Damon Albarn
English singer-songwriter
Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn is an English singer-songwriter and record producer who has been involved in many high profile projects, coming to prominence as the frontman and primary songwriter of Britpop band Blur. Albarn's current role is lead vocalist and songwriter of Gorillaz, whose first two studio albums had sold more than 20 million copies combined by 2007.
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Gorillaz Debut New Anti-Trump Song 'Hallelujah Money' Before Inauguration
Huffington Post - about 1 month
On the eve of the Donald Trump inauguration, Gorillaz has returned from a six-year hiatus to deliver a single questioning the spread of power and corruption. In the accompanying music video for the song ― titled “Hallelujah Money” ― English musician Benjamin Clementine sings in front of various imagery including a lobby resembling Trump Tower’s and (a bit confusingly) a march by the La Candelaria brotherhood, a Spanish group that dresses in white robes similar to the Ku Klux Klan, but has no affiliation. Uproxx partnered with Gorillaz to premiere the song, revealing that the song’s intent is to highlight the “relationship between power, corruption and compassion in the wake of this undeniably historical moment.” “Hallelujah Money” is meant to appear on the band’s new album later this year. Fans of the group will notice that the animated figures that typically front the band are not featured in the video until a brief appearance by what appears to be the ch ...
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Huffington Post article
De La Soul announces that David Byrne and Damon Albarn will have cameos on new album
LATimes - 9 months
When the beloved golden-era hip-hop group De La Soul takes the stage at Long Beach's Music Tastes Good Festival on Sept. 23-25, they'll have a new album in tow. And after seeing the guest list on it, who knows who might be joining them. The band members had announced an Aug. 26 release date for...
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LATimes article
ArtsBeat: Arts Program Will Commemorate Battle of the Somme
NYTimes - about 1 year
Damon Albarn, the artist Yinka Shonibare and the composer David Lang are among those commissioned to create work for an eight-month-long arts program commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
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NYTimes article
Blur singer Albarn to reunite Syrian orchestra for WWI concert
Yahoo News - about 1 year
British singer Damon Albarn is to reunite the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, whose members have been forced to flee the country's civil war, as part of the World War I centenary celebrations. The orchestra, which previously played with Albarn at the Damascus Opera House in 2008 and who appeared on the song "White Flag" by his band Gorillaz, will play London's Royal Festival Hall on June 25 as part of the "14-18-NOW" art events to mark the 100-year milestone. Albarn, frontman of Blur, said he had "watched from a distance and felt utterly helpless, wondering about all of the lovely people I've got to know" as orchestra members fled Syria while it descended into civil war following the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
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Yahoo News article
Blur's Damon Albarn is the ultimate musical multitasker these days
LATimes - over 1 year
Damon Albarn is a busier man than he used to be. Back in the Britpop '90s, it was enough to just be singer for the band Blur, merging social commentary with hooks and vivid melodies while navigating a media-fueled rivalry with Oasis. Even then, he seemed to have other ideas. Blur remains a part...
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LATimes article
De La Soul funds new album via Kickstarter
USA Today - almost 2 years
Damon Albarn, David Byrne, 2 Chainz and Little Dragon will make guest appearances.           
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USA Today article
ArtsBeat: Gerhard Richter, Damon Albarn and Björk Among Highlights of Manchester International Festival
NYTimes - almost 2 years
Mr. Richter and the composer Arvo Pärt will exhibit work inspired by and dedicated to each other at the fifth festival.
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NYTimes article
Damon Albarn Gets Digitized in 'Everyday Robots'
Rolling Stone - about 3 years
On paper Damon Albarn is about to strike out on his own with the upcoming release of his debut solo LP Everyday Robots But as the Blur and Gorillaz frontman recently told Rolling Stone the album is still something of a collaboration thanks the efforts of producer (and XL Recordings head) Richard Russell Now...
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Rolling Stone article
Listen: Damon Albarn releases title track from 'Everyday Robots'
LATimes - about 3 years
Damon Albarn announced Monday that this spring he'll release a new studio album, one the wide-ranging British musician is calling his first solo record.
