Clint Eastwood (song)
|Single by Gorillaz featuring Del tha Funkee Homosapien|
|from the album Gorillaz|
|Released||5 March 2001|
|Format||CD single, 12", MC|
|Genre||Trip hop, alternative hip hop, dub, rap rock, alternative dance|
|Length||5:41 (Album Version)
3:44 (Original Mix Edit)
|Writer(s)||2D, Murdoc Niccals, Del tha Funkee Homosapien|
|Producer(s)||Gorillaz, Dan the Automator|
Gold (IFPI - Austria)
Gold (IFPI - Switzerland)
|Gorillaz singles chronology|
"Clint Eastwood" is a song by British virtual band Gorillaz, released as the first single from their self-titled debut album in March 2001. The song is named after the actor of the same name due to its similarity to the theme music of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as well as the song's notable melodica line, and the use of Eastwood's quote "I got sunshine in a bag".
The song is a mix of electronic, dub, hip hop and rock. The verses are rapped by Del tha Funkee Homosapien, portrayed as a blue phantom in the video, while the chorus is sung by 2D (voiced by Damon Albarn). It peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart and number 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single has sold 480,000 copies in the UK according to the Official Charts Company. Rolling Stone ranked it number 38 on its 100 best songs of the 2000s. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 141 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".
Demo versions of "Clint Eastwood" were originally recorded in 1999 by Damon Albarn on a four-track using a drum machine and guitar. A re-recording similar to these demos were recorded into Logic for use as a backing track. The strings featured in the song are from a string machine, the Solina String Ensemble. According to engineer, Jason Cox, "Damon gave us the OK to set fire to it on stage, but we said 'No, you can't set fire to that! It's a classic!'", and it ended up being used on the song as well as some other tracks on the album. The drums are provided by a drum machine.
Some of the single releases featured an alternative version of the song which featured British hip hop group Phi Life Cypher, who also feature on the group's B-side "The Sounder". This was the original version. A UK garage remix of the song by Ed Case and Sweetie Irie also features as a b-side to most of the single releases. The Ed Case remix was the version most played on UK radio stations during the single's original chart run, partially due to the mainstream popularity of UK Garage from 1999-2001.
For some live performances of the song, alternative rappers are used. For the 2005 Demon Days tour, a version of the song featuring De La Soul and Bootie Brown, who have also appeared in "Feel Good Inc.", "Superfast Jellyfish" and "Dirty Harry", was written and recorded. This version was released on the CD single of "Dare". During the Escape to Plastic Beach tour, a third version of the track, featuring British rapper Tinie Tempah, was written and performed. During July 2010, when Tempah was unable to make tour performances, a fourth version of the song, featuring Tempah's verses performed by British grime MC's Kano & Bashy, was devised. Snoop Dogg also performed a rap during the group's 2010 Glastonbury performance. During the group's Asian tour dates, a fifth version of the song, featuring all new verses from Lebanese-Syrian rapper Eslam Jawaad, was performed. Murdoc Niccals said in an interview for the iTunes Sessions EP that "The song is a big inky canvas for rappers of all sizes to come paint their rhymes on". Jamie Hewlett claimed during the documentary-film Bananaz that "The song isn't really about the actor Clint Eastwood, but more to do with the Melodica solo in the song". The song is often performed by hip hop group Deltron 3030 where Del Tha Funkee Homosapien performing both 2-D's parts and his original verses as performed on the album version.
