Girls & Boys (Blur song)

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"Girls & Boys"
Girls & Boys CD2.jpg
Single by Blur
from the album Parklife
  • 4:50 (album version)
  • 4:18 (single version)
Producer(s)Stephen Street
Blur singles chronology
"Sunday Sunday"
"Girls & Boys"
"To the End"
Parklife track listing
16 tracks
  1. "Girls & Boys"
  2. "Tracy Jacks"
  3. "End of a Century"
  4. "Parklife"
  5. "Bank Holiday"
  6. "Badhead"
  7. "The Debt Collector"
  8. "Far Out"
  9. "To the End"
  10. "London Loves"
  11. "Trouble in the Message Centre"
  12. "Clover Over Dover"
  13. "Magic America"
  14. "Jubilee"
  15. "This Is a Low"
  16. "Lot 105"
Music video
"Girls & Boys" on YouTube
Audio sample
Girls & Boys

"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.[6] The single 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".[7] It also reached number 4 on the Modern Rock songs chart.[7]


"'Girls & Boys'? Four notes. And the chorus is 'Boys, Girls, Love'. That's quite a universal message, isn't it?"

—Damon Albarn summing up the song[8]

Damon Albarn was inspired to write the song while on holiday in Magaluf, Spain, with then-girlfriend Justine Frischmann. According to Albarn, the city had "really tacky Essex nightclubs" 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."[8] 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."[9] The vocals were recorded with a demo featuring only the keyboards.[10] This song is written in the key of G minor[11]


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.[8]


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."[12] 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 to having his first panic attack shortly after the single entered the charts.[8]

In 1994, "Girls & Boys" was named single of the year by NME and Melody Maker.[13][14] It was also nominated for best song at the MTV Europe Music Awards.[15]

AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine 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."[16] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "Alternative band takes a detour into clubland with an amusing, word-twisting ditty fleshed out with a trance-like synth energy and a hard, syncopated beat, courtesy of the Pet Shop Boys. Way-hip single's primary selling point is the brain-numbing refrain "girls who want boys like boys to be girls who do boys like they're girls who do girls like they're boys." Try saying that three times fast. A good bet for dancefloor action, track should also get a crack at pop/crossover radio."[17] Matt Stopera and Brian Galindo from BuzzFeed said the song is "a great reminder of just how brilliant Blur was throughout the '90s."[18] Music & Media noted it as a "comical pastiche on '80s "new romantics"."[19] Martin Aston from Music Week gave it four out of five, complimenting it as "being an irresistibly feisty pop bite and, as such, a probable Top 10 hit."[20] John Kilgo from The Network Forty described it as an "outstanding, infectious" tune.[21] James Hunter from Vibe called it a "brilliant turn on new wave disco that boasts the year's best bent guitars. They bounce all this into a great English, um, blur."[22]


The song is included on two compilations albums: Blur: The Best Of[23] and Midlife: A Beginner's Guide to Blur.

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.

Hong Kong pop duo Tat Ming Pair covered it on their 1997 live concert album 萬歲萬歲萬萬歲演唱會.

In 2003, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke confessed on BBC Radio 1 that he wished he had written the song, jokingly calling Blur "bastards" for writing it first.[24][25]

In 2007, electronic band Blaqk Audio released a cover of the song as a Hot Topic exclusive bonus track for their debut album CexCells. The song was covered by the French singer Mélanie Pain in her 2009 album My Name. American alternative rock band The Get Up Kids performed a version of the song in July 2011 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[26] It was also featured in the Wii game Just Dance and on the Xbox 360 Kinect title Dance Central as a downloadable song off Xbox Live.

In 2010, Pitchfork included the song at number 26 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.[27]

"Blurred" by Pianoman features the chorus (sampled from the Pet Shop Boys 12" remix) as its key lyric. The single peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart in 1996.

Track listings[edit]

All music composed by Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree. All lyrics composed by Albarn, with the exception of "Maggie May" written by Rod Stewart and Martin Quittenton.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Vandalism version[edit]

"Girls & Boys"
Single by Vandalism
LabelVicious Vinyl
Vandalism singles chronology
"Girls & Boys"
"Never Say Never"

"Boys & Girls" was covered by Australian dance band Vandalism and released as a single in 2005.

Track listing[edit]

Australian CD single

  1. "Boys & Girls" (Radio edit)
  2. "Boys & Girls" (Ivan Gough And Grant Smillie Remix Radio Edit)
  3. "Boys & Girls" (Extended Mix)
  4. "Boys & Girls" (Ivan Gough & Grant Smillie Remix)


Chart (2005) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[45] 80
Australia Club Tracks (ARIA)[45] 8
Australia Dance (ARIA)[45] 11

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label Catalogue
Australia 4 January 2005 CD single, download Vicious VG12029CD


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  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Blur – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  3. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (5 May 2003). "Blur – Think Tank". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  4. ^ Pappademas, Alex (February 2003). "Essential Britpop". Spin. Vol. 19 no. 2. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Gerard, Chris (4 April 2014). "50 Best Alternative Albums of the '90s". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
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  9. ^ Blur: The Best Of...The Interview (Media notes). Track 4.CS1 maint: location (link)
  10. ^ Rachel, Daniel (2013). Isle of Noises: Conversations with great British songwriters. Pan Macmillan. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-44722-677-2.
  11. ^ Damon, Albarn; Graham, Coxon; Alex, James; David, Rowntree; Blur (1 May 2009). "Girls and Boys". Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (16 July 2012). "How we made: Graham Coxon and Stephen Street on Parklife by Blur". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  13. ^ "NME End Of Year Lists 1994". NME. Retrieved 6 May 2013 – via
  14. ^ "Melody Maker End of Year Critic Lists – 1990". Retrieved 6 May 2013 – via
  15. ^ "Awards – Blur". Veikko's Blur Page. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  16. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Girls & Boys – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  17. ^ Flick, Larry (7 May 1994). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 91.
  18. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (11 March 2017). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  19. ^ "New Releases > Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 11 no. 18. 30 April 1994. p. 11. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  20. ^ Aston, Martin (5 March 1994). "Market Preview > Alternative" (PDF). Music Week. p. 12. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  21. ^ Kilgo, John (1 July 1994). "Mainstream: Music Meeting" (PDF). The Network Forty. p. 22. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Single File". Vibe. Vol. 2 no. 9. November 1994. p. 130. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  23. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Blur – The Best of Blur". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  24. ^ Radiohead at Maida Vale Studios. BBC Radio 1. Post-gig Q&A. 8 December 2003.
  25. ^ "50 Things You Didn't Know About Blur". NME. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  26. ^ Modell, Josh. "The Get Up Kids cover "Girls And Boys" by Blur". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  27. ^ "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50-21". Pitchfork. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  28. ^ " – Blur – Girls And Boys". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  29. ^ " – Blur – Girls And Boys" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2578." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  31. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 11 no. 14. 2 April 1994. p. 18. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  32. ^ a b " – Blur – Girls And Boys" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  33. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Girls & Boys". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
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  41. ^ "50 Back Catalogue Singles – 13/07/2013". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  42. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1994" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  43. ^ "Classement Singles – année 1994". (in French). Archived from the original on 1 February 2014.
  44. ^ "British single certifications – Blur – Girls and Boys". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  45. ^ a b c "The ARIA Report!" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2020 – via Pandora Archive.

External links[edit]