Noel Gallagher wrote the line, "Stand up beside the fireplace, take that look from off your face" because when he was a kid, his mother used to make him stand next to the fireplace and have photos taken. He always looked grumpy in these photos, so she told him to take that look from off his face. (thanks, Nick - Southampton, England)
Guitarist Noel Gallagher sang lead on this instead of their normal vocalist Liam Gallagher. (thanks, Craig MacDonald - Blair, Scotland)
The Beatles - and especially John Lennon - were a huge influence on Oasis, and that influence is perhaps most apparent in this song. The piano intro was taken from Lennon's "Imagine
," and the line "So I start a revolution from my bed" is a reference to the sing, who staged a famous "bed-in" to promote peace.
Noel told interviewer Daniel Rachel (The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters
) that he borrowed the line "the brains I had went to my head" from Lennon's tape-recorded notes for a memoir he was planning to write before his death.
Noel gave Liam the choice of which song to sing as he threatened he was singing lead on either "Don't Look back in Anger" or "Wonderwall
" (After listening in studio, Liam said he would take the latter, which was really the one Noel wanted as it's a profession of his love to then friend-turned-girlfriend Meg). This is according to Paolo Hewitt's Getting High - The Adventures of Oasis
. (thanks, Holly - Edmonton, Canada)
Noel Gallagher (from Uncut magazine August 2007): "We were in Paris playing with The Verve, and I had the chords for that song and started writing it. We were due to play 2 days later. Our first-ever big arena gig, it's called Sheffield Arena now. At the sound check, I was strumming away on the acoustic guitar, and our kid (Liam Gallagher) said, 'What's that you're singin'?" I wasn't singing anyway, I was just making it up. And our kid said, 'Are you singing 'So Sally can wait'.'' And I was like - that's genius! So I started singing, 'So Sally can wait."'
"I remember going back to the dressing room and writing it out," Noel continued. "It all came really quickly after that. (The title) 'Don't Look Back In Anger' just popped out. We wrote the words out in the dressing room, and we actually played it that night, in front of 18,000 other people. On acoustic guitar. Sat on a stool. Like an idiot. I never do that now."
"When we were coming off recording 'Wonderwall' and 'Don't Look Back In Anger,' I was originally gonna sing 'Wonderwall,' and Liam said, 'I wanna sing it!' And I was like, 'I'm singing one of them, so you take your pick. He chose 'Wonderwall' and I chose the other one," Noel added. "Then it came out as the single. And on that (BBC TV) series Our Friends In The North - the last ever one where they all meet up, when they're all older and have all got kids, and they're all alcoholics - that was the music for the end credits. And I still haven't seen that episode, but loads of people have come up to me, saying, 'Man it was so powerful.' And it kind of took a life of its own after that. It took over from 'Wonderwall' in England as our most famous song. And it's the biggest song of the night now, when we play it live. Which must do Liam's head in - as he doesn't get to sing it - but it makes me feel pretty good."
The song was written exactly 40 years on from when a play called Look Back In Anger by John Osborne was produced in London's west end. The main character, called Jimmy Porter, captured the angry and rebellious nature of the generation. There could be some irony in this - maybe what Oasis are trying to say is that they are the new generation of rebels in rock. (thanks, Alek - Nottingham, England)
Patrick Macnee, who played John Steed in the 1960s television series The Avengers, appears in the video. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Drummer Tony McCarroll, one of the founding members of Oasis, was asked to leave the band in 1995. Noel Gallagher told Q magazine June 2009 that the realization that McCarroll wasn't a good enough drummer came from his contribution to this song. He explained that "he couldn't even play in a straight line" the drum fill that goes into the last chorus.