Johnny Depp Got the Call When Oasis Guitarist Noel Gallagher Couldn’t Play His Own Music

Johnny Depp was a Hollywood newbie with dreams of a lucrative music career long before we knew about the Hicksville trailer and well ahead of when we found out he lost his fingertip during a fight with Amber Heard. Acting turned out to be Depp’s true calling, but he never gave up on making music. Depp recorded two songs with Oasis, one because guitarist Noel Gallagher couldn’t play what he wrote. That wasn’t the first or only time the famous actor worked with notable musicians.

Johnny Depp plays with Hollywood Vampires in 2018; Oasis' Noel Gallagher performs in Australia in 2012. Depp played guitar for Oasis on an album when Gallagher couldn't.
(l-r) Johnny Depp; Oasis’ Noel Gallagher | Jim Dyson/Getty Images; Martin Philbey/Redferns

Depp dreamed of music stardom before his first wife and Nicolas Cage suggested acting

Depp’s musical talent has never been a secret, and he might have had a career in music if not for Nicolas Cage and Depp’s first wife.

He arrived in Los Angeles hoping he and his band, The Kids, could score a recording contract. They opened for some notable bands, but Depp’s music career didn’t pan out as he hoped.

Depp’s first wife, Lori Anne Allison, and Cage, her friend, encouraged Depp to focus on acting, and it didn’t take long for success to follow. He landed a part in Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, had a small role in Oliver Stone’s 1986 movie Platoon, and starred in 21 Jump Street starting in 1987. Depp had a starring role in Edward Scissorhands by 1990, and he was on his way to stardom.

He never let his music dream die, and his success as an actor allowed him to pursue his passion. Depp played on an Oasis album when guitarist Noel Gallagher couldn’t play his own music.

Johnny Depp subbed in for Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher when Gallagher couldn’t play a part he’d written

Oasis was one of world’s biggest bands when it released its third album, Be Here Now, in 1997. By that time, the band was a well-oiled machine reliably cranking out muscular yet catchy songs and albums.

Noel Gallagher had proven to be an accomplished guitarist, but he had to call in Depp to play one guitar line on the album.

According to MTV, Gallagher’s wife is a friend of Depp’s ex Kate Moss. All four of them met up on a Caribbean island when Gallagher mentioned he wrote a song that required slide guitar — but he didn’t know how to play slide. Gallagher and Depp later synced up, and Depp’s slide guitar solo appears on the album version of “Fade In-Out,” which was the product of two recording sessions.

“So we only have it on cassette from this little portable machine we brought along,” Gallagher said, reported MTV. “So the slide guitar solo is actually from — the first part of that song is actually from the tape, and then the bit where the drums come in is from the bit we recorded in the studio.”

Depp also contributed guitar to an acoustic version of “Fade Away,” a Definitely Maybe non-album track that later appeared on the War Child: Help compilation.

Depp joined Oasis for two songs, but he’s collaborated with many musicians over the years.

The Depp-Oasis collaboration wasn’t his first or last time teaming up with superstar musicians

Depp playing guitar on an album track for a multi-platinum band is a notable music bullet point on his resumé, but it’s hardly the only one. 

  • Depp appeared in the video for Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open” in 1991. He also acted in the video for the Lemonheads’ “It’s a Shame About Ray,” and he directed and starred in a video for Shane MacGowan and the Popes in 1994. 
  • Produced four music videos for ex Vanessa Paradis between 2001 and 2009, per his IMDb profile.
  • Played in the band P with Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), according to Parade.
  • Appeared in two Marilyn Manson music videos in 2017, according to IMDb.
  • Plays with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry in the band Hollywood Vampires. 

Depp’s brief stint with Oasis was just one case where he put the talents from his first passion to use.

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