The animated music video was directed by Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland. It starts with the Gorillaz logo in red against a black screen, and the following quote from the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead: "Every dead body that is not exterminated, gets up and kills. The people it kills, get up and kill" in Japanese then in English. This phrase was deemed offensive in some countries and a censored version was produced that omits this intro. The video and song name is a reference to the famous western starring actor Clint Eastwood, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The yell from the film's theme song can be heard at the beginning of the video. The notes that the melodica plays are also based on the yell. The band is seen playing their music against a completely white backdrop. 2-D is seen wearing a T-Virus shirt most likely referencing Resident Evil. Russel's cap then begins to mysteriously rise on its own, and the ghost of Del appears to be emerging from under it. He begins to rap, leaving the other band members dumbfounded, and the backdrop at this point is that of a cemetery. Del then begins to summon enormous tombstones to burst out of the ground, as a heavy shower of rain and thunderstorm begins. Shortly afterwards, zombie gorilla hands rise up from the ground. Murdoc is grabbed by the crotch and pulled to the ground, a reference to the Peter Jackson zombie film Braindead. Seconds later, the zombie gorillas themselves rise up. Murdoc immediately flees at the sight of them, with a number of them pursuing him. He then turns and glares at them out of frustration at his inability to escape, and the zombie apes engage in a bizarre dance routine before Murdoc is finally struck by lightning, this dance routine is similar to the choreography of Michael Jackson's music video "Thriller". Noodle is then shown joyfully skipping along, almost as if she is completely unaware of her surroundings, and in her playful skipping, she delivers a hard kick to one of the zombie gorillas in the face. Immediately afterwards, Del is then sucked back into Russel's head as the gorillas all disintegrate, and the band members are left standing in the cemetery, now bright with sunlight. The video then concludes with a split screen showing each of the four band members and their names. The video has a running time of 4:32, which is significantly different to the album version, which runs for approximately 5:44, however, the album version features about 1:30 of the backing track playing with no vocals over the top. The video for "Clint Eastwood" won an award at the Rushes Soho Short Film Festival Awards in 2001, defeating entries by Blur, Fatboy Slim, Radiohead, and Robbie Williams.
In 2001, Hewlett and Albarn indicated that they had not received any feedback from Clint Eastwood over the song. Albarn expressed a desire to send the actor some of the band's merchandise as a mark of respect, and said, "I'm sure Clint Eastwood would like [the song]. He's an intelligent man."
Alex Needham of NME praised the Ed Case Refix, stating that it "hauls [the track] down the dancefloor of Twice As Nice, where all the disparate elements fall into place and the jarring culture clash suddenly makes perfect sense. A little shift in perspective and, suddenly, you've got a west London Basement Jaxx, embodying a more interesting - and accurate - vision of England than anything Blur (Albarn's other project) have dared to attempt."
- CD single
- "Clint Eastwood" (Original Mix Edit) - 3:44
- "Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case Refix) - 3:42
- "Dracula" - 4:44
- "Clint Eastwood" (Enhanced Video) - 4:25
- 12-inch vinyl
- "Clint Eastwood" - 5:55
- "Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case Refix) - 3:42
- "Clint Eastwood" (Phi Life Cypher Version) - 4:54
- "Clint Eastwood" (Album Version) - 5:40
- "Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case/Sweetie Irie Refix) - 3:42
- "Dracula" - 4:44
Charts and certifications
- The song was used in episodes of Daria, Smallville, The Andy Milonakis Show, Angel, Dark Angel, Murphy's Law and Walker, Texas Ranger, and in the title sequence for the 2010 film Fair Game (set just after the start of the 21st century).
- Luke Ski recorded a parody of this song called "Jon Archer", about the science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise (the parody's title references the series' lead character and captain of the titular starship).
- It was heard in the YouTube video for the One Tree Hill episode, "You've Dug Your Own Grave, Now Lie in It" for the chase scene where Nanny Carrie chases Jamie Scott through a cornfield along with Haley James Scott.
- Trey Anastasio did a cover of the song on his 2012 album Traveler. He has also performed the song live with the Trey Anastasio Band.
- The song appears in a theatrical trailer for the 2013 film The Family as well as the film itself.
- It appears on the soundtrack of the video game NBA 2K14.
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- Danyel Smith, ed. (2001). Billboard 23 june 2001. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 24 June 2013. "Equally impressive is the alternative/hip- hop-spliced "Clint Eastwood," which spotlights Albarn's laid-back delivery coupled with a verse from Del, who offers listeners his signature out-of-this-world lyrics."
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- Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on 29 December 2009, presented by Nihal