Oasis' Noel Gallagher

The normally high-profile British rock band Oasis has been largely out of the media for the last year or so. The group hasn't issued an LP of new material since 1997's Be Here Now.

Last year Oasis issued the B-sides and rarities collection The Masterplan (including a take on the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus") and the band is now recording a new album in France.

Oasis' principal songwriter and guitarist, Noel Thomas Gallagher, was born 32 years ago today in Manchester, England.

Noel's younger brother, Liam, began singing in a rock band with school friends Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass) and Tony McCaroll (drums). Following Noel's stint as a guitar technician for British rock band Inspiral Carpets, he agreed to join Liam's group if he could have creative control.

Liam and company agreed to Noel's stipulations and the band became Oasis. After spending months practicing and performing, Creation Records signed Oasis and issued the single "Supersonic" in 1994.

The band scored its next UK hit with the ballad "Live Forever," before issuing its debut LP, the #1 Definitely Maybe, which became the fastest-selling debut in British history. Oasis became the most popular band in the UK in 1994 with its Beatles-influenced guitar pop, and the public became fascinated with the good-looking but abrasive Gallagher brothers.

As Oasis began making inroads into the United States, Noel and Liam started to fight a lot, sometimes publicly, adding to global curiosity about the band. MTV took a liking to "Live Forever," helping Oasis' debut LP go gold in the States.

After replacing McCaroll with Alan White, Oasis finished (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995). It became one of the fastest-selling albums in UK history and led to the band's mainstream success in the U.S.

"Wonderwall" made the U.S. top 10, helping the LP sell more than 5 million copies. As Oasis' fame grew, the Gallagher brothers' ability to land in the tabloids (thanks to their fighting and outspokenness) increased. The band's U.S. tour behind Morning Glory was cut short, fueling breakup rumors.

But the group returned with Be Here Now and got more ink when Liam publicly mocked the Beatles and Rolling Stones, despite Noel's admiration for the Fab Four. The album's reviews and sales were not as healthy as its predecessors, despite such industrial-influenced rock cuts as "D'You Know What I Mean" and catchy pop such songs such as "All Around the World" (RealAudio excerpt).

More recently, Noel remixed "The Knock (Drums of Zep Noel Gallagher Remix)" for experimental Mo' Wax Records band UNKLE. He also sang on the upcoming LP by the Chemical Brothers. A new Oasis LP is scheduled for release next year.

Other birthdays: Irmin Schmidt (Can), 62; Gary Brooker (Procul Harum), 54; Francis Rossi (Status Quo), 50; Maureen "Rebbie" Jackson, 49; Mike Porcaro (Toto), 44; Larry Blackmon (Cameo), 43; LaToya Jackson, 43; Mel Gaynor (Simple Minds), 40; Jesse Johnson (the Time), 39; Melissa Etheridge, 38; Blaze Bayley (Iron Maiden), 31; Chad Kinchla (Blues Traveler), 30; and Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown (Spice Girls), 24.