31st May – The Number One Album in the UK – 2005 (Gorillaz – Demon Days)

Gorillaz_Demon_Days

The Number One Album in the UK on the 31st May 2005 was Demon Days from Gorillaz.

This British visual & musical project created by Damon Albarn (Blur) and Jamie Hewlett a comic book artist and designer known for being the co-creator of the comic Tank Girl.

Their 2001 debut album Gorillaz sold over seven million copies worldwide.

Demon Days was recorded between January – December 2004 at Studio 13 in London with production coming from Gorillaz, Jason Cox, James Dring and Danger Mouse.

Danger Mouse – Brian Burton – an American musician, producer and songwriter who formed Gnarls Barkley with Cee Lo Green; and produced Modern Guilt from Beck & Attack & Release from The Black Keys.

“‘Demon Days’ may end 2005 as one of the year’s most celebrated albums.

Before you even consider the sonic and melodic innovation paraded through the album there’s so much crammed into each of these fifteen songs (without any one of them sounding overproduced or cluttered) that repeated listening is a must.

With ‘Demon Days’, repeated listening is like throwing a dolphin a fire escape – entertaining the first time, impossible to predict the outcome on each subsequent attempt. There’s always something new to enjoy.

Instrumental in this album’s charm is Dangermouse’s production, which propels the album far beyond the limits of its predecessor; the standard Gorillaz sonic motifs (light-headed dub, left-of-centre electronic flourishes, caricatured wailing from another planet and the irresistible thud of a thousand bass bins) remain, but there’s a seemingly unselfconscious desire from all parties to innovate within the realms of the modern pop song. They succeed at every turn, and the inevitable rolecall of guest stars keep it moving. With the exception of the London Community Gospel Choir, who’d arguably turn up to the recording of an envelope being opened, this is an unexpected and imaginatively-plucked succession of cameos, taking in De La Soul, Martina Topley-Bird, Neneh Cherry (on the droopily spectacular ‘Kids With Guns’), Roots Manuva (on ‘All Alone’, the most ‘Gorillaz’-sounding track on the album), Ike ‘nice guy’ Turner, Dennis Hopper… Even the score from ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ pops in to say a spooky hello at the album’s outset” – 8/10 – Peter Robinson, NME, September 2005

Demon Days was a huge success internationally building on the success of their debut album.

The combined sales of the Gorillaz and Demon Days albums have exceeded 15 million copies.

Track listing:

No. Title Length
1. Intro (sampled from the original score of the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead) 1:03
2. Last Living Souls 3:10
3. Kids with Guns (featuring Neneh Cherry) 3:45
4. O Green World 4:31
5. Dirty Harry (featuring Bootie Brown and San Fernandez Youth Chorus) 3:43
6.  Feel Good Inc. (featuring De La Soul) 3:41
7. El Mañana 3:50
8. Every Planet We Reach is Dead (featuring Ike Turner) 4:53
9. November Has Come (featuring MF Doom) 2:41
10. All Alone (featuring Roots Manuva and Martina Topley-Bird) 3:30
11. White Light 2:08
12.  DARE (featuring Shaun Ryder) 4:04
13. Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head (featuring Dennis Hopper) 3:16
14. “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir 2:00
15. “Demon Days” (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir) 4:28
Total length: 51:40

Personnel

Virtual personnel

2D – vocals, keyboards, piano

Murdoc Niccals – bass guitar

Russel Hobbs – drums, percussion

Noodle – vocals, guitars, keyboards

Non-virtual personnel

Damon Albarn – lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar, synthesizers, melodica

Bootie Brown – vocals on “Dirty Harry”

San Fernandez Youth Chorus – vocals on “Dirty Harry”

Neneh Cherry – vocals on “Kids with Guns”

Roots Manuva – vocals on “All Alone”

Martina Topley-Bird – vocals on “All Alone”

MF Doom – vocals on “November Has Come”

Shaun Ryder – vocals on “DARE”

Dennis Hopper – vocals on “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head”

London Community Gospel Choir – vocals on “Demon Days” & “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven”

Rosie Wilson – backing vocals on “DARE”

Simon Tong – guitar

Ike Turner – piano

Morgan Nicholls – bass guitar

Cass Browne – drums

Amanda Drummond – viola

Isabelle Dunn – cello

Sally Jackson – violin

Al Mobbs – double bass

Prabjote Osahn – violin

Stella Page – viola

Antonia Pagulatos – violin

Emma Smith – double bass

Chris Frangou – bass guitar

Production

All tracks produced by Danger Mouse and Gorillaz.

