring Appleton as a winged muse who offers up a love he’d “never felt” before.
What was the reception to Songbird?
Songbird is a firm favourite among Oasis fans, peaking at No.3 on the UK singles chart.
Liam’s estranged brother Noel Gallagher has always liked to joke about the length of the track, but speaking in a throwback interview he said: “It’s one of our best tunes. It doesn’t matter who wrote it.”
Liam added: “I wrote that as a one-off. I was in France in this massive fucking mansion, doing our album. I went out one day sat under a tree, had a bit of a biblical moment and that was it. Didn’t do it to present [to] Noel, I just wrote it.
“It took three minutes and I think I wrote all the words pretty much there and then.”
Referencing how he’d written few songs since, he joked: “And that was that then. I got writer’s block, only I’ve only just picked the board up!”
Noel revealed in the interview: “I even have to push to get it into the set because he won’t have it. ‘Do you think it drags on a bit?’ It’s two minutes and one second long! What fucking crazy drugs are you on?”
Liam Gallagher’s two-minute love song might last forever when it comes to rock, but the relationship certainly didn’t.
His marriage to Nicole Appleton broke down after it emerged he’d had fathered a secret love child after a fling with journalist Liza Ghorbani, and the pair divorced in April 2014.
But that’s not where the story ends…
In 2016 All Saints reunited and released One Strike as their comeback single.
The track charted the traumatic breakdown of Gallagher and Appleton’s marriage and even pinpointed the moment she found out about the news.
“And with one strike/
My world lights up in a fire/
Call it a sign”
All Saints bandmate and chief songwriter Shaznay Lewis told i-D magazine: “It’s about conversations I was having with Nic at the time when she was going through personal things in her life. And as a friend I was just inspired to write about it. I was feeling Nic’s life.
“It’s about a moment. A phone call. The phrase ‘one strike’ is about how your life can just change in one instant. You can be walking down the road, you’ve just left your family at home and everything’s hunky dory, then when you go back home they’re gone.”
Lewis continued: “On one side of the door your life’s amazing, on the other side it changes just like that.”
Nicole’s sister, Natalie, adds of the track: “The first few times I heard it in my car, I couldn’t stop crying because I could hear so clearly what it was about.”
As The Mirror reports, it was revealed in court during their lengthy divorce battle that Nicole Appleton was called on the phone by Gallagher while on holiday to deliver the news of his extra-marital affair and the child which had come about as a result.
Fast forward to October 2017 and Liam Gallagher is preparing releasing his debut solo album As You Were.
On its tracklisting is For What It’s Worth, a song which seems to see the brazen rock ‘n’ roll star show his softer side once again.
The track, which was co-written with Simon Jons and produced by Grech-Marguerat, doesn’t overtly mention his ex wife, but it does seem to hint at “mistakes” as he apologises for the “hurt” he’s caused.
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the hurt/
I’ll be the first to say, I made my own mistakes/
For what it’s worth, I know it’s just a word and words betray/
But sometimes we lose our way”
Speaking to Chris Moyles about the single, he said: “It’s a classic man. I guess it’s the most Oasis-y song on the album. It’s a top tune.”
If Songbird isn’t the most vulnerable and honest of Liam Gallagher’s songs, then perhaps it has now become a close second to For What It’s Worth, which seems to admit all the wrongdoings of his past.
Whatever you think of Songbird, it’s two minutes of Liam Gallagher in a place we rarely see him; honest, vulnerable and eerily calm.
Source: Radio X
Image : Getty