Country House

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For information on English country estates, see English country house.
"Country House"
Single by Blur
from the album The Great Escape
Released 14 August 1995 (1995-08-14)
Format CD single, 7" vinyl, cassette
Recorded 1995
Genre Britpop
Length 3:57
Label Food
Producer(s) Stephen Street
Blur singles chronology
"End of a Century"
(1994)
"Country House"
(1995)
"The Universal"
(1995)
Music video
"Country House" on YouTube

"Country House" is a song by English alternative rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single from the band's fourth album The Great Escape on 14 August 1995. "Country House" was the first of two Blur singles to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart[1] (the second being 1997's "Beetlebum").[2]

Background and writing[edit]

In an interview for the South Bank Show, Damon Albarn explained that it was inspired by former Blur manager Dave Balfe, who left Blur's label Food Records and bought a house in the country.

Content[edit]

The song is about a man who retires to an expensive country house to escape the pressures of the city. The cover art features a horizontally-flipped image of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.

Release and 'battle' with Oasis[edit]

"Country House" received a great deal of media attention when Blur's label Food Records moved the original release date to the same day as Oasis's "Roll with It". The British media had already reported an intense rivalry between the two bands and this clash of releases was seen as a battle for the number one spot, dubbed the 'Battle of Britpop'.

In the event, "Country House" won the 'battle', attaining the No. 1 spot while "Roll with It" came in at No. 2 and having marginally fewer sales. However, the sales for Blur's album The Great Escape were lower than those for Oasis's album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Country House" was directed by artist Damien Hirst, who had attended Goldsmiths, University of London, with members of Blur. It features the band and a businessman (played by Keith Allen) in a flat with the band playing a board game called "Escape from the Rat Race" before they become trapped in the game where they are with farm animals and other people before appearing in the flat again. The band appears in the video alongside British comic actors Matt Lucas and Sara Stockbridge and model Jo Guest. It features pastiches of - or tributes to - Benny Hill (Lucas' doctor chasing scantily clad young women culminating in the entry of the milk van of Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) and Queen's 1975 video for "Bohemian Rhapsody". It was nominated for Best Video in the 1996 BRIT Awards.

A candlestick from the video sold on eBay for £92 in March 2005, though it was estimated to be worth £500.[3]

Promotion and release[edit]

On 20 August 1995 the charts were officially announced. (The Chart Show announced the winner the day before, though the show's chart was unofficial) "Country House" topped the UK Singles Chart, selling 270,000 copies, compared to 220,000 sold by "Roll with It", which came in at number two. Albarn himself was surprised that "Country House" topped the charts. He told NME, "I sort of believed all the papers, including NME, who told me Oasis were going to win."[4]

Track listings[edit]

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

Production credits[edit]

  • "Country House" and "Charmless Man" produced by Stephen Street
  • "One Born Every Minute" produced by Blur and John Smith
  • "To the End (la comedie)" produced by Stephen Hague, Blur and John Smith

Charts[edit]

Charts (1995) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[5] 28
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[6] 4
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Italy (FIMI)[7] 26
Norway (VG-lista)[8] 6
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 30
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[10] 10
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 26
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[2] 1
Preceded by
"Never Forget" by Take That
UK Singles Chart
Number 1 single

20 August 1995 – 3 September 1995
Succeeded by
"You Are Not Alone"
by Michael Jackson

References[edit]

  • Harris, John. Britpop! Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock, 2004. ISBN 0-306-81367-X
  • Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop. Passion Pictures, 2004.

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]