The closing track of Oasis’s era-defining debut album Definitely Maybe (1994), was partly inspired by an argument between Noel Gallagher and his then girlfriend, Louise Jones. Jones, sick of being kept awake by Gallagher playing his guitar coined the phrase “Your music’s shite!” Gallagher’s reaction was of course, “had to keep those lines” and thus, the idea for Married With Children was born.
The other inspiration for the song was the American sitcom Married … with Children, which ran for eleven seasons between 1987 and 1997, from which the song takes its title. In an interview with Melody Maker in 1994, Gallagher explained: “I looked at them two in the show, and looked at us two, and I thought, that’s us, that is!”
He also said of the song, “It’s another song that anybody could relate to, because if you live with a girlfriend or just a flatmate, there are always petty things that you hate about them, and this song’s just about pettiness”.
Gallagher put these elements together in the bedroom of producer Mark Coyle’s house, writing the song on the Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar that had been left there by Stone Roses guitarist John Squire. Interestingly, the song uses the same chord progression as Lithium by Nirvana, from their 1991 album Nevermind. A good chord progression to share since Gallagher was about to become as much of a figurehead to indie music as Kurt Cobain was to grunge.
The song was recorded there and then in Coyle’s bedroom with just Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher and Coyle present. Coyle used the limited recording equipment available, which he described in Definitely Maybe: The Documentary (2004) as “appalling”, to create a subtle and charming end to an album that has gone down in history as one of the greatest debuts ever made.
The basic nature of the song’s composition and recording also showed another side to Oasis, the softer more acoustic approach which would later be used to great success on the number 2 hit Wonderwall, from the following album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995).
Lyrically, Gallagher played to his biggest song writing talent, that, once again, of keeping it simple. As Gary ‘Mani’ Mountfield of The Stone Roses and ex-Primal Scream says in Definitely Maybe: The Documentary, “People don’t want to get the logarithm tables out when it comes to music”. Gallagher also played to another talent, that of the great lyrical hook. The both fearsomely working class and endlessly humorous refrain of “Your music’s shite, It keeps me up all night”, particularly when sung by Liam Gallagher is his inimitable style is just one of many on Definitely Maybe.