Pre-Oasis Noel Gallagher demos

Before joining Oasis in 1991, Noel Gallagher was a budding young songwriter. Noel has claimed to have been writing songs since his early teens, which would have been around 1980. In the late 80's, Noel made home demos of some of the songs he had written since then, including what he claims was the first song he'd ever wrote, called 'Baj'. These songs were then put onto cassette and given to friends to demonstrate what he was capable of. Over 10 years later, when Noel had proved himself as one of the best songwriters in the world, these fascinating glimpses into his early songwriting past were put on sale to the world in the form of two cassette tapes.

'Noel's Tunes' (1988)

The first tape, which contained eight tracks believed to have been recorded by Noel sometime in 1988, was put up for auction at Christies in London on the 30th April 1998, but failed to sell as the highest bid of £3,400 was too low. It was apparently sold privately at a later date. You can read an NME review of the tape here, and you can read an article taken from the March 1998 edition of Record Collector which goes into the story of the tape in detail, interviewing the seller of the tape and reviewing the songs. Page 1, Page 2, Page 3.

You can now see a picture of the tape itself, it's sleeve and handwritten lyrics to 'No Cause For Alarm' and 'Have Fun!!' here.

1. Womb To Tomb

Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here.

2. Baj

Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here.

In an interview for The Observer on the 17th September 1995, Noel revealed that this was the first song he'd ever written, when he was 13. "The best line was: "And on your badge it says, 'Wear A Badge'.''

In an interview for the February 1996 edition of Q Magazine, Noel spoke about the first song he ever wrote. Although he didn't mention the title, he namechecked 'Baj' as the first song he ever wrote in the interview with the Observer. As such, I'm filing these comments under 'Baj', although it is possible he's referring to another song. Q: "Allegedly, you wrote songs almost as soon as you'd learned your third chord. It's a huge leap from copying to creating. Do you remember when it happened? N: "I was in my bedroom. Winter time. It went G. E minor, C, D, the basic chords, right, and the chorus was, "And life goes on, but the world will never change". I must have been smoking too much pot at the time. It was, I dunno, just to see if I could do it. After that I wrote about 75 songs no one's ever heard."

3. I Am The Man

Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here.

4. England

Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here.

5. I Didn't Think So! (aka What's Been Happenin')

The song was also included on Noel's 1989 demo tape (under the title of 'What's Been Happenin') although it's unknown if both tapes contain the same exact recording. Scroll down to hear the version from that tape. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape.

6. What's It Got To Do With You?

The song was also included on Noel's 1989 demo tape although it's unknown if both tapes contain the same exact recording. Scroll down to hear the version from that tape. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape.

7. No Cause For Alarm! (aka Hey You)

The song was also included on Noel's 1989 demo tape (under the title of 'Hey You') although it's unknown if both tapes contain the same exact recording. Scroll down to hear the version from that tape. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape.

View a snippet of handwritten lyrics to this song here. And you can see the (almost) full set of handwritten lyrics here.

8. Have Fun!!

The song was also included on Noel's 1989 demo tape (under the title of 'Gotta Have Fun'). Scroll down to hear the version from that tape. A short clip of the track was broadcast on UK TV on a report on the auction made by Reuters Television on the 30th April 1998, and which was broadcast on Channel 4's 'The Big Breakfast' and possibly other channels on the same date, the date of the auction.

You can view Noel's original handwritten lyrics to this song here. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here.

NOTE: A clip of this song is going round some parts of the Internet under the title: 'No Cause For Alarm', possibly because the Reuters report said it was that song. However, the lyrics in the clip match the handwritten lyrics of 'Have Fun!!', and the inlay card of the tape show both 'Have Fun!! and 'No Cause For Alarm' as two different songs. And both the reviews by the NME and Record Collector match the songs themselves as found on Noel's 1989 tape.

THE OASIS REACTION

In Paolo Hewitt's 1999 book 'Forever The People: Six Months On The Road With Oasis', the author documents the time in 1998 when Noel and Oasis' manager Marcus Russell found out about the tape being put on sale.