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LATimes article
Damon Albarn's return trip on the Africa Express
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
The Blur frontman joins Brian Eno and other global stars to show solidarity with musicians in troubled Mali It may be just about the hottest new pop-up club in the world, but you have to look hard for the glamour. There is no red carpet and the bar has run out of beer. The decor leaves a lot to be desired: a brightly painted wall, some plastic chairs and dozens of palm trees. Welcome to Bamako, the capital of Mali, not the most obvious choice for a star-studded club launch. Mali endured a wretched year in 2012, the northern half seized by a motley alliance of Islamists and Tuareg rebels, the president ousted in a coup and the country almost breaking in half before a French-backed government offensive turned the situation around. Northern Mali still dangles precariously between war and peace and Islamist rebels still make life uncomfortable for towns that until recently they occupied. But inside the Maison des Jeunes – a community space cum youth hostel near the banks of the River N ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Gorillaz' 'Whirlwind' Song Debuts From 'Plastic Beach' Sessions
The Huffington Post - over 3 years
An unreleased song from Gorillaz called "Whirlwind" has made its way online. The track, which was reportedly recorded as a part of the band's sessions for their 2010 album "Plastic Beach," is a quick one at just over 90 seconds. The song made its debut this weekend when band member Damon Albarn played the song as a guest DJ on BBC Radio 2. "Plastic Beach" was the Gorillaz's last album, with few hints from the band as to when they may reunite. Read More... More on Video
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The Huffington Post article
The secrets of songwriters
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
The day the Kinks overtook the Beatles, why the Clash wrote 'Rock the Casbah', when Johnny Marr first drove to Morrissey's house … Daniel Rachel has interviewed many of the nation's best songwriters. Here are some highlights Ray Davies, the Kinks Can you recall the sentiment behind writing "Lola"? It was about love, but not directly. The song was designed. I didn't show the words to the band. We just rehearsed it with the la-la la-la Lo-la chorus which came first. I had a one-year-old daughter at the time and she was singing along to it. But I was bothered by the arpeggio guitar at the beginning. I said, "It's got to be hit in the first three seconds." Later I went back in the studio and took the phrase at the end of the verse, C C C C D E, and replayed it at the beginning to grab people's attention. I had a new Martin acoustic guitar which I tracked three times all slightly out of time to give it character. And then I put a National guitar on top of it. What was the ambition at th ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Damon Albarn on ‘Monkey’ and His New Solo Album
Wall Street Journal - over 3 years
Damon Albarn discusses his latest project, "Monkey: Journey to the West," a contemporary reimagining of a 16th century Chinese fable, for which he composed an eclectic score. He will also release a new solo album soon.
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
Joyce Morgan: A Monkey With a Long Tale
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Acrobatics, music and animation feature in Monkey, Journey to the West. Photo: William Struhs. A flesh-eating skeleton, a seductive spider and a dragon king. These are among the mythical creatures Monkey encounters on a journey that has captivated for centuries. The tale of Monkey and his companions -- greedy Pigsy, skull-wearing Sandy and the monk Tripitaka -- has proved an adaptable fable. Monkey, Journey to the West is a classic of Chinese literature and has spawned many incarnations. It's been turned into manga, cartoons and a cult TV series - one former Blur frontman Damon Albarn grew up with. Albarn has turned it into an opera which opens at the Lincoln Center in July. In the opera -- designed by Albarn's Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett and directed by Chen Shi-Zhen -- Monkey eats heavenly peaches, is imprisoned by the Buddha and is chosen to accompany the pilgrim Tripitaka. But the tale of Monkey has its origins in a real figure whose impact is still fel ...