Co-produced by James Dring and Jason Cox except “68 State”, “People”, “The Swagga” and “We Are Happy Landfill” produced by Gorillaz, James Dring and Jason Cox.

The album was recorded at the Gorillaz’ own studio and mixed at The Pierce Rooms. “All Alone”‘s instrumental was also partially recorded in Africa.

Gorillaz – Demon Days (full album)

Gorillaz_Demon_Days

1. “Intro” (sampled from the original score of the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead) 1:03
2. “Last Living Souls” 3:10
3. “Kids with Guns” (featuring Neneh Cherry) 3:45
4. “O Green World” 4:31
5. “Dirty Harry” (featuring Bootie Brown and San Fernandez Youth Chorus) 3:43
6. “Feel Good Inc.” (featuring De La Soul) 3:41
7. “El Mañana” 3:50
8. “Every Planet We Reach is Dead” (featuring Ike Turner) 4:53
9. “November Has Come” (featuring MF DOOM) 2:41
10. “All Alone” (featuring Roots Manuva and Martina Topley-Bird) 3:30
11. “White Light” 2:08
12. “DARE” (featuring Shaun Ryder & Rosie Wilson) 4:04
13. “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head” (featuring Dennis Hopper) 3:16
14. “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir) 2:00
15. “Demon Days” (featuring The London Community Gospel Choir) 4:28

Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc featuring De La Soul (single) – Demon Days (album)

gorillaz - feel good

Feel Good Inc featuring De La Soul was a single from the Gorillaz Demon Days album.

It was released in May 2005.

Gorillaz – Dare (single) – Demon Days (album)

Gorillaz_-_Dare

Dare was a single from the Gorillaz album Demon Days.

It was released in August 2005.

Gorillaz – Dirty Harry (single) – Demon Days (album)

Gorillaz_Dirty_Harry

Dirty Harry was a single from the Gorillaz album Demon Days.

It was released in November 2005.

13th May – The Number One Album in the UK – 2003 (Blur – Think Tank)

Think_tank_album_cover

Ten years ago today, the number one album in the UK was Think Tank from Blur.

Blur formed in 1988 in London, originally known as Seymour, the 4 piece band is comprised of Damon Albarn (singer/keyboardist), Graham Coxon (guitarist/singer), Dave Rowntree (drums) and Alex James (bass).

One of the most important UK acts of the last 25 years, Blur have released a number of albums that have had a substantive impact upon popular culture:

Leisure (1991)

Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)

Parklife (1994)

The Great Escape (1995)

Blur (1997)

13 (1999)

A lot happened between the release of 13 in 1999 and Think Tank in 2003

On 30 October 2000, a Greatest Hits compilation Blur: The Best Of was released, with the CD version including 17 of Blur’s 23 singles from 1990 to 2000 plus “This Is A Low” which apparently went on to sell 3.5 million albums worldwide.

March 2001 saw the release of the debut self titled album by the British virtual band Gorillaz; a collaboration between Jamie Hewlett, an English designer and comic book artist (co-creator of the comic Tank Girl), and Damon Albarn.

The Gorillaz album had been recorded between December 1998 and May 2000 at Studio 13 in London, England and Geejam Studios in Portland, Jamaica.

The success of the Gorillaz longplayer – including the singles Clint Eastwood, 19-2000, Rock the House and “Tomorrow Comes Today – caught many by surprise with the record apparently selling over ten million copies worldwide.

