Unlike boxing, rock and roll is not renowned for great comebacks. A few missteps and then it’s usually farewell, have a good life, who are you again? Occasionally, though, a true heavy musical champ loses a bout only to re-emerge even stronger later. David Bowie, for example, went through a long fallow period before his renaissance. Paul Weller had a rocky few years before finding his feet as a solo artist. Now we can add a third era-defining voice to that list of champions who returned to reclaim their belt: Liam Gallagher.
After Beady Eye officially split in 2014, Liam found himself “out of the bubble” of being in an organised rock group with all the appropriate management apparatus for the first time in twenty years. He fell hard. Suddenly just a regular geezer (“just a regular absolute legend” he clarifies), he had to consider what he was going to do. For a while, he toyed with the idea of moving to Majorca and living “Sexy Beast-style” around the pool in the sun. He had a few holidays. He went for lots of jogs. He had a few pints. And he got divorced. And when all that was done he took a long look at himself in the mirror and remembered who he is and what he does. He’s Liam Gallagher, son of Peggy Gallagher, of Burnage, Manchester, the best singer and frontman of his generation. So he decided to start singing some songs again. Majorca could wait.
Playing around in his own idiosyncratic style on a guitar at home in London, he surprised himself by writing a song. “I am definitely not a professional at it,” he says, modestly. “It’s proper Frankenstein tackle. But I suppose everyone has their ways. Even Paul McCartney didn’t just sit down and write Hey Jude straight away.”
The song that he wrote was a heavy dollop of soul-rock called Bold and strong enough to get him signed to Warner Bros. There was something there alright. Eventually, he had a whole batch of songs written which he demoed with a multi-instrumentalist called Dan McDougall in London before he started to meet producers and co-writers. “Warner Bros said to me, ‘Are you up for a bit of co-writing? I was, like, ‘never done that before. Why not?’” He flew out to LA, met a few, but really hit it off with Greg Kurstin. “Greg Kurstin played me a few ideas, we had a chat, swapped some ideas, sorted it out and before you know we had some more songs. I’m as surprised as anyone that it worked, but the songs we did are top.”
These songs include Liam’s incredible first single as a solo artist, Wall Of Glass. If you had to make an equation of all the elements that made the early Oasis singles so apocalyptically good - i.e, huge waves of guitar hooks + melody you can’t shake for…ever + thunderous rhythm + LIAM GALLAGHER’S VOICE delivering an unbelievably catchy chorus - then Wall Of Glass fits in the lineage perfectly. It’s hard to recall a time he’s sung better - it’s like hearing him for the first time again, the same yearning menace that claimed a million hearts by the end of Supersonic’s first chorus. His voice is definitely on point.
“Yeah, well,” he almost agrees. “I’m a good singer, man! Nine out of ten times I nail it. In a studio, without a doubt. Never done a shit vocal there.”