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Huffington Post article
Brian Holton Henderson: The Warhols Dandily Redeemed
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Until this weekend, when I saw the Dandy Warhols play at the Fillmore, I had a really hard time liking them. A few years back, I watched the documentary Dig!, directed by Ondi Timoner. It chronicles the growth and divergence of two alt-rock bands, the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. They came of age in the late 90s, as grunge began fade and the Indie scene started to form. Together they helped to create what is now called the neo-psychedelic genre, mixing elements of 1960s rock and roll with the growing electronica movement. Ostensibly, it is a comparison of the Dandys' decision to sign with a major record label and BJM's commitment to a music "revolution" free The Man's involvement. Though the film keeps the tension between artistic purity and commercial success a theme throughout, it is mostly a gratuitous, somewhat fictionalized account of BJM frontman Anton Newcombe's erratic, noxious behavior. The Dandys' lead singer Courtney Taylor-Tayl ...
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Huffington Post article
BRITS 2013: All The Winners As They're Announced
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Emeli Sande has taken the first gong of the night at the Brits 2013 ceremony taking place in London. She was presented with the award by a glamorous-looking Taylor Swift, who drew cheers and applause, not least from her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles, as she took to the stage. Emeli Sande has been nominated for three awards on what promises to be a big night for the singer, who's had a cracking year, including performing at the Olympics AND getting married. Here are all the Brits 2013 Winners as they're announced IN BOLD British Breakthrough Act Nominees: Top 5 selected by Voting Academy. Winner identified by public vote promoted by brits.co.uk and BBC Radio 1 • Alt-J (Infectious Music) • Ben Howard (Island / Universal Music) • Jake Bugg (Mercury / Universal Music) • Jessie Ware (Island / PMR / Universal Music) • Rita Ora (Columbia / Roc Nation / Sony Music) British Female Solo Artist Nominees: • Amy Winehouse (Island / Universal Music) • Bat for Lash ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Michael Giltz: Music: Grammys Preview -- The Fifty Best Albums Of 2012
Huffington Post - about 4 years
The Grammys are Sunday night on CBS and it looks to be one of the tightest races in many a moon for Album Of The Year and other top categories. My money is on Mumford & Sons because when it comes down to it, the Grammys love commercial success (especially when paired with critical acclaim) and though it's silly to say after just two albums, Mumford & Sons is overdue. To celebrate, here are my picks for the Best Albums of 2012. First I give the list and then an extended version with comments and links to videos so you can sample the music. Enjoy! And let me know what your favorites of the year are, especially if they're not on this list. We can argue over what should be ranked where, but the main point is to discover some great new music. I hope you'll find some here. THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2012 1. Rumer -- Seasons Of My Soul/Boys Don't Cry (70s pop perfection) 2. Branford Marsalis -- Four MF's Playin' Their Tunes (hard-driving jazz; faultless) 3. The Tallest Ma ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Damon Albarn
  • 2016
    In 2016, Albarn, a long-time advocate of the music of Northwestern African Country Mali, titling his 2002 album Mali Music, has been given the title “Local King", and has received a school of music and dance named after him.
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    In 2016, Albarn appeared on De La Soul's studio album and the Anonymous Nobody on the song "Here in After".
    More Details Hide Details Albarn had previously collaborated with the group on Gorillaz' albums Demon Days and Plastic Beach on the songs "Feel Good Inc." and "Superfast Jellyfish" respectively. "Closet Romantic" appeared on the soundtrack for Trainspotting alongside an early Blur recording, "Sing". Albarn composed the score with collaboration by Michael Nyman for the 1999 movie Ravenous, and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Music for his work. In their first major work together since Gorillaz, Albarn and Hewlett, along with acclaimed Chinese theatre and opera director Chen Shi-zheng, adapted for stage the Chinese story Journey to the West as Monkey: Journey to the West, which received its world premiere as the opening show of the 2007 Manchester International Festival, on 28 June 2007 at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. In collaboration with theatre director Rufus Norris, Albarn has created an opera for the 2011 Manchester International Festival based on the life of Elizabethan scientist John Dee and titled Doctor Dee.
    He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to music.
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  • 2015
    Albarn wrote the music for an upcoming musical based on Alice in Wonderland called Wonder.land with Rufus Norris and Moira Buffini, which is set to officially premiere in the Manchester International Festival on 29 June 2015.
