Gorillaz are an English musical and visual project created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The project consists of Gorillaz itself and an extensive fictional universe depicting a "virtual band" of cartoon characters. This band has four animated members: 2D (lead vocalist, keyboard, and melodica), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar and drum machine), Noodle (guitar, keyboard, and occasionalvocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). Their fictional universe is explored through the band's website and music videos, as well as a number of other media, such as short cartoons. The music is a collaboration between various musicians, Albarn being the only permanent musical contributor. Their style is a composition of multiple musical genres, with a large number of influences includingalternative rock, hip hop, electronica, dub and pop.
The band's 2001 debut album Gorillaz sold over seven million copies and earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band's request. Their second studio album, Demon Days, released in 2004, wentfive times platinum in the UK, double platinum in the United States, earned five Grammy Award nominations for 2006 and won one of them in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category. The band has won numerous other awards, including two MTV Video Music Awards, an NME Award, three MTV Europe Music Awards, and have twice been nominated for the Brit Award for Best BritishGroup. The combined sales of the Gorillaz and Demon Days albums had exceeded 15 million by 2007. The band's third studio album, Plastic Beach, was released in March 2010. Their latest album, The Fall, was released in December 2010 as a free download for fan club members, then in April 2011 as a physical release.
In April 2012, Albarn revealed that the project was "unlikely" to continue due todisagreements between himself and Hewlett.
Formation and early years (1997–1999)
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett created Gorillaz in 1997 when they were living together in a flat on Westbourne Grove. The idea to create the band 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 gotthis idea for a cartoon band, something that would be a comment on that," Hewlett has said. The band originally identified themselves as "Gorilla" and the first song they recorded was "Ghost Train" which was later released as a B-side on their single "Rock the House" and the B-side compilation G Sides. The trio of musicians behind Gorillaz' first incarnation included Damon Albarn, Del theFunky Homosapien and Dan the Automator, who had previously worked together on the track "Time Keeps on Slipping" for Deltron 3030's eponymous debut album.
Phase One: Celebrity Take Down (1999–2003)
The band's first release was the EP Tomorrow Comes Today, released in 2000.
"Clint Eastwood" exemplifies the mix of musical styles found on the band's debut album,combining hip hop, rock, electronic and dub influences. The verses are rapped by Del the Funky Homosapien and the chorus is sung by 2D (voiced by Damon Albarn).
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The band's first single, "Clint Eastwood", was released on 5 March 2001. It was produced by hip hop producer Dan the Automator and originally featured Luton-based rap group Phi Life Cypher, butthe version that appears on the album features American rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, known on the album as Del tha' Ghost Rapper, a spirit in the band's drummer Russel Hobbs. The Phi Life Cypher version of "Clint Eastwood" appears on the B-side album G-Sides, and in concert the song has been performed by Phi Life Cypher as well as Snoop Dogg, Eslam Jawaad, Bashy, and Kano. Later that same...
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