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Definitely Maybe At 25: Inside The Manchester Flat Where Noel Gallagher Wrote The Epic Album

Definitely Maybe At 25: Inside The Manchester Flat Where Noel Gallagher Wrote The Epic Album

From the window of the small apartment in India House, there is concrete as far as the eye can see - which isn't far at all.

Looking out on to an NCP car park, Manchester's skyline beyond it has changed plenty since 1994. The famous Hacienda nightclub has gone. Now office blocks and flats surround the imposing Whitworth Street building that Noel Gallagher called home 25 years ago.

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India House, Whitworth Street, Manchester. Credit: LADbible
India House, Whitworth Street, Manchester. Credit: LADbible

Crane your neck to the left and you can still see The Boardwalk, where his band Oasis rehearsed relentlessly while waiting for the big break to come. It's offices now, of course.

Oasis - whatever you think of them now - will forever be one of those bands that go down as one of the most influential of all time.

The last great rock and roll band before social media changed the way music fans connected to their heroes? Maybe.

And it all started with their 1994 debut album Definitely Maybe. Written here, inside flat 47.

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The front door of Noel's council owned flat. Credit: LADbible
The front door of Noel's council owned flat. Credit: LADbible

Largely written in the corner of the unremarkable one bedroom council flat in Manchester city centre that Noel shared with then girlfriend Louise, the album was his main hope for a ticket out of the city he loved to hate.

According to his old mate Nev Cottee - who spent time with the band there and also now lives in the apartment - Noel wrote the majority of album in little more than a week, sitting with an amp and a guitar, unknowingly creating banger after banger

The corridor of the flat. Credit: LADbible
The corridor of the flat. Credit: LADbible

Speaking to LADbible, Cottee said: "He moved out around the time 'Supersonic' came out - I'm not sure when that was. I moved there in 2009."

"He probably had most of the next two albums written there. He had it all mapped out."

Credit: Michael Spencer Jones
Credit: Michael Spencer Jones

Famous rehearsal footage of the band jamming All Around The World in the days before Definitely Maybe - which wouldn't see the light of day until 1997's Be Here Now - shows that Noel certainly had a bank of songs that would see him beyond that first album.

Taking a look around the apartment and out of the window - it's easy to see how Gallagher's cynicism leaked through into his songwriting. And a vague obsession with the weather. Especially the rain.

The view from India House on Whitworth Street, Manchester. Credit: LADbible
The view from India House on Whitworth Street, Manchester. Credit: LADbible

In between visits to the Hacienda with his friends (which is now a block of apartments of the same name) and being a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets, Noel would spend his days and nights sitting in the flat, drinking, smoking and writing music.

Credit: LADbible
Credit: LADbible

Speaking to The Mirror, Noel said: "It is an amazing thing that I tapped into something by accident. That album in particular is the one, it came from a place of truth.

"I wrote it when I was living in a one-bedroomed apartment that I was renting off the local council. I had one guitar, probably two plectrums..."

Credit: LADbible
Credit: LADbible
Oasis recording Definitely Maybe at Monnow Valley Credit: Michael Spencer Jones
Oasis recording Definitely Maybe at Monnow Valley Credit: Michael Spencer Jones

The mystery of the band's success lies in the songs themselves, which Noel admits himself came to him as though the 'floodgates had opened' and he knew he'd created something special - but wasn't quite sure how.

"I have to say I wasn't that confident until I wrote 'Live Forever' - and then I was like 'f*** these idiots," he admitted. "This is where I get the swagger now."

The tracks themselves came exactly at the right moment in time for a youth who had become disenfranchised with politics but with the on-set of the new Labour government, with whom Noel ingratiated himself with, had a sense of hope for their own future.

As the band's biographer said, it was the sound of a 'council estate singing its heart out' and as Noel wrote in 'Rock n Roll Star': "I live my life in the city. There's no easy way out."

Noel returned to the flat in 2017 and was reunited with his old mate Nev. Credit: CBS
Noel returned to the flat in 2017 and was reunited with his old mate Nev. Credit: CBS

All that would change after the album's release on Alan McGee's Creation Records, when they went from the dole to being millionaires in a matter of months.

Not only was India House an important landmark in the album, making it important for music history, Noel speaks about the video for the second single off the album, 'Shakermaker'.

The video was filmed around Manchester, mainly behind Bonehead's house, where the cover for the album was shot, as well as around various places in Burnage, including near his mum's house.

"I've got no recollection of writing this song," Noel says, with his usual indifference. "Not in the slightest, I don't know when it was written, I don't know why it was written, I don't know how it was written, I'm not sure what I ripped it off."

He goes on to spot his 'mam's house' in the video, explaining that 'Live Forever' was going to be the third single but they needed a second to follow up 'Supersonic'. 'Shakermaker' got the nod.

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"Twelve bar blues with a load of nonsense sang over it.

"I actually thought that the covers were more important than the music," Noel adds.

To mark the 25th anniversary of one of the UK's most loved albums, a new exhibition will showcase never-before-seen images of Oasis.

Memorabilia and behind-the-scenes photos will be displayed at the London show. Images from guitarist Bonehead's front room to shots taken during recording sessions at at Rockfield Studios.

The scenes were captured by photographer Michael Spencer Jones, who was the genius behind the Definitely Maybe album cover. He was also the only photographer to be given full access during the bands's pre-fame days and their infamous world tour in 1997 and 1998.

He said: "I hope this exhibition gives fans a chance to pause and reflect and look back upon a time when the face and image of Britain was being revolutionised from below."

Michael Spencer Jones' Masterplan25 exhibition will run from 23 November until 12 January at h Club Gallery, London.

Featured Image Credit: Michael Spencer Jones/Creation Records

Topics: Oasis, Music, UK Entertainment

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into the world of music. Quickly realising that you can't pay your bills with guestlist, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]

 

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