    More Details Hide Details Albarn's live band is called The Heavy Seas, and features guitarist Seye, drummer Pauli the PSM, guitarist Jeff Wootton and Mike Smith on keyboards. Both Smith and Wootton had previously been a part of Gorillaz' Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour. Albarn starred in Antonia Bird's 1997 film Face alongside Ray Winstone and Robert Carlyle. Albarn was also featured in Gunar Karlsson's 2007 film, Anna and the Moods, along with Terry Jones and Björk. Albarn played "Bull" in Joe Orton's Up Against It, a Radio 4 play about the Beatles broadcast in 1998. In 2005 Albarn, among others, criticised the London Live 8 concert for not featuring enough black artists; among the few included were Ms. Dynamite, Snoop Dogg, and Youssou N'Dour. Eventually the organisers added a separate concert at the Eden Project in Cornwall to the programme in order to showcase African musicians. Albarn said he did not want to perform at Live 8 because he thought it was too "exclusive" and may have been motivated by self-promotion.
  • 2014
    Albarn's debut solo studio album Everyday Robots—co-produced by XL Recordings CEO Richard Russell—was released on 28 April 2014 and featured collaborations with Brian Eno, Natasha Khan and the Leytonstone City Pentecostal Mission Church Choir as well as sampling several rants by Lord Buckley.
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    On 18 January 2014, the Warner Music Store was updated to include Albarn's solo album, Everyday Robots, set for a release date of 28 April 2014.
    More Details Hide Details Everyday Robots was released on 25 April 2014 to generally positive reviews. The album peaked at No. 2 on the UK charts. The album has produced five singles: "Everyday Robots", "Lonely Press Play", "Hollow Ponds", US-only release "Mr Tembo", and "Heavy Seas of Love". It was nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize for Best Album. Albarn released Mali Music in 2002, recorded in Mali, during a trip he made to support Oxfam in 2000. He has visited Nigeria to record music with African drummer Tony Allen. Collaborating with producers Dan the Automator, XL Recordings, Richard Russell & Rodaidh McDonald, Jneiro Jarel, DJ Darren Cunningham aka Actress, Marc Antoine, Alwest, Remi Kabaka Jr., Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Kwes, Damon Albarn went to Kinshasa for one week to record an album called Kinshasa One Two. The Congolese band Tout Puissant Mukalo joined them as well. All proceeds will benefit Oxfam's work in the DRC. The album was released by Warp Records.
  • 2013
    Albarn appeared with Womack at the Glastonbury Festival 2013.
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    Maison Des Jeunes, an album for Albarn's project Africa Express, was released in 2013.
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    On 11 December 2013, Albarn released a 21-second teaser trailer of his upcoming solo album on his official YouTube channel, which he had also shared on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
    More Details Hide Details This trailer featured a preview of a song for the solo album and revealed that the album is set for release during 2014. While hosting BBC Radio 2 alongside Paul Simonon and Idris Elba, Albarn mentioned that the Leytonstone City Mission Choir and Brian Eno will be guest collaborators for his solo album. In an interview with Bat for Lashes, Natasha Khan revealed that she is also be going to be a collaborator for Albarn's upcoming solo album.
    On 3 December 2013, Damon performed various songs for his upcoming solo album in a private gig at Fox Studios in Los Angeles.
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    In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Albarn announced that the solo record would be produced by Richard Russell of XL Recordings.
    More Details Hide Details He also said he would be taking his album on tour, and that he would play songs from all of his other bands, including Blur and Gorillaz.
  • 2012
    Their debut album was released on 26 March 2012.
    More Details Hide Details In 1998, Albarn and Michael Nyman recorded the song "London Pride" for the tribute album, Twentieth-Century Blues: The Songs of Noël Coward, a patriotic song Noël Coward had written in the spring of 1941 during the Blitz.
    That August, Blur headlined a show at Hyde Park for the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony which was followed by a world tour the very next year.
    More Details Hide Details On 19 February 2015 Blur announced on social media that they would be releasing their eighth studio album on 27 April, titled The Magic Whip, Blur's first album in 12 years and first in 16 years in their original lineup.
