Be Here Now
Noel Gallagher talks Phil Sutcliffe through Oasis' third magnum opus, Be Here Now.
1. D'You Know What I Mean?
A girlfriend-on-shoulders moment
"I was going to make up some profound statement in the chorus but I couldn't come up with anything
that fitted. then I just thought "All my people right here, right now. D'You Know What I Mean? Yeah,
Yeah" Very vague, very ambiguous, that'll do. Look in the mirror and wink while you're singing it and it's quite saucy. And I fucking love that line, 'Coming in a mess, going out
in style'. We were a bunch of scruffs from Manchester and we're going out in a Rolls Royce.
"The morse code in the background was inspired by Strawberry Fields. We got hold of a code book and tried to tap out 'Bugger All' to follow that line 'Don't look back cos you know what you might see'. But if anyone can tell me what we really said, please
let me know. Profound lagerisms..."
- Is it my imagination, or does Liam actually sneak the F-word into the intro of this first single? (Check out the :35-second mark of the CD). Those weird-sounding words before the first verse turn out to be the Beatles catch phrase "yeah, yeah, yeah" played backwards. The background vocals (45K) that kick in just before the chorus are just the first line of the chorus -- "All my people, right here right now" -- sung backwards (45K). Finally, Noel has been quoted as saying that the song's sampled drums are taken from N.W.A's rap classic, "Straight Outta Compton."
2. My Big Mouth
A very loud way of saying sorry
"'Into my big mouth you could fly a plane': even I'm not interested in what I've got to say half the time. But, 'I ain't never spoke to God/I ain't never been to heaven', that's about fans who think you're on the phone to John Lennon and you have all the answers. I understand where it comes from, people meeting their heroes, they talk to you without thinking because they only have a minute. They go bang about something happening in their lives and you go (open mouthed, blank-faced gawp)."
3. Magic Pie
Mildly psychedelic Blair-quoting rave up
"I sang this one. Of course, me and Liam had a row about it. 'Why can't I sing that?' 'OK, I'll do Fade In/Out then.' 'No, you won't.' But it's his favourite track now. The first line, 'An extraordinary guy/Can never have an ordinary day', comes from him asking me, 'How come you never get into any of the situations I get into?' And i borrowed something from Tony Blair's speech at the Labour Party conference last autumn ("There are but a thousand days preparing for a thousand years").
"The vocal harmonies are quite psychedelic. The jazzy bit at the end is played on a Mellotron which was made for the The Beatles' Abbey Road sessions. All I did was run my elbows across the keys and this mad jazz came out and everyone laughed.
"The magic pie happened when I was pissedand looking in a rhyming dictionary for a word with an 'i' ending. I saw 'magpie', but I read it as 'magic pie'. I thought, That conjures up a few things."
4. Stand By Me
Witness the healing power of rock
"It starts, "Made a meal and threw it up on Sunday'. When I first moved to London my mam kept on ringing up and asking was I eating properly. Yes, man. So I tryed to cook a Sunday roast and puked up for two days with food poisoning. It was back to Pot Noodles after that.
"It's a bit like Live Forever, I suppose, with a touch of All The Young Dudes in the background -- though I made sure I changed the chords."
5. I Hope, I Think, I Know
Straight Ahead, chest beating jangle 'n' roar
"The only reason it's on the album is for balance because it's quite fast. I liked the demo, but it's too pop for me now. I'm slowing down. I'm getting into my voodoo tao stage. It reminds me of the Buzzcocks, but I think it's going to be like Hey Now on Morning Glory -- the one that nobody mentions."
6. The Girl In The Dirty Shirt
Soft lad tendencies tempered by Manc grit
"You guessed it. Meg is the girl in the dirty shirt. We were doing a gig in Brighton (December 29, 1994, probably), just before Meg and me were going out. She was at the hotel ironing a dirty shirt because she hadn't brought enough clothes with her. I know it sounds a bit soft. Liam will read this and say, You fucking wanker! Because he thinks all the songs are about him. He even thinks Wonderwall is about him. So he'll be telling me it's a geezer in a dirty shirt really, except I couldn't say that because it would look bad.
