The Importance of Being Idle (song)

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"The Importance of Being Idle"
Oasis - TIOBI.jpg
Single by Oasis
from the album Don't Believe the Truth
  • "Pass Me Down the Wine"
  • "The Quiet Ones"
Released22 August 2005
FormatCD single, 7" vinyl, DVD
StudioWheeler End Studios, Buckinghamshire, England
LabelBig Brother
Songwriter(s)Noel Gallagher
Producer(s)Noel Gallagher
Oasis singles chronology
"The Importance of Being Idle"
"Let There Be Love"

"The Importance of Being Idle" is a song by the English rock band Oasis from their sixth studio album, Don't Believe the Truth (2005), written and sung by lead guitarist Noel Gallagher. It was released on 22 August 2005 in the UK as the album's second single. 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 a 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. As of 2019, it is also their most recent single release to be certified Silver in the UK. 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 his then-girlfriend and current wife, Sara MacDonald).


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.[2] 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.[2]

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 former albums, especially the straight ahead rock and roll anthems of Heathen Chemistry.[citation needed] The piano 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. The B-sides are Liam Gallagher's "Pass Me Down the Wine" and Gem Archer's "The Quiet Ones".

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] Q magazine readers placed the song at number one in a list of 2005's greatest tracks.

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 albums Stop the Clocks and Time Flies... 1994–2009.

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.[3]

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 second 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".[4]

Track listing[edit]

  • CD single / digital download
  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
  • UK 7" single
  1. "The Importance of Being Idle" (Noel Gallagher) - 3:43
  2. "Pass Me Down the Wine" (Liam Gallagher) - 3:51
  • UK DVD single
  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

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]



  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 715. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ a b "The Importance Of Being Idle by Oasis Songfacts".
  3. ^ [1] Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Oasis: The Importance of Being Idle (Video 2005)". IMDb. 22 August 2005.
  5. ^ " – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  6. ^ " – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle". Top Digital Download.
  7. ^ " – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  8. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  9. ^ " – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle". Singles Top 100.
  10. ^ " – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle". Swiss Singles Chart.
  11. ^ "Oasis: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  12. ^ "British single certifications – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type The Importance of Being Idle in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.