  • 2011
    During September 2011, Albarn had confirmed he was working on solo studio album to be released under his own name, the concept of which is supposed to revolve around "empty club music".
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  • 2010
    More recently, on Massive Attack's 2010 Heligoland album, he sang on the track "Saturday Come Slow" and contributed keyboards to the track "Splitting the Atom".
    More Details Hide Details Albarn also produced soul singer Bobby Womack's twenty-seventh studio album The Bravest Man in the Universe, released in 2012. He recently performed on Jools Holland's Hootenanny on New Year's Eve, performing track "Love is Gonna Lift You Up".
  • 2007
    A second single, "Kingdom of Doom", and the band's debut album were then released in January 2007.
    More Details Hide Details That single fared slightly better than "Herculean", peaking at No. 20, while the album peaked at No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart and went gold during its first week of release in the UK. "Green Fields" was released as the third single from the album in April 2007, just missing out on the Top 50. On 27 April 2008, The Good, the Bad & the Queen headlined the Love Music Hate Racism Carnival in Victoria Park where they introduced on stage several guests including ex-Specials keyboard player Jerry Dammers. He also worked with Syrian rapper and friend Eslam Jawaad on the song "Mr. Whippy", though the song does not appear on the album it is a B-Side on the Herculean single. Rocket Juice & the Moon is the title of Albarn's new side-project featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and afrobeat legend Tony Allen. Albarn has stated that he is not responsible for the name; someone in Lagos did the sleeve design and that's the name it was given. Albarn has claimed that he's content with the outcome, as trying to come up with band names is difficult for him. The band performed together for the first time on 28 October 2011 in Cork, Ireland, as part of the annual Cork Jazz Festival. They performed under the moniker Another Honest Jon's Chop Up! A full tour is not expected any time soon due to conflicting schedules, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' tour continuing until 2013.
  • 2006
    Demon Days went five times platinum in the UK, double platinum in the United States and earned five Grammy Award nominations for 2006 and won one of them in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.
    More Details Hide Details In November 2005, they staged the first-ever live performances of Demon Days Live involving many of the artists who had played on the successful Demon Days album, as a launch event for the festival. Gorillaz released two B-sides compilations and a remix album. The combined sales of Gorillaz and Demon Days had, by 2007, exceeded 15 million albums. Gorillaz released their third studio album, Plastic Beach, in early 2010, which was received with high praise. In December 2010, the group released an album called The Fall which was recorded over 32 days during their North American tour. The band also appeared on the Snoop Dogg track: "Sumthing' Like this Night" on his album Doggumentary. In November 2011, the band announced that, on 23 February 2012, Gorillaz would release a new line of Converse sneakers designed by Jamie Hewlett. The selection of footwear is carried at Journeys stores in the US and Schuh stores in the UK. Gorillaz will release a new one off single to accompany with the release of these shoes as a part of Converse's "Three Artists, One Song" campaign.
  • 2003
    Albarn has contributed backing vocals to the songs "FM" on Nathan Haines' Squire for Hire and "Small Time Shot Away" on Massive Attack's 100th Window, which were released in 2003, however, for both tracks, credit was given to Gorillaz frontman 2D instead.
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    In 2003, Albarn released an EP called Democrazy, which was a compilation of demos he recorded in various hotel rooms during the United States portion of Think Tanks tour.
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  • 2002
    Albarn is anti-war, holding views shared by others in his family, including his grandfather Edward Albarn, who died on hunger strike in 2002.
    More Details Hide Details After the September 11 attacks, a series of controversial military campaigns were launched, known as the War on Terror. In November 2001, shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, the MTV Europe Music Awards were held in Frankfurt, where Gorillaz won awards for Best Song and Best Dance. As Albarn and Jamie Hewlett walked onto stage to make a speech after receiving the latter award, Albarn wore a T-shirt with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament logo on it. In his speech, he said "So, fuck the music. Listen. See this symbol here, to the t shirt this the symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Bombing one of the poorest countries in the world is wrong. You've got a voice and you have got to do what you can about it alright?" box Personally I think it's a waste of time, but I think more importantly, that it's an issue that we haven't had any say in. That's why I feel so strongly about it. I don't feel like we've really been given any choice in this matter.