"The chord structure came straight from (The Beatles) Cry Baby Cry, but I think it's a bit like The Small Faces with the Wurlitzer at the end."
7. Fade In/Out
Blues with Johnny Depp and primal scream
"The first part of the song is from the Mustique demo with Johnny Depp playing slide guitar. I like it because it's the first blues song I've done and Liam does the best singing I've ever heard from him. I pushed him to the limit on that. I said, Pretend you're a black man from Memphis. He's not got vert good rhythm and we made him stamp his foot all through it. He couldn't sing for a week after.
"The scream near the end was the last bit we did. Me and Meg went back to Mustique over Christmas and I took the rough mix with me. It needed something and it was bugging me. Meg woke up one morning and there I was in bed with the Walkman on, screaming. She thought I'd gone into my drug psychotic phase -- 'Oh, sorry, I'm just filling in a bit of the record...'
"So I don't think 14-year-old girls will be skipping about to this one. (Cockney) 'Ere Shelle, wind that one on will yer!' Until they find out Johnny Depp's on it. It's going to be weird how that's perceived, having a Hollywood star on the album. But I'm glad it happened. If he hadn't been around, we'd have had to get some fat old geezer who'd be telling us about how he played with Clapton in '76 and did a slide solo that lasted for fucking months."
8. Don't Go Away
Equal parts horns, strings, grief and frustration
"It's a very sad song about not wanting to lose someone you're close to. The middle eight I made up on the spot -- I never had that lyric until the day we recorded it: 'Me and you, what's going on?/ All we seem to know is how to show/ The feelings that are wrong.' It's after a row. Quite bleak.
"We put Burt Bacharach horns on because he was the master of break-up songs. I did all the string arrangements. I tried to keep them as simple as possible. I like the way Marc Bolan used them on Children Of The Revolution. People do remember string parts as separate hooklines, you know. You just don't want to use them slushily."
9. Be Here Now
Piano-pinching honky-tonk juggernaut
"In Mustique Johnny Depp and Kate Moss stayed at Mick Jagger's house. We were down on the beach and there was this toy plastic piano that belonged to one of Jagger's kids. The opening's played on that, slowed down. I was pressing that one key for about two hours, Meg going, 'Will you f*****g shut up!' Anyway, I nicked it - me from Burnage. I can't help it. Mick can have it back if he wants.
Then, back home, I was talking about drum loops with Owen Morris and he said one of the greatest was the opening to Honky Tonk Woman. We played it and it was in the same time signature as that piano. So I wrote the song from there. I liked the Stones involvement at the start and the finish of writing it."
10. All Around The World
Nine minutes of orchestral bonhomie
"I wrote this one ages ago, before Whatever. It was twelve minutes long then. It was a matter of being able to afford to record it. But now we can get away with the 36-piece orchestra. And the longer the better as far as I'm concerned. If it's good. I can see what people are going to say, but f*** 'em, basically.
The lyrics are teeny-poppy. But there are three key changes towards the end. Imagine how much better Hey Jude would have been with three key changes towards the end. I like the ambition of it, all that time ago. What was all that about when we didn't even have our first single out? Gin and tonics, eh?"
11. It's Getting Better (Man!!)
Good vibes, bad title
"I actually wrote this jamming on stage with the band during the last American tour. A really happy tune even though there was a lot of shit going down. Because we got connected with The Beatles all the time I thought I'd write a Rolling Stones song instead. You can almost see Keith and Ronnie with fags in their mouths, giving it some..."
12. All Around The World (Reprise)
Joyous instrumental fade out
"I was running out of guitar lines so I decided to fade it in with backwards guitars. The feet clumping out at the end belong to Brain Cannon, the sleeve designer. And the door slamming, that's never been done before, of course. We got a Penny Lane piccolo trumnpet in there because a guy in the brass section stood up and said, 'You should have a piccolo trumpet on that - and I've got one.' So we sent him home in a taxi to fetch it. They'll all be using them soon."
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