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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
Writer(s) Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree.
Producer(s) Stephen Street
Blur singles chronology
"Charmless Man"
"Song 2"

Music sample
Music video
"Beetlebum" on YouTube

"Beetlebum" is a 1997 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, becoming Blur's second track to reach the spot (after "Country House").[1][2]


Damon Albarn has confessed that the song is about heroin and the drug experiences he had with his then-girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica.[3] In the 2010 Blur documentary, No Distance Left to Run, Albarn confirmed this notion on film. Albarn has stated in an interview with MTV that the song describes a complicated emotion, sort of 'sleepy' and sort of 'sexy'.[4]

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."[5]

Music video[edit]

The "Beetlebum" music video was directed by Sophie Muller,[6] and shot in Islington, London, on 14 December 1996.[7] It is a relatively simple production, combining a performance of the song in a room in a tall building with computer-generated zoom-outs from the set showing the Earth in the centre of kaleidoscopic patterns. Notably, Alex James' cigarette and Dave Rowntree's Coke can are censored. At the end of the video, the camera zooms out of the room and the building and shows the surrounding area, ending with a shot of London's skyline.

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

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.[8]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 34
Finland (Suomen virallinen Radiolista)[10] 3
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 85
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 8
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 87
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 34
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 39
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 1



  1. ^ "BLUR | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 602. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ MTV Blurography - Broadcast December 1996
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review: Blur -Blur". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "The Best of Blur (2000)". Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  7. ^ MTV Blurography - Broadcast December 1996
  8. ^ Purchese, Robert (8 April 2008). "Rock Band gets official Euro date News • News • Xbox 360 •". Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ " – Blur – Beetlebum". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  12. ^ "Chart Track: Week 4, 1997". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  13. ^ " – Blur – Beetlebum" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  14. ^ " – Blur – Beetlebum". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ " – {{{artist}}} – Beetlebum". Singles Top 100.
  16. ^ "January 1997/ Archive Chart: 26 January 1997" UK Singles Chart.

External links[edit]