    Damon's paternal grandfather Edward, an architect, had been a conscientious objector during the Second World War and was involved in a farming community in Lincolnshire, becoming a peace activist. In 2002 Edward Albarn died; Damon stated in an interview that Edward did not want to live any longer and decided to go on a hunger strike.
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  • 2001
    In 2001, the band's eponymous debut album sold over seven million copies, and featured hits such as the songs "19-2000" and "Clint Eastwood," earning them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band.
    More Details Hide Details It was nominated for the Mercury Prize 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band's request. Their second studio album, Demon Days, was released in 2005 and included the singles "Feel Good Inc. ", "Dare", "Dirty Harry" and "Kids with Guns"/"El Mañana".
    Drawing influences from alternative rock, trip hop, hip hop, electronica, dub, reggae and pop music, the band released their self-titled debut album in 2001; it was hugely successful worldwide.
    More Details Hide Details Although Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor, the albums feature many collaborations from a wide range of artists. Gorillaz are cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "Most Successful Virtual Band". Other projects include working with African musicians in aid of the charity Oxfam, writing and performing lead vocals on The Good, the Bad & the Queen as part of an unnamed supergroup featuring Tony Allen, Paul Simonon and Simon Tong and composing film soundtracks. He has also ventured into the world of opera with Dr Dee and Monkey: Journey to the West. He is also a Chelsea F.C. fan and frequently attends their games at Stamford Bridge.
  • 2000
    In October 2000, the group released the best-of album Blur: The Best of, which debuted at number three in the UK and a Platinum certification of 300,000 copies.
    More Details Hide Details Dismissed by the band as "the first record we have seen as product", the track listing and release dates of Blur: The Best of were determined on the basis of market research and focus groups conducted by Blur's record label, EMI. Recording for Blur's next album began in London in November 2001. Not long after the sessions began, Coxon left the group. Coxon stated "there were no rows" and "band just recognised the feeling that we needed some time apart". Think Tank, released in May 2003, was filled with atmospheric, brooding electronic sounds, featuring simpler guitar lines played by Albarn, and largely relying on other instruments to replace Coxon. The guitarist's absence also meant that Think Tank was almost entirely written by Albarn. Its sound was seen as a testament to Albarn's increasing interest in African and Middle Eastern music, and to his complete control over the group's creative direction. Think Tank was another UK No. 1 and managed Blur's highest US position of No. 56. The album was also nominated for best album at the 2004 Brit Awards.
  • 1998
    This relationship profoundly influenced his songwriting, notably on the Blur album (1997) on the track "Beetlebum" – said to be about their experiences with heroin – and a number of tracks on 13 (1999), such as "Tender" and "No Distance Left to Run", said to be about their break-up in 1998. On 2 October 1999 artist Suzi Winstanley gave birth to their daughter, named after hip hop artist Missy Elliott.
    More Details Hide Details Albarn described becoming a father as "witnessing a life force" and saying that "it massively changes you. It slowly sort of shaves off the unpleasant thorny bits and hopefully creates a nicely rounded... I don't know, having a kid, you just become far more, inevitably you look to the future far more and, you know, it's desperate sometimes when you have a particularly bad few weeks of the newspaper just reminding you about this is wrong, this is wrong. We've got ten more years everyone." Albarn has been an active supporter of various charities and philanthropic efforts throughout his career as a musician and has been involved in various charity albums and singles. DRC Music, a collective formed by Albarn, released their debut album Kinshasa One Two as a charity album in which all of the money earned is given to Oxfam. Albarn has also formed a collective with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos to make a charity single with the money earned from that single also donated to Oxfam. In 2013, Albarn alongside fellow Blur bandmate Graham Coxon performed live with former rival Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Paul Weller of The Jam to play Blur's 1999 single 'Tender' in support of Teenage Cancer Trust.
  • 1997
    Nonetheless, Albarn and Hewlett started sharing a flat on Westbourne Grove in London in 1997.
