Gorillaz (album)

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Studio album by
Released26 March 2001
Gorillaz album chronology
G Sides
Damon Albarn chronology
Ordinary Decent Criminal
G Sides
Singles from Gorillaz
  1. "Tomorrow Comes Today"
    Released: 27 November 2000
  2. "Clint Eastwood"
    Released: 5 March 2001
  3. "19-2000"
    Released: 26 June 2001
  4. "Rock the House"
    Released: 22 October 2001

Gorillaz is the eponymous debut studio album by virtual band Gorillaz. It was released on 26 March 2001 in the United Kingdom by Parlophone and in the United States by Virgin Records. The album reached number three in the UK and number fourteen in the US, and has sold over seven million copies worldwide. The album's success earned the group an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "Most Successful Virtual Band",[1] and spawned the singles "Clint Eastwood", "19-2000", "Rock the House", and "Tomorrow Comes Today".


Damon Albarn, co-creator of Gorillaz

Musician Damon Albarn and comic book creator Jamie Hewlett met in 1990 when guitarist Graham Coxon, a fan of Hewlett's work, asked him to interview Blur, a band Albarn and Coxon had recently formed.[2] The interview was published in Deadline magazine, home of Hewlett's comic strip, Tank Girl. Hewlett initially thought Albarn was "arsey, a wanker"; despite becoming acquaintances with the band, they often did not get on, especially after Hewlett began seeing Coxon's ex-girlfriend Jane Olliver.[2] Despite this, Albarn and Hewlett started sharing a flat on Westbourne Grove in London in 1997.[3] Hewlett had recently broken up with Olliver and Albarn was at the end of his highly publicised relationship with Justine Frischmann of Elastica.[2]

The idea to create Gorillaz came about when Albarn and Hewlett were watching MTV. Hewlett said, "If you watch MTV for too long, it's a bit like hell – there's nothing of substance there. So we got this idea for a cartoon band, something that would be a comment on that."[4] The band originally identified themselves as "Gorilla" and the first song they recorded was "Ghost Train"[5] which was later released as a B-side on their single "Rock the House" and the B-side compilation G Sides. The musicians behind Gorillaz' first incarnation included Albarn, Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala, who had previously worked together on the track "Time Keeps on Slipping" for Deltron 3030's eponymous debut album.[6]

Although not released under the Gorillaz name, Albarn has said that "one of the first ever Gorillaz tunes" was Blur's 1997 single "On Your Own", which was released for their fifth studio album Blur.[7]


Throughout the album, the band combines a variety of musical genres including alternative rock,[8][9] dub,[10][11][12] hip hop,[13][12] trip hop,[11][14] punk rock,[15][12] rap rock,[16] art rock,[10] Britpop,[17] electronica,[12] Latin,[12] psychedelia,[12] bubblegum pop,[15] and art pop.[18] The album's first single "Clint Eastwood", is named after the famous movie actor. The theme from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly can be heard periodically throughout the song; this was one of several Sergio Leone-directed Italian westerns of the late 1960s in which Eastwood plays a character with no name. Years after the release of this album, it was revealed that the track "Starshine" has an alternative version, which features Luton-based rap group Phi Life Cypher. This version is not available on any releases, but it is available on the Phi Life Cypher SoundCloud channel and also on the video-sharing website YouTube.[19]

All editions of the Gorillaz album feature an enhanced section that included screen savers, wallpaper and an autoplay, featuring a short movie which opens the user's Internet browser to a special section of the Gorillaz website, which gives the user full access to Murdoc's Winnebago.[20]

Del the Funky Homosapien collaborated on two songs on the album, "Clint Eastwood" and "Rock the House", both of which became singles and videos and achieved chart success. Del was not originally slated to collaborate on these songs. By the time Del came onto the project, the album was already finished, and Phi Life Cypher had recorded verses for "Clint Eastwood"; but when Del finished making Deltron 3030 with Dan the Automator, Automator asked if he could stay in the studio a little longer to record new verses for the Gorillaz songs.[21] For the purposes of the music videos and the Gorillaz storyline canon, Del performed as Gorillaz character "Del the Ghost Rapper", who was said to be a spirit that was hiding from death within the band's drummer, Russel Hobbs. Del later commented in an interview on the success of "Clint Eastwood" by saying that he actually wrote his rap for the song using the book How to Write a Hit Song, a book that he bought with a coupon his mother gave him. After the song went platinum he gave the plaque to his mother.[22] As part of Russel Hobbs' back-story, the character of Del was one of Russel's friends that was gunned down in a drive-by shooting, whose ghost possessed Russel.[23]

In 2004, the album was packaged with 2002's Laika Come Home in a limited edition box set as part of EMI's "2CD Originals" collection. Other saw a release such as the reggae-dub "Dub Dumb", which features British-Jamaican artist Sweetie Irie; it is available on the PlayStation 2 game MTV Music Generator 2 rather than on G Sides or the album itself. Other tracks include "Gor Beaten", which was another track that didn't make the album; however, elements of the track's instrumental were once available on one of the Gorillaz member's computers in Kong Studios.[24]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[26]
Alternative Press8/10[27]
The Guardian4/5 stars[28]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[29]
Q4/5 stars[32]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[18]
Slant Magazine4/5 stars[33]

Gorillaz received generally positive reviews from critics. It was ranked sixth in both Spin's and Kludge's end-of-year lists[35][36] and Q ranked it among the 50 best albums of the year.[37] The album was nominated for the 2001 Mercury Music Prize. (Gorillaz was bookmakers' favourite before the nomination was withdrawn at the band's request.)[38]

The album made some retrospective "best of" lists. Slant Magazine ranked the album no. 96 in its best of the 2000s,[39] Complex ranked it among the top 100 albums of the 2000s[40] and Gigwise included it in its 2013 best self-titled albums of all time.[41] The album was given an entry in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[42]

The album peaked on 22 in UK 2001 End of Year Charts and the 93 on Billboard 200.


