How Blur escaped Britpop with Song 2

7 April 2024, 12:00

Song 2 was released on 7th April 1997
Song 2 was released on 7th April 1997. Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images
Radio X

By Radio X

The Blur classic was released as a single on 7th April 1997. Here's the story of how the band made their way beyond Britpop.

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Blur's Song 2 was released on Monday, 7th April 1997.

The Britpop band's electrifying banger stands out for so many reasons. It's one of Blur's most famous tracks, but also one of their shortest. You'd also be forgiven for thinking this doesn't sound like many other songs from Damon Albarn and co.

The track started out as a joke on their record company, with Blur thinking it was "too extreme" compared to their sound to get the green light. The track was a reaction to the Britpop era, which the band had taken as far as they could with the album The Great Escape. In fact, Song 2 reflects Graham Coxon's tastes in alternative guitar rock, particularly the US band Pavement.

The 1997 single, which is often known as 'the "whoo hoo" song' doesn't have the words Song 2 in its lyrics, so why is it called Song 2? Find out the answer to this and much more below.

Why is Blur's Song 2 called Song 2?

The answer's a pretty simple one folks. Song 2 began as a working title or nickname for the track, as it was set to the second song on the tracklist for their eponymous fifth studio album.

Get more facts about the song here.

  1. Song 2 was the second track on the eponymously-titled fifth album from Blur, released on 10 February 1997.

    Blur - Song 2

  2. It was released as a single two months later, on 7 April 1997.

  3. Pleasingly, Song 2 lasts for exactly 2 minutes and 2 seconds.

  4. The B-side to Song 2 was Get Out Of Cities.

    Blur launch their self-titled album in February 1997
    Blur launch their self-titled album in February 1997. Picture: Fred Duval/FilmMagic/Getty Images
  5. The extra tracks on the CD singles were Polished Stone, Bustin’ + Dronin’ and an acoustic version of Country Sad Ballad Man.

  6. Song 2 reached Number 2 in the UK singles chart.

    Blur - Song 2 single cover
    Blur - Song 2 single cover. Picture: Press/EMI
  7. It also made Number 2 in Australian radio station Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 1997, where it was kept off the top by an Aussie band called The Whitlams.

  8. Song 2 was first performed live on 15 June 1996 at the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden.

    It was introduced by Damon saying: “I don’t know what it’s called, I don’t even know what it’s about, ‘cos I haven’t really written it yet. At the moment it’s called Song Number 2.” The lyrics were pure gibberish!

    Blur - Song 2 (first ever preformance)

  9. Song 2 was initially just a working title.

    But when as the track became the second song on the band’s eponymous fifth album, the name became the official title.

  10. Alex James later admitted that he was hungover when he recorded the track.

    Damon Albarn performing with Blur in January 1997.
    Damon Albarn performing with Blur in January 1997. Picture: Alamy
  11. Damon recorded the guide vocal with nonsense lyrics.

    But producer Stephen Street considered the stream of consciousness to be perfect as it was, so it was included on the final take.

  12. The classic video was directed by Sophie Muller.

    She also did the business for The Stone Roses’ Ten Storey Love Song, Mr Brightside by The Killers and Use Somebody by Kings Of Leon.

    The Killers - Mr. Brightside (Official Music Video)

  13. The clip was nominated for Best British Video AND Best British Single at the 1998 BRIT Awards.

    It lost in both cases to Never Ever by All Saints! Here's popular radio celebrity from the 90s Alan Partridge announcing the winner.

    All Saints win British Video presented by Alan Partridge | BRIT Awards 1998

  14. Song 2 was Blur’s biggest hit single in the US, making Number 55 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997.

  15. The track appears on the game FIFA: Road To World Cup ’98.

  16. The song was used in the TV trailer for Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi satire Starship Troopers.

    Starship Troopers trailer with "Song 2"

  17. Song 2 could be heard during the London New Year’s Eve fireworks display in 2011.

    ...alongside London Calling by The Clash and We Will Rock You by Queen.

  18. As well as that, Song 2 can be heard in the Simpsons episode Sunday Cruddy Sunday.

    Simpsons Super Bowl Running Song 2

  19. Dave Rowntree told us once: “If we didn’t play Song 2 we’d never get invited to a festival again”

  20. This ticket barrier sounds like it’s singing Song 2. A bit.

    Ticket Barrier Sings Blur's Song 2 #WooHoo - Original Clip

READ MORE: Nandi Bushell covers Blur's Song 2 in tribute to Britpop

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