    More Details Hide Details Hewlett had recently broken up with Olliver and Albarn was also at the end of his highly publicised relationship with Justine Frischmann of Elastica. The idea to create Gorillaz came about when the two were watching MTV: "If you watch MTV for too long, it's a bit like hell—there's nothing of substance there. So we got this idea for a cartoon band, something that would be a comment on that," Hewlett has said. The band's music is a collaboration between various musicians, Albarn being the only permanent musical contributor. Their style is broadly alternative rock, but with a large number of other influences including Britpop, dub, hip-hop, and pop music.
  • 1991
    Raised in Leytonstone, East London and around Colchester, Essex, Albarn attended the Stanway School, where he met Graham Coxon and eventually formed Blur, whose debut album Leisure was released in 1991 to mixed reviews.
    More Details Hide Details After spending long periods of time touring the United States, Albarn's songwriting became increasingly influenced by British bands from the 1960s. The result of these influences came in the form of Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). All three albums received widespread critical acclaim while Blur gained mass popularity in the UK, aided by a rivalry shared with Oasis. Subsequent albums such as Blur (1997), 13 (1999), Think Tank (2003) and The Magic Whip (2015) contained influences from lo-fi, electronic and hip hop music. Albarn was voted the fourth-greatest frontman of all time in a 2010 UK poll for Q music magazine. Along with Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, Albarn formed the "virtual band" Gorillaz in 1998.
  • 1990
    Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett first met in 1990 when Graham Coxon, a fan of Hewlett's work, asked him to interview Blur.
    More Details Hide Details The interview was published in Deadline magazine, home of Hewlett's comic strip, Tank Girl. Hewlett initially thought Albarn was "arsey, a wanker" and despite becoming one of the band's acquaintances, he often didn't get on with its members, especially after he started going out with Coxon's ex-girlfriend, Jane Olliver.
  • 1988
    Albarn enrolled on a part-time music course at London's Goldsmiths College in 1988, claiming that his sole intention was to gain access to the student union bar.
    More Details Hide Details Albarn was in a group named Circus alongside Coxon and drummer Dave Rowntree. Alex James, a fellow student at Goldsmiths, eventually joined as the group's bassist. They changed their name to Seymour in December 1988, inspired by J.D. Salinger's Seymour: An Introduction. Seymour attracted the interest of Food Records whose only concern was that they disliked the band's name. Food drew up a list of alternatives, from which the band decided on "Blur". Food Records finally signed the newly christened band in March 1990. In October 1990 Blur released their first single, "She's So High", which reached number 48 in the UK Singles Chart. The band had trouble creating a follow-up single, but they made progress when paired with producer Stephen Street. The resulting single release, "There's No Other Way", became a hit, peaking at number eight. As a result of the single's success, Blur became pop stars and were accepted into a clique of bands who frequented The Syndrome club in London dubbed "The Scene That Celebrates Itself". NME magazine wrote in 1991 that "Blur are the acceptable pretty face of a whole clump of bands that have emerged since the whole Manchester thing started to run out of steam."
  • 1968
    In 1968, at the age of 6 months, Damon Albarn was a "testing expert" for designs for educational aids and toys for children including fiberglass furniture and play-structures fancifully called "The Kissmequiosk". "The Apollo Cumfycraft" and "The Tailendcharlie" produced by his father's company "Keith Albarn & Partners Ltd" under the trade-name of "Playlearn, Ltd."
    More Details Hide Details When Damon and Jessica were growing up, their family moved to Leytonstone, East London. The household was described as "bohemian" and their upbringing as "liberal". Albarn agreed with his parents' views, later claiming, "I always thought my parents were absolutely dead right. I went against the grain in a weird way – by continually following them." His parents primarily listened to blues, Indian ragas and African music. When Albarn was nine years old, his family took a holiday trip to Turkey for three months before settling in Aldham, Essex, an area described by Albarn as "one of those burgeoning Thatcher experiments where they were building loads of small estates". The population of the area was predominantly white as opposed to the ethnically mixed part of London which he had become used to. He described himself as "not really fitting in with the politics of the place."
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