One of Blur’s great strengths is their ability to reinvent themselves as they boldly have throughout their career – Think Tank is no exception being described as a melting pot of alternative & experimental rock, trip hop and electronica.

Think Tank was recorded in locations as diverse as London, Morocco and Devon between November 2001–November 2002; the album had production input from Ben Hillier, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), William Orbit and the band with Graham Coxon departing the band during the sessions.

A loose concept record, Albarn stated to Rolling Stone at the time that “It’s an album about love and politics” and the track, Brothers and Sisters “starts off like John Lee Hooker and ends up like Grandmaster Flash” with another Out of Time featuring a Moroccan orchestra.

Banksy, the graffiti artist who started out spray-painting street walls and curbs was commissioned to create the album cover artwork; it was reported by Reuters in April 2007 that Bonhams auctioneers in London sold the original Think Tank artwork for £75,000 which was well beyond expectations as it had been expected to fetch £20-£30,000.

With Think Tank debuting on the UK Albums Chart at number one, it made it the fifth consecutive studio album from the band to reach the pole position.

It also reached the upper echelons of the charts in many other countries around the world, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States.

Since its release, Think Tank received a number of accolades listing it as one of the greatest albums of 2003 as well as the decade as a whole.

Think Tank received critical acclaim from a broad cross section of media around the world; with it being described as the best album of 2003 by Miranda Sawyer from The Observer [the Top 3 was rounded out by releases from Dizzee Rascal – Boy In Da Corner (XL) & The White Stripes – Elephant (XL)]:

Think Tank is the band’s first warm album. They have hopped genres in the past, from baggy to mod to pop to grunge to art-rock, but the sound has always stayed urban, Western, cool. Think Tank is none of these things. It’s all over the place, and that place is foreign. Odd noises, strange instruments, keening vocals; its tunes wind themselves around your heart like drifting smoke. They waft in from faraway lands; trail and trickle their scent across your life. It is the most peculiar stuff that stays with you: ‘Ambulance’s slurred symphony; ‘Caravan’s star-speckled wonder.”

In 2012, Blur received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music – the British equivalent of the American Grammy Awards or the Australian equivalent of the ARIA Awards.

Track listing:

Me, White Noise (pregap hidden track) – 6:48

Ambulance – 5:09

Out of Time – 3:52

Crazy Beat – 3:15

Good Song – 3:09

On the Way to the Club (Albarn, James Dring, James, Rowntree) – 3:48

Brothers and Sisters – 3:47

Caravan – 4:36

We’ve Got a File on You – 1:03

Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club – 3:03

Sweet Song – 4:01

Jets” (Albarn, James, Rowntree, Mike Smith) – 6:25

Gene by Gene – 3:49

Battery in Your Leg (Albarn, Graham Coxon, James, Rowntree) – 3:20

[note – In the Blur 21 version of the album, “Me, White Noise” is appended to the end of the album as part of track 13 instead of being in the pregap].

All lyrics by Damon Albarn.

All music by Albarn, Alex James, Dave Rowntree unless otherwise stated.

Personnel:

Blur

Damon Albarn – vocals, backing vocals, guitar, piano, producer

Alex James – bass guitar, backing vocals, production

Dave Rowntree – drums, backing vocals, guitar on “On The Way To The Club”, production

Graham Coxon – guitar on “Battery in Your Leg”

Additional musicians and production

Bezzari Ahmed – rabab

Moullaoud My Ali – oud

Mohamed Azeddine – oud

Norman Cook – producer (Track 3 & 12)

Jason Cox – production assistance, engineer

Phil Daniels – vocals

James Dring – engineer, programming

Ben Hillier – producer, engineer, percussion

Gueddam Jamal – cello, violin

Abdellah Kekhari – violin

Ait Ramdan El Mostafa – kanoun

Desyud Mustafa – orchestral arrangement

El Farani Mustapha – tere

Dalal Mohamed Najib – darbouka

Hijaoui Rachid – violin

M. Rabet Mohamid Rachid – violin

Mike Smith – saxophone

Kassimi Jamal Youssef – oud

William Orbit – producer (Track 10)