Damon Albarn's 12 best songs: from Blur to Gorillaz and beyond

23 March 2024, 18:00

Damon Albarn in 2014
Damon Albarn in 2014. Picture: Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

The Blur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind celebrates his birthday on 23rd March. Let’s look back at some of his classic compositions.

Radio X

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  1. Blur - There's No Other Way (1991)

    Look at the bowl cut! When Blur were being pitched as a baggy band, they made this surreal video for their first big hit, There’s No Other Way. It makes us REALLY fancy a roast dinner right now.

    Blur - There's No Other Way

  2. Blur - Popscene (1992)

    After the lukewarm critical response to their debut album Leisure, the lads kind of lost their way for a bit before pretty much inventing Britpop. This one-off single was from their short-lived “grunge/shoegaze” period.

    Blur - Popscene

  3. Blur - Parklife (1994)

    We couldn’t leave this one out. Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels attempts to sell double-glazing to the Great Unwashed with young Damon as his apprentice. A satire on 90s Britain? Who cares?

    Blur - Parklife

  4. Blur - Country House (1995)

    The Blurs went head-to-head with Oasis with this whimsical ditty that was meant to be about Food Records boss Dave Balfe. Silly fun.

    Blur - Country House

  5. Blur - Song 2 (1997)

    Woo hoo! The great reinvention of Blur in the late 90s. Coxon discovered his love for Pavement and Damon learnt how to mosh.

    Blur - Song 2

  6. Blur - Tender (1999)

    One of the gloomiest songs ever - and yet one of the most uplifting. From the album 13.

    Blur - Tender

  7. Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood (2001)

    The last thing we expected from Damon Albarn was a collaboration with Tank Girl artist Jamie Hewlett, and yet that is what we got. And it was good.

    Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood (Official Video)

  8. Gorillaz - Dirty Harry (2005)

    One of the cartoon band’s biggest and best grooves: it’s got dub reggae stylings, a rap and a choir of kids while Damon sings. Cheers.

    Gorillaz - Dirty Harry (Official Video)

  9. The Good The Bad And The Queen - Kingdom Of Doom (2007)

    Another major collaboration for Albarn - he teamed up with former Clash man Paul Simonon, The Verve’s Simon Tong and the whole thing was produced by Danger Mouse. Intriguing stuff.

    The Good, The Bad and The Queen - Kingdom Of Doom [Official Music Video]

  10. Gorillaz - Stylo (2010)

    From the underrated album Plastic Beach, this tune features none other than Bobby Womack on the soundtrack and Bruce Willis in the video. Damon Albarn is a popular man.

    Gorillaz - Stylo (Official Video)

  11. Damon Albarn - Heavy Seas Of Love (2014)

    It took Damon until 2004 before he was prepared to release an album as himself. This is its most soulful moment.

    Damon Albarn - Heavy Seas Of Love (Official Video)

  12. Gorillaz - We Got The Power (2017)

    The virtual band cranked up back into action with an optimistic album of eclectic tunes. The closing number features Jehnny Beth of London scenesters Savages.

    Gorillaz - We Got The Power (Official Audio)