10 things you didn’t know about Blur's Parklife album

28 April 2019, 11:30 | Updated: 28 April 2019, 11:31

Blur at an east London cafe, 1992: Alex James, Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon.
Blur at an east London cafe, 1992: Alex James, Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon. Picture: David Tonge/Getty Images

As their most famous LP celebrates its 25th anniversary, Radio X takes a look into the world of Albarn, Coxon, Rowntree and James. Oi!

  1. The greyhounds on the cover are racing in Essex

    The front cover of greyhound racing was taken on 2 November 1988 at Romford Stadium, Essex, by sports photographer Bob Thomas. “He couldn’t believe we wanted it for a record cover,” recalled designer Rob O’Connor. “I’m sure if he’d thought about it he’d have asked for a bit more money.” Damon Albarn had been inspired to re-create a betting shop window after wandering past a William Hill’s bookmakers.

    Blur - Parklife album cover
    Blur - Parklife album cover. Picture: Press
  2. The video for the Parklife single is shot in River Way, Greenwich

  3. The photos of Blur at the dogs were taken at Walthamstow Stadium

    The band had a launch party for the Parklife album on 15 April 1994. Walthamstow dog track was closed in 2008 and sold to property developers.

    Blur at Walthamstow Stadium, 15 April 1194: Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn, Alex James And Graham Coxon
    Blur at Walthamstow Stadium, 15 April 1194: Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn, Alex James And Graham Coxon. Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images
  4. Phil Daniels saved the song Parklife with his guest appearance

    The Quadrophenia actor was enlisted to appear on The Debt Collector, but Daniels recalls that Albarn was having problems nailing the vocal. He recalled in his autobiography, Class Actor: “I just imagined flowers and parks, and not having too much to do. You never knew exactly what the song was about, and I still don’t - which is part of the magic of it. What I do know is that as soon as it began to get played on the radio, dustmen started apologising for waking me up in the morning.”

    Blur singer Damon Albarn backstage with actor Phil Daniels in 1994.
    Blur singer Damon Albarn backstage with actor Phil Daniels in 1994. Picture: Patrick Ford/Redferns/Getty Images
  5. The French vocals on To The End are sung by Lætitia Sadier

    At the time, Sadier was a member of the London-based electronic pop band Stereolab, who released their third LP Mars Audiac Quintet in August 1994.

  6. The saxophone on the title track is played by Graham Coxon

    In the only time he performed with the instrument on a Blur record, he’s actually playing a snatch of the German national anthem as Phil Daniels says “It's got nothing to do with your Vorsprung durch Technik, you know.”

    Blur group shot at a photo studio in Tokyo, November 1994.
    Blur group shot at a photo studio in Tokyo, November 1994. Picture: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images
  7. The album’s loose theme was inspired by the 1989 novel London Fields by Martin Amis.

    The story tells the tale of American Samson Young, an author who has had writer’s block for 20 years. One line goes: “And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.”

    Martin Amis pictured at home in 1987
    Martin Amis pictured at home in 1987. Picture: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images
  8. One line in Girls And Boys is in German: “Du bist sehr schön"

    It means “You are very pretty.”

  9. The original title of the album was originally going to be “London”

    This title was given to the band by Food Records boss Dave Balfe, which they recall as being one of the last creative decisions he made for Blur before he sold the label. The band subsequently wrote the song Country House about him.

  10. Alex James sings the vocal to Far Out