Beetlebum

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"Beetlebum"
Single by Blur
from the album Blur
B-side "Woodpigeon Song" (7")
"All Your Life", "A Spell (For Money)" (CD1)
"Beetlebum" (Mario Caldato Jr. mix), "Woodpigeon Song", "Dancehall" (CD2)
Released 20 January 1997
Format 7" vinyl, 2 x CD
Recorded 1996
Genre Alternative rock
Length 5:05
Label Food
Producer(s) Stephen Street
Blur singles chronology
"Charmless Man"
(1996)
"Beetlebum"
(1997)
"Song 2"
(1997)

Music sample
Music video
"Beetlebum" on YouTube

"Beetlebum" is a song by English alternative rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single for the band's eponymous fifth album, Blur. The single debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart,[1] becoming Blur's second track to reach the spot (after "Country House").[2][3]

Song[edit]

Damon Albarn has confessed that the song is about heroin and the drug experiences he had with his then-girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica.[4] In the 2010 Blur documentary, No Distance Left to Run, Albarn confirmed this notion on film. The song's title is a reference to the phrase "Chasing the beetle" which refers to inhaling the smoke from heated heroin, morphine, or opium that has been placed on a piece of tin-foil.[5] Albarn has stated in an interview with MTV that the song describes a complicated emotion, sort of 'sleepy' and sort of 'sexy'.[6]

The song has been described as a "Beatles tribute" by several publications; Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic wrote that the song "[ran] through the White Album in the space of five minutes."[7]

Music video[edit]

The "Beetlebum" music video was directed by Sophie Muller,[8] and shot in Islington, London on 14 December 1996.[9] It is a relatively simple production, combining a performance of the song with computer-generated zoom-outs from the set showing the Earth in the centre of kaleidoscopic patterns. Notably, Alex James' joint and Dave Rowntree's Coke can are censored.

In some versions of the video the line "She'll make you come" is censored.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree. All lyrics composed by Albarn.

In popular culture[edit]

Video games[edit]

A cover of "Beetlebum" appeared on disc for the European release of the music video game Rock Band. It was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series outside of Europe.[10]

Charts[edit]

Charts (1997) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[1] 1
Chart succession
Preceded by
"Your Woman" by White Town
UK Singles Chart number-one single
26 January 1997 – 2 February 1997
Succeeded by
"Ain't Nobody" by LL Cool J

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ "BLUR | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 602. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Andrew Smith (2002-03-10). "Interview: Justine Frischmann: Elastica limits". The Observer. The Guardian. "Then, in early 1997, Blur had a hit with a single called 'Beetlebum', which, after being pressed in these very pages, Albarn reluctantly admitted to be about heroin." 
  5. ^ "Beetlebum Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  6. ^ MTV Blurography - Broadcast December 1996
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review: Blur -Blur". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "The Best of Blur (2000)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  9. ^ MTV Blurography - Broadcast December 1996
  10. ^ Purchese, Robert (8 April 2008). "Rock Band gets official Euro date News • News • Xbox 360 •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 

External links[edit]