"In front of [Marcus] is a Record Collector news story that has been faxed over to him. (NOTE: I'm 99.9% sure it's the same article that you can read above - Mr.M). A tape containing some of Noel's earliest songs is to be auctioned at Christie's. The songs are pre-Oasis. An assistant who has heard the tape delivers a damaging comment. She says that a lot of the songs are better than anything on 'Be Here Now'. They estimate a selling price of between four and six grand.

'Bet it will go for far more,' Marcus states. He is now preparing a press release. 'I'm going to say that until we hear the tape I can't verify anything. I'm also going to say that it might have been nice of whoever it is who's selling this tape to have the courtesy to send us a copy.'

'Says here,' I say, scanning the article, 'that the guy wrote to Noel offering to give him back the tape. But if he didn't receive a reply then he'd go ahead with the sale.'

'We never got a letter,' Marcus brusquely states.

The seller of the tape remains anonymous. He states that he befriended the 18-year-old Noel in 1985. The songwriter was then working on the building. At lunchtimes he would come round his house with his mates and hang out, feed themselves.

He added that they were close mates. So much so that Noel had given him the tape, got his opinion, shown him where his head was at. That's how close they were. He finally added that Noel had promised to buy him a house when he got rich. (Noted that: not if, but when.)

Marcus was worried about breaking the news of the tape to Noel. He knew it would upset him. A private man, as every true songwriter must be, he would not welcome his past being dragged up. And then sold to the world.

Noel had no choice. When Marcus later asked him if they were his songs, he said, 'Sounds like it. Anyway, give a shit.'

'We can always get someone down there to buy the tape,' Marcus said.

'You're joking, aren't you? Spend six grand of my money for my songs? My own fucking songs. That's wrong. I'm not having that.' And put like that - you had to agree."

'Noel's Songs' (1989)

The second tape, which contained five tracks, was believed to been recorded by Noel in 1989. Only one track, 'But What If…', was unheard, with the other four songs being on the 1988 tape, although it's unknown if the recordings are exactly the same. A couple of friends of the seller of the tape appeared on alt.music.oasis on the 26th July 2001 gauging possible demand for a private sale. They claimed It had gone up for auction at Christies at an earlier date but didn't sell, supposedly because Noel Gallagher was there in person attempting to buy some original John Lennon lyrics and potential buyers were perhaps put off by his presence. You can see the Christies brochure of the original auction, which features more information on the history of the tape here and you can read the original alt.music.oasis thread here.

In June 2006, this tape was put up for sale on eBay but was later sold privately. Clips from all five songs were made available to this site as evidence of the tapes authenticity. The tape was purchased by a consortium of Oasis fans with the explicit agreement that the contents of the tape would be made publicly available and that the tape would later be returned to Noel in some way. See pictures of the tape here, here, and here. You can read about the history of the tape, written by the original owner, here.

1. What's It Got To Do With You?

The song was also included on Noel's 1988 demo tape although it's unknown if both tapes contain the same exact recording. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape. Noel also apparently referred to this song as 'Ask Me How I Feel'.

2. Hey You (aka No Cause For Alarm!)

The song was also included on Noel's 1988 demo tape (under the title of 'No Cause For Alarm') although it's unknown if both tapes contain the same exact recording. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape. Noel referred to this song as 'Hey You'.

View a snippet of handwritten lyrics to this song here. And you can see the (almost) full set of handwritten lyrics here.

3. What's Been Happenin' (aka I Didn't Think So!)

The song was also included on Noel's 1988 demo tape (under the title of 'I Didn't Think So') although it's unknown if both tapes contain the same exact recording. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape.

4. But What If…

Three short clips (of the intro, verse and chorus) from this song were put online on the 1st August 2001 by a couple of friends of the seller of the tape. The audio clips were posted to alt.binaries.music.oasis as evidence of the tapes authenticity. See the announce thread on alt.music.oasis here.

5. Gotta Have Fun

The song was also included on Noel's 1988 demo tape (under the title of 'Have Fun!!'). Scroll up for a clip of the song from that tape. Clip 2 is from the 1989 tape.

You can view Noel's original handwritten lyrics to this song here. Read an NME review of this track here and a review taken from Record Collector magazine here. Both reviews are of the version from the 1988 demo tape.

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