"Girls & Boys" is a 1994 song by British rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single from the group's third album Parklife. Charting at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart, "Girls & Boys" was Blur's first top 5 hit and their most successful single until "Country House" reached number 1 the following year. The single was seen as a comeback for the band, who had had a lean commercial period for a couple of years. It surpassed their previous commercial peak "There's No Other Way" by three spots on the UK Singles Chart, and saw the group achieve greater worldwide success. In the US, the track reached number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, becoming the band's second single to hit the chart after "There's No Other Way". It also reached number 4 on the Modern Rock songs chart.
Damon Albarn was inspired to write the song once he vacationed in Magaluf, Spain with then-girlfriend Justine Frischmann. According to Albarn, the city had "really tacky Essexnightclubs" and a rampant sexual scene among visitors, with "All these blokes and all these girls meeting at the watering hole and then just copulating. There's no morality involved, I'm not saying it should or shouldn't happen." The music has a convergence of various pop and dance styles, summed up by bassist Alex James as “Disco drums, nasty guitars and Duran Duran bass." Drummer Dave Rowntree admitted he is not on the track, being replaced by a drum machine he programmed. Thus he said it was his favourite song on Blur: The Best Of because he "isn't really in it. It's cool not being in your own song." The vocals were recorded with a demo featuring only the keyboards.
The video, directed by Kevin Godley, featured Blur performing the song against a bluescreen backdrop of documentary footage of people on Club 18-30 package holidays. Godley branded the video as "Page 3 rubbish" while Blur found it "perfect". The front cover of the single was taken from a pack of Durex condoms.
Producer Stephen Street felt that while "Girls & Boys" was not like Blur's previous songs, "I thought it would be Top 5 – it was so downright basic. I felt the way I had when I produced the Smiths: that as long as Morrissey was singing on it, it would be the Smiths. It was the same with Blur: they could put their hands to anything, and it would still sound like Blur." The song indeed reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart, Blur's first foray into the top 5. Despite the band having big expectations for the single, guitarist Graham Coxon said "going top five was a bit of a shocker", and Albarn confessed on having his first panic attack shortly after the single entered the charts.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine has described the song as "undeniably catchy" and "one of the best (songs) Blur ever recorded", praising the band for making the song "feel exactly like Eurotrash", and specifying that the chorus's reference to "girls who are boys/who like boys to be girls/who do boys like they're girls/who do girls like they're boys" is "an absolutely devastating put-down of '90s gender-bending, where even ambi-sexuals didn't know whose fantasy they were fulfilling."
Pet Shop Boys, who provided a remix of the track for the single release, later covered the song during their Discovery tour in 1994. Their remix was also included on the Japanese version of the Parklife album.