Watch Noel Gallagher use a Fender Strat for High Flying Birds’ “blasphemous” cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart

Noel Gallagher
(Image credit: Isaac Stephenson / YouTube)

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds visited the BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room this week to perform a set in the company of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and covered Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. 

Maybe it was the presence of all those strings – the very sight of violins – or the fact it was for the Auntie Beeb, but Gallagher broke from type, eschewing his usual choice of electric guitar to pick up a Fender Stratocaster, capoed at the fifth fret, for the performance. Indeed, the Strat in question looks very much like The Edge's signature Strat, albeit with the decal rubbed off the front of the headstock.

The full set is available to view on BBC iPlayer, and also featured AKA... What A Life! and Council Skies. Gallagher used a Gibson J-150 acoustic for that. But it’s the Joy Division cover that is most notable, and the reception has not been 100 per cent favourable. 

Gallagher’s former Oasis bandmate, brother and biggest critic, Liam Gallagher, took to Twitter to apologise for his estranged brother’s performance, calling it “piss poor” and “blasphemous”. 

Well, a capo at the fifth fret can be a difficult situation for anyone’s vocals, and the strings and the setting is always going to attenuate the track’s power. Let's call it controversial.

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Gallagher was backed up by Gem Archer on a Rickenbacker, with Archer looking every bit the veteran mod. Both brought huge pedalboards for the performance.

Noel Gallagher has been recently been playing a Fender Jazzmaster onstage, is a Gibson and Epiphone artist with both signature electric and acoustic guitars to his name. But he is rarely is spotted in the wild with a Strat. We do know he has used a Bill Nash S-style on High Flying Birds’ sophomore album Chasing Yesterday.

Speaking to Guitar World in 2015 he said he got one to replace a ’63 Strat that got stolen.

“I had a very expensive 1963 off-white Strat stolen from me about three years ago,” he said. “It was the best Strat I’d ever played. And I thought, I’m not fucking spending that much money to replace it, so I bought a Nash copy of it, and it’s the best guitar I’ve ever owned. Ever. And the Nash Tele is astonishing. I use them both all over my new record.”

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds new album, Council Skies, is out today via Sour Mash Records. The band are on tour in the US, playing Seattle’s White River Amphitheatre tonight, with the UK leg of the tour picking up on 21 July in Buckinghamshire. See Noel Gallagher for dates and ticket details.

You can watch the full set on BBC iPlayer.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.