The Importance of Being Idle (song)

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"The Importance of Being Idle"
Single by Oasis
from the album Don't Believe the Truth
B-side "Pass Me Down the Wine"
"The Quiet Ones"
Released 22 August 2005
Format CD single, 7" vinyl, DVD
Recorded 2004
Genre Rock
Length 3:39
Label Big Brother
Writer(s) Noel Gallagher
Producer(s) Noel Gallagher, Dave Sardy
Oasis singles chronology
"Lyla"
(2005)
"The Importance of Being Idle"
(2005)
"Let There Be Love"
(2005)

"The Importance of Being Idle" is a song by the English rock band Oasis from their sixth album, Don't Believe the Truth, written and sung by lead guitarist Noel Gallagher. It was the second single released from the album in the UK, on 22 August 2005. The song was written by Gallagher in the summer of 2004, before the band made their final attempt at recording what would become Don't Believe the Truth.

The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, staying there for one week,[1] marking the first time that Oasis had ever earned two successive number ones in the same calendar year (having also charted at number one earlier in 2005 with "Lyla"). "The Importance of Being Idle" would prove to be the band's last UK number one prior to their break-up in 2009. Noel got the title from the book of the same name, which he found whilst cleaning out a garage (it belonged not to him, but to girlfriend Sara McDonald).

Background[edit]

In an interview with Q magazine, Noel Gallagher stated that "The Importance of Being Idle" sounds like songs from two British bands, The Kinks and The La's. In particular, the guitar playing, as well as the sentiment expressed is noticeably similar to The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" and "Dead End Street". He also said that the lyrics are inspired by his own laziness: "A cross between The Kinks and The La's. About being a lazy so and so. I spent a lot of last summer just sitting around the house doing nothing, really impressed by my lack of drive."[2][3] Additionally, the line "I begged my doctor for one more line" may be a reference to Noel's account of how he gave up cocaine in 1998.[4][5]

The guitar sound is similar also to The La's B-sides "Clean Prophet".[citation needed] It also is a breakaway from the sound of Oasis's latter albums, especially the straight ahead rock and roll anthems of Heathen Chemistry.[citation needed] The keyboard used on the pre-chorus sections was bought by bassist Andy Bell from the auction website eBay.

Critical reception[edit]

Most reviewers acclaimed the track as one of the highlights of Don't Believe the Truth, which itself was widely praised as a marked return to form. The band mentioned in interviews in June 2005 that it would become the second single, after the UK number one "Lyla". The B-sides are Liam Gallagher's "Pass Me Down the Wine" and Gem Archer's "The Quiet Ones".

In the end of year chart in the UK for 2005 it finished No. 37. Q magazine readers placed the song at number one in a list of 2005's greatest tracks. The Song debuted at No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, but was knocked off the spot the following week by Gorillaz's new single "Dare".[1]

The song was ranked No. 117 in XFM's "1000 greatest songs of all time" list. XFM also placed it at No. 48 in their "100 best songs of the 2000s" list. The song is included on Oasis' compilation album Stop the Clocks.

Music video[edit]

The promo film was directed by Dawn Shadforth, (whose previous videos include Kylie Minogue's award-winning "Can't Get You Out of My Head"). Shadforth's film for "The Importance of Being Idle" starred Welsh actor Rhys Ifans and pays homage to the style of early 1960s kitchen sink drama British films, and is set during preparations for a funeral procession in a northern town, with the extravagant undertakers parading the coffin at the video's climax and Ifans playing the part of a high-kicking funeral director whose own funeral it is.[6]

The video is based on the film and play Billy Liar with Ifans playing the role of Billy. The Gallaghers play Shadrack & Duxbury, the owners of the funeral parlour where Billy works. The rest of the band (Gem, Andy and Zak) make brief appearances as lazy workers playing cards in an undertaker's office. The video is similar in style and concept to the black and white 1966 music video for "Dead End Street" by The Kinks. Liam Gallagher's first-born child, Lennon, cameos in this video.

A short behind-the-scenes documentary of the making of the music video, which was shot partly in Greenwich, was directed by Dick Carruthers. Archer describes it as "the best video I think we've ever done".[7]

Track listing[edit]

  • CD RKIDSCD 31[8]
  1. "The Importance of Being Idle" (Noel Gallagher) - 3:43
  2. "Pass Me Down the Wine" (Liam Gallagher) - 3:51
  3. "The Quiet Ones" (Gem Archer) - 2:01
  • 7" RKID 31[9]
  1. "The Importance of Being Idle" (Noel Gallagher) - 3:43
  2. "Pass Me Down the Wine" (Liam Gallagher) - 3:51
  • DVD RKIDSDVD 31[10]
  1. "The Importance of Being Idle" - 3:41
  2. "The Importance of Being Idle" (demo) - 3:40
  3. "The Importance of Being Idle" (video) - 4:03
  4. "The Making of" (Documentary) - 5:22
  • Promo CD RKIDSCD 31P[11]
  1. "The Importance of Being Idle" (radio edit) - 3:37

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
"I bambini fanno "ooh..." by Povia
Italian Singles Chart number-one single
26 August 2005 – 2 September 2005
Succeeded by
"La Camisa Negra" by Juanes
Preceded by
"I'll Be OK" by McFly
UK number-one single
3 September 2005 – 9 September 2005
Succeeded by
"Dare" by Gorillaz