  • "Tomorrow Comes Today" was released as an EP before the album was released. A video for the single was also released.
  • "Clint Eastwood" was the first single from the album, debuting on 4 March 2001. The single peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart, number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
  • "19-2000" was the second single from the album, released in June 2001. The single peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart and number 23 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.
  • "Rock the House" was the third single from the album, released in October 2001. The single peaked at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • "Tomorrow Comes Today" was the fourth and final single from the album, released almost a year after the album, in February 2002. It peaked at number 33 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • "5/4" was repeatedly considered for a single but was edged out by "19-2000" and "Rock the House". A video was considered for this, but never got past the storyboarding stage.

Track listing[edit]

All songs are written by Damon Albarn, except where noted.

GorillazStandard edition
1."Re-Hash" 3:40
2."5/4" 2:42
3."Tomorrow Comes Today" 3:13
4."New Genious (Brother)"3:59
5."Clint Eastwood" (featuring Del the Funky Homosapien)5:42
6."Man Research (Clapper)" 4:32
7."Punk" 1:38
8."Sound Check (Gravity)" 4:42
9."Double Bass" 4:46
10."Rock the House" (featuring Del the Funky Homosapien)4:09
11."19-2000" 3:27
12."Latin Simone (¿Qué Pasa Contigo?)" (featuring Ibrahim Ferrer)
13."Starshine" 3:33
14."Slow Country" 3:37
15."M1 A1"4:01
Total length:57:19
Bonus tracks
GorillazUK bonus tracks
16."Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case Refix Edit) (featuring Sweetie Irie)
  • Albarn
  • Jones
17."19-2000" (Soulchild remix) 3:33
GorillazUS bonus tracks
16."Dracula" 4:44
17."Left Hand Suzuki Method"3:12
18."19-2000" (Soulchild remix) (deluxe edition bonus track) 3:33
19."Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case and Sweetie Irie refix) (deluxe edition bonus track)
  • Albarn
  • Jones
Bonus discs
Korean limited edition bonus disc[43]
1."Rock the House" (music video)3:43
2."Noodle Fight" (video game)– –
3."Cymbalism" (video game)– –
4."Gorillaz wallpaper"– –
5."Rock the House" (screensaver)– –
6."19-2000 driving game" (Geep simulator)– –
French limited edition bonus disc[44]
2."Hip Albatross"2:43
3."Left Hand Suzuki Method" (featuring Miho Hatori)3:11
4."The Sounder" (featuring Phi Life Cypher)6:16
Malaysian limited edition bonus disc[45]
3."Left Hand Suzuki Method" (featuring Miho Hatori)3:11
4."Hip Albatross"2:43
5."Tomorrow Comes Today" (music video)3:16
6."Clint Eastwood" (music video)4:30
7."19-2000" (music video)3:56
Unmastered version[46]
1."Slow Country"3:38
2."Tomorrow Comes Today"3:13
3."Latin Simone (¿Que Pasa Contigo?)"3:39
4."Latin Simone (¿Que Pasa Contigo?)" (lower BV's)3:39
5."New Genious" (Unmastered version of "New Genious (Brother)")4:01
8."Clint Eastwood" (featuring Del the Funky Homosapien)6:33
9."Sound Check" (Unmastered version of "Sound Check (Gravity)")4:44
10."Man Research (Clapper)"4:36
12."Exhumation" (Unmastered version of "Left Hand Suzuki Method")5:15
13."Rock the House" (instrumental)3:47
14."M1 A1" (incorrectly titled as "Mi Ai" on cover art)3:52
16."Double Bass"4:46
Sample credits[47]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[79] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[80] Gold 20,000*
Belgium (BEA)[81] Platinum 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[82] Platinum 100,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[83] Platinum 50,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[84] Gold 15,169[84]
France (SNEP)[86] Platinum 417,200[85]*
Germany (BVMI)[87] Gold 150,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[88] Gold 75,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[89] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[90] Gold 25,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[91] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[92] Platinum 80,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[93] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[95] 3× Platinum 945,621[94]^
United States (RIAA)[97] Platinum 1,900,000[96]
Uruguay (CUD)[98] Gold 3,000^
Europe (IFPI)[99] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

^shipments figures based on certification alone


Credits for Gorillaz adapted from liner notes.[47]

Release history[edit]

Region Label Catalog Edition
United Kingdom Parlophone 7243 5 32093 0 original
7243 5 31138 0 3 re-issue
France 7243 5 34488 0 6 limited
United States Virgin 7243 5 33748 0 8 original
Malaysia EMI 7243 5 38704 0 9 limited
USA Warner Bros. Records 337480-2PRL December 2013 reissue after the break-up of EMI


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External links[edit]