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'The end of Oasis' smashed guitar sells for six figures in France

The Gibson ES-355 was broken during a fight between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher minutes before a concert. The fight led to Oasis' break up

The Gibson ES-355 restored by Philippe Dubreuille and sold on May 17 at the Hôtel Drouot Pic: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock ; Nidhal Marzouk

The infamous guitar used by Oasis’ lead guitarist and singer Noel Gallagher was bought for €385,000 at auction in Paris yesterday, May 17.

The Gibson ES-355 – one of Mr Gallagher’s favourites – became immensely popular among Oasis’ fans after it was broken during a fight between Noel Gallagher and his brother Liam in the minutes before a concert at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris in 2009. 

This row caused the concert to be cancelled as Noel Gallagher quit the band with immediate effect, marking the end of Oasis.

At the auction, held at Hôtel Drouot, the guitar was presented with its original case with a note signed “Peace, love and bananas”.

It was sold by the Artpèges gallery as part of a ‘rock memorabilia’ auction involving more than 80 objects relating to rock and roll music. 

Lots included a rare vinyl signed by Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Hallyday – which fetched over €10,000 – one of Mick Jagger’s shirts and a leather and chain bondage suit worn by Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore.

“This guitar has such an iconic aura. People were really excited,” Arthus Perault, co-founder of Artpèges and the organiser of the auction, told The Connexion, adding that the buzz around the sale “exceeded his expectations.”

The auction was widely featured in the French press earlier this week with articles revisiting the famous Oasis feud and the Rock en Seine drama.

Mr Perault said he was “happy with the price” which exceeded by far the opening price of €150,000.

He said he was not allowed to reveal the identity of the buyer and could only specify that the person is “European”.

“We wanted to put craftsmanship in the spotlight,” he added. 

Noel Gallagher had initially sold the guitar to a collector in 2017, before it was eventually sold to Mr Perault. 

The broken guitar that broke the band

The Gibson ES-355 is one of Noel Gallagher’s “most important guitars”, being his favourite instrument of choice between 1996 and 2011. It first appeared on the music video for the song ‘Stand By Me; which appears on the album Be Here Now.

Noel Gallagher is said to own two ES-355s, both very similar models which only differ in that one has a short pickguard while the other – the one auctioned – has a long one.

The guitar rose rapidly to fame after it was reportedly broken during a fight between the two brothers just before their performances at the Rock en Seine festival on August 28, 2009. 

Oasis officially split up that night after cancelling the concert and the Gallagher brothers are said to have never spoken to each other again. The night in question has gone down in music industry history. 

Liam and Noel have given different accounts of the feud, - Noel saying he could not work any longer with his brother taking too many drugs while Liam said it was caused by Noel’s ego. 

How the guitar came to be smashed has never been clarified although Noel said in an interview that Liam was swinging the guitar around and nearly ‘took [his] face off’ with it ended up smashed against the wall.

The instrument remained broken for two years before it was repaired by Philippe Dubreuille in his London guitar workshop in 2011. 

Mr Dubreuille is a famous French luthier – a maker of stringed instruments – who worked on instruments owned by Gem Archer, Iggy Pop and Keziah Jones, among others. 

The neck was broken and missing a bit of wood, there was a hole in the body as well as missing varnish, Mr Dubreuille told French newspaper Ouest France. It took it almost a month to repair. 

“For me, this was something very prestigious that needed to be done and it was very important to do the job as well as I could: to act as a sort of magician,” he said.

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