Why Oasis’ Noel Gallagher Used the Riff From John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’

John Lennon‘s “Imagine” and Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” use the same piano riff. During an interview, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher explained why he reused John’s riff. He also compared “Don’t Look Back in Anger” to The Beatles‘ “Hey Jude.”

"Imagine" era John Lennon wearing glasses
John Lennon around the time he wrote “Imagine” | Ron Howard/Redferns

The 2 reasons Noel Gallagher used the riff from John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’

Oasis’ songs feature many references to The Beatles. . The titles of songs such as “Yellow Submarine,” and “The Fool on the Hill” are used in Oasis’ lyrics. In the same vein, Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” opens instrumentation similar to that of “Imagine.”

According to the BBC, Gallagher reused the “Imagine” riff for tweo reasons. “I suppose 50% of it’s put there to wind people up,” he mused. “And the other 50% is saying ‘Look this is how songs like ‘Look Back in Anger’ come about. Because they’re inspired by songs like ‘Imagine.’ There’s some kid out there will read the interview and say ”Imagine,’ well I’ve never heard that song.’ And he might go and buy the album.”

RELATED: George Harrison Helped Inspire ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis

Why Noel Gallagher compared Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ to The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’

According to a Radio X interview from 2020, Gallagher discussed the impact of “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” “When I see teenagers in the crowd — who were barely born when Oasis split up, far less when we were together — that makes me think, ‘Wow,'” he said. “It is difficult putting together a set list, because you kind of think, ‘Am I done with that song? How many more times am I gonna play it?'”

He compared “Don’t Look Back in Anger” to “Hey Jude.” “You’re kind of obliged to at least give it a go, he said. “‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ — I don’t think I’d be allowed out of the venue if I didn’t play that. It’s kind of like my ‘Hey Jude.'”

RELATED: ‘Imagine’ Wasn’t John Lennon’s Most Popular Song

The way the United Kingdom reacted to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’

“Imagine” became a huge hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song spent four weeks at No. 1 in the U.K. and 42 total weeks on the chart in the 1970s. In 1988, John’s estate released a double A-side of “Imagine and “Jealous Guy” that peaked at No. 45 and remained on the chart for five weeks. 

“Imagine” appeared on the album of the same name. The album peaked at No. 1 in the U.K. It stayed on the chart for 101 weeks.

On the other hand, The Official Charts Company reports “Don’t Look Back in Anger” spent one week at No. 1 in the U.K. It stayed on the chart for 46 total weeks. The song’s parent album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, hit No. 1 and remained on the chart for 523 weeks. “Don’t Look Back” wasn’t as popular as “Imagine,” but it’s still an enduring 1990s rock song.

RELATED: John Lennon: Why George Michael Bought the ‘Imagine’ Piano