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Noel Gallagher Turns 50 With 'Narcos' Themed Party

Noel Gallagher in a guitar shop in Leeds, UK in October 2001. Photographer © Jill Furmanovsky

For anyone who grew up with the music of Oasis soundtracking their lives it may come as a surprise to learn that Noel Gallagher is turning 50 this week. Sure, time waits for no one not even rock stars, but still, it’s quite a jarring thought. It seems Noel Gallagher is going to celebrate in style though, with a cocaine and drug cartel party theme inspired by the hit Netflix show Narcos.

Noel's wife Sara McDonald shared a photo of the invitations to Instagram with the caption “Countdown”. The former Oasis songwriter and guitarist, who now fronts up his band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, turns 50 on 29 May.

Liam and Noel of Oasis, taken during the rehearsals for their upcoming tour at Black Island Studios, London, UK in 2008. Photographer © Jill Furmanovsky

The invite had Noel posing like Pablo Escobar (played by actor Wagner Moura) in the promotional posters for the Netflix show, which focused in its first two seasons on Escobar’s rise and fall as a Colombian cocaine kingpin. Also on the invite is the tagline “There’s no business like blow business.” taken from Narcos, along with a spray of white powder.

Noel Gallagher's 50th birthday invites

Noel was recently spotted out and about at the V&A museum for the preview of Pink Floyd's opening night of Their Mortal Remains exhibition, hanging out with Nick Mason—both music legends, albeit from different eras.

Noel’s era, of course, was the mid-1990s when along with brother Liam, Oasis stormed onto the British music scene with their debut album Definitely Maybe (1994). It became the fastest-selling debut album in British history and, along with second studio album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) came to define Britpop and the indie sound from that decade.

Much of the music and the lyrics that featured on those albums was written by Noel prior to his success. Talking about his songwriting he's said, "All that Definitely Maybe, Morning Glory, Be Here Now stuff was written while I was still on the dole. I had the chords, the arrangements, the melodies; just bits of lyrics to fill in. You start off writing songs, you’re not sure who’s going to hear them. Then when I tried to write the next batch, I was like, ‘We’ve 20 million fans.’ Then your records become eagerly anticipated and you start going, ‘Umm, I might go to the pub today.’ If you wrote 'Digsy’s Dinner '(from Definitely Maybe) now, The Guardian or the music papers would destroy you. It’s a song about going to someone’s house for lasagne – you only write songs like that when you’re free of inhibitions."

Noel and Liam Gallagher, with the rest of the band, in King's Cross Pool & Snooker Club in May 1997. Photographer © Jill Furmanovsky

So for Noel to celebrate half a century it’s quite the milestone for him and anyone who spent their youth listening to the band. But the world is vastly different now to how it was back in the 90s. For one we now have the internet and social media. Plus those old Britpop rivalries have thawed. Because Noel is now friends with former Britpop rival, Blur’s singer Damon Albarn.

In fact the two have recently collaborated for the new Gorillaz track “We Got The Power” taken from their album Humanz. “In a sort of lighthearted way, I’d promised Noel he could be on this record.” Albarn told Vulture. “He was always like, ‘I want to be on the next Gorillaz record,’ and I was like, ‘Sure.’ I thought it might be cute, the idea of us singing about the power to love each other. Of course, no one’s asked Liam what he thinks about the song yet. No doubt he’d have a fantastic one-liner about what a bunch of fucking knobheads we are.”

Taken on a video shoot for one of Noel's greatest songs "Wonderwall". A beam of evening light hits the spot. Photographer © Jill Furmanovsky

As for Noel’s own solo career, he’s been working on his third album with High Flying Birds, which follows on from 2015’s Chasing Yesterday, since last year. It’s being produced by David Holmes and is expected November 2017.

“People are going to be surprised.” Holmes said about the album. “I think people love Noel and they’re desperate for him to make a really big, bold, uptempo beast of a record – a lot of Noel’s music is quite mid-tempo. This one is quite fun.” Continuing, “He's a brilliant guitar player, and he's really getting into guitar pedals and stuff. He's got two great ears.”

Noel Gallagher of Oasis, with his signature Union Jack guitar. Taken at NEC, Birmingham, UK in July 1996. Photographer © Jill Furmanovsky

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer these images, along with many other photos of Noel Gallagher and Oasis, as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.

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