The Oasis photographer shares behind-the-scenes footage from the band’s Be Here Now cover shoot

The Oasis photographer shares behind-the-scenes footage from the band’s Be Here Now cover shoot

It was the album that arguably pulled the curtain on Brit Pop, that short-lived moment when clinking, up-and-coming indie music dominated the airwaves across Britain.

But for those of us with elephant-like memories, it’s also been 25 long years – or, somewhat depressingly, a quarter of a century – since Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now.

On August 21, 1997, well before the advent of streaming services and digital downloads, fans flocked to local record stores to purchase a copy of the album, already wowed by its distinctive cover artwork – a tribute to the late great Keith Moon.

Here we go: Oasis star Liam Gallagher poses for a photo in behind-the-scenes snaps taken from the set of their now infamous Be Here Now cover shoot at Stocks House in Tring, Hertfordshire

Inspired by a legendary story about the late Who drummer driving his Rolls Royce into a swimming pool, photographer Michael Spencer Jones was commissioned to shoot the cover in the expansive grounds of Stocks House in leafy Hertfordshire.

The focal point would of course be the car, an obligatory Rolls submerged under the water of its outdoor pool – a symbol of the band’s status as one of the biggest bands in the world.

But he would be unaware of the chaos that would ensue when he set foot on the 182-acre Georgian estate on March 16.

Spencer Jones shared behind-the-scenes footage of what he likes to call a “messy” shoot and admitted a combination of word of mouth and binge drinking made it a nightmare.

Centrepiece: The focus of the shoot was an obligatory Rolls Royce sunken in the water of its outdoor pool - a symbol of the band's status as one of the biggest bands in the world

Centrepiece: The focus of the shoot was an obligatory Rolls Royce sunken in the water of its outdoor pool – a symbol of the band’s status as one of the biggest bands in the world

Graft: A crane and submerged platform were used to bring the luxury car into the pool at the sprawling Georgian estate

Graft: A crane and submerged platform were used to bring the luxury car into the pool at the sprawling Georgian estate

Slightly left: Members of the production team watched as the vehicle was gently driven to the pool before filming

Slightly left: Members of the production team watched as the vehicle was gently driven to the pool before filming

“Whether or not Keith Moon drove a Rolls Royce, a Lincoln Continental, a Chrysler Wimbledon, or any other car at all into a swimming pool, and whether or not the pool was filled with water at the time, doesn’t matter,” says Spencer Jones recalled.

“The point is that in every scenario it was a lavish statement of rock ‘n’ roll excess and therefore made a great basis for an album cover.”

But the shoot soon went awry when word of the riotous band’s presence in the normally sleepy English village spread, prompting rabid fans to gather outside Stocks House – the former home of Victor Lowness, executive director of Playboy magazine .

Spencer Jones recalls, “Word of Oasis came out and what should have been a closed and private shoot became a public one. As darkness fell, chaos spread and more and more people entered the set, including hotel guests, hotel employees, people from the village, the press, firefighters, police officers, etc.

Don't mind me: Liam enjoys a pint between takes on photographer Michael Spencer Jones' set for the cover shoot of Be Here Now in Hertfordshire

Don’t mind me: Liam enjoys a pint between takes on photographer Michael Spencer Jones’ set for the cover shoot of Be Here Now in Hertfordshire

Safety first: The pool was surrounded by fences before the shoot, which Michael Spencer Jones admits it quickly descended into chaos

Safety first: The pool was surrounded by fences before the shoot, which Michael Spencer Jones admits it quickly descended into chaos

Banter: Liam and Noel let their hair down next to the red moped that would later be immortalized on the album cover

Banter: Liam and Noel let their hair down next to the red moped that would later be immortalized on the album cover

Let's talk: Liam chats on a brick-like cell phone as he waits to be called for another shoot on the Hertfordshire set

Let’s talk: Liam chats on a brick-like cell phone as he waits to be called for another shoot on the Hertfordshire set

Hard work: A crane lifts the white Rolls Royce before setting it down in Stocks House's outdoor pool

Hard work: A crane lifts the white Rolls Royce before setting it down in Stocks House’s outdoor pool

“At one point I found it difficult to get close to the camera; It was also at this point that many people, including the band, began to feel the effects of the alcohol they had been drinking during the day.

He added: “While this was all happening, the old gramophone that can be seen to the right of the recording was playing an old 78rpm record that Liam had brought with him, which dates from the 1930s.”

Originally, the cover was supposed to be a night shot, but at night the shoot had thrown into chaos.

“The cover of Be Here Now was originally intended to be a night shot. So taking photos during the day was a backup plan. It was a very long shoot. The day’s session went well, but by the evening it was all utter chaos.

“It’s great to revisit some of the footage, especially the nighttime version that I restored for the 25th anniversary.”

Go, go, away: The car slowly sinks below the surface where it was standing on a specially installed platform

Go, go, away: The car slowly sinks below the surface where it was standing on a specially installed platform

Cigarettes and alcohol: Liam likes to smoke on set.  Spencer Jones admits the band soon found themselves drunk after drinking all day at the Georgian estate Cigarettes and alcohol: Liam likes to smoke on set.  Spencer Jones admits the band soon found themselves drunk after drinking all day at the Georgian estate

Cigarettes and alcohol: Liam likes to smoke on set. Spencer Jones admits the band soon found themselves drunk after drinking all day at the Georgian estate

Nightmare: Filming soon went awry as news of the riot band's presence spread to the normally sleepy English village, prompting rabid fans to gather outside Stocks House

Nightmare: Filming soon went awry as news of the riot band’s presence spread to the normally sleepy English village, prompting rabid fans to gather outside Stocks House

Memories:

Memories: “The day’s session went well, but by the evening it was absolute chaos,” Spencer Jones recalled

A deluxe edition of Be Here Now was released on August 19 in honor of the album’s 25th anniversary, including a silver double heavyweight LP, a double picture disc and a cassette.

The 12-track album, which includes the hit single D’You Know What I Mean? received widespread acclaim upon its original release, selling more than a million copies that year and topping the charts in 15 different countries.

The full collection of behind-the-scenes portraits is available at www.spellboundgalleries.com.

Before: The cover was originally supposed to be a night shot, but by night the shoot had thrown into chaos

Before: The cover was originally supposed to be a night shot, but by night the shoot had thrown into chaos

There it is: Be Here Now, which features the hit single D'You Know What I Mean?  received widespread acclaim upon its initial release, selling more than a million copies that year and topping the charts in 15 different countries

There it is: Be Here Now, which features the hit single D’You Know What I Mean? received widespread acclaim upon its initial release, selling more than a million copies that year and topping the charts in 15 different countries