The Great Escape (Blur album)

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The Great Escape
Blur thegreatescape.png
Studio album by Blur
Released 11 September 1995 (1995-09-11)
Recorded January–May 1995
Genre Britpop
Length 56:56
Producer Stephen Street
Blur chronology
The Brit Pop Blur Box
The Great Escape
Live at the Budokan
Singles from The Great Escape
  1. "Country House"
    Released: 14 August 1995
  2. "The Universal"
    Released: 13 November 1995
  3. "Stereotypes"
    Released: 12 February 1996
  4. "Charmless Man"
    Released: 29 April 1996
  5. "It Could Be You"
    Released: 22 May 1996 (Japan only[1])
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Drowned in Sound 7/10[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[4]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[5]
NME 9/10[6]
Pitchfork Media 8.2/10[7]
Q 5/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[9]
Select 5/5[10]
Spin 6/10[11]

The Great Escape is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Blur, released on 11 September 1995 on Food and Virgin Records. The album received glowing reviews and was a big seller on its initial release, reaching number one in the United Kingdom album chart (outselling the rest of the Top 10 put together)[citation needed] and was their first to crack the US charts reaching number 150.[12] Less than a year after the album was released, it was certified triple platinum in the UK.[13]

The album continued the band's run of hit singles, with "Country House", "The Universal", "Stereotypes" and "Charmless Man". "Country House" was Blur's first single to chart at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, beating Oasis' "Roll with It", in a chart battle dubbed "The Battle of Britpop".

The Great Escape is considered the final of Blur's 'Life' trilogy, after Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993) and Parklife (1994). With Blur's 1997 self-titled album, the band would change direction and abandon Britpop in favour of a more lo-fi and alternative rock sound, inspired by American bands such as Pavement.

Background and recording[edit]


On 17 June 1995, James and Albarn spoke on BBC Radio 1 about coming up with a title for the album;[14] "We've got until this Wednesday, our record company inform us, to come up with it," said Albarn. "We've been trying to get life into it, but nothing was very good – Wifelife, Darklife, Nextlife," added James.

The album is in the style of a concept album, that is, most of the songs are linked by a similar theme—loneliness and detachment. Ten of the fifteen tracks have a distinct reference to being lonely. Damon Albarn subsequently revealed that most, if not all the songs on The Great Escape were about himself, in some form or another (e.g. "Dan Abnormal" is an anagram for "Damon Albarn"). He later admitted that the album would have made "a great musical"[citation needed]. However, dissension over musical direction between Albarn and guitarist Graham Coxon would result in a change in style for the next release, 1997's Blur[citation needed]. Albarn himself stated in 2007, "I've made two bad records. The first album, which is awful, and The Great Escape, which was messy".[15]


"Mr. Robinson's Quango" was the first song recorded for the album,[16] whilst "It Could Be You" was the last, in May 1995.[17] The title of the latter was taken from the original advertising slogan of the United Kingdom's multi-million-pound-prize National Lottery, which had drawn much public interest after its inception the previous year, though the lyric itself refers to gambling in only the most oblique ways.[18]

"Yuko & Hiro" was originally titled "Japanese Workers",[19] whilst "The Universal" was first attempted during the Parklife sessions as a ska number. During the making of The Great Escape the song was resurrected by James, who notes in his autobiography, Bit of a Blur, that the band had almost given up on getting it to work when Albarn came up with the string section.[19]

One song on the album, "Ernold Same", features Ken Livingstone, then an MP and later the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is credited in the sleevenotes as "The Right-On" Ken Livingstone. The character seems to have been named after Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne.[16]

As with Blur's previous two albums, the liner notes also contain guitar chords for each of the songs along with the lyrics.


The album spawned four hit singles for the band with "Country House", "The Universal", "Stereotypes" and "Charmless Man". "Stereotypes" made its debut at a secret gig at the Dublin Castle in London and was considered as the album's lead single, but "Country House" got a bigger reaction from fans.[16] "Country House" gave the band their first number 1 single, beating Oasis to the top spot. "The Universal" and "Charmless Man" both reached the top 5, whilst "Stereotypes" peaked at number 7. In Japan, "It Could Be You" was released as a 4-track single, featuring b-sides recorded live at the Budokan.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree

No. Title Length
1. "Stereotypes"   3:10
2. "Country House"   3:57
3. "Best Days"   4:49
4. "Charmless Man"   3:34
5. "Fade Away"   4:19
6. "Top Man"   4:00
7. "The Universal"   3:58
8. "Mr. Robinson's Quango"   4:02
9. "He Thought of Cars"   4:15
10. "It Could Be You"   3:14
11. "Ernold Same" (featuring Ken Livingstone) 2:07
12. "Globe Alone"   2:23
13. "Dan Abnormal"   3:24
14. "Entertain Me"   4:19
15. "Yuko and Hiro"   5:24
Japanese bonus tracks
No. Title Length
16. "Ultranol"   2:41
17. "No Monsters in Me"   5:14

4:21 into "Yuko & Hiro" is a minute long instrumental reprise of "Ernold Same". Although officially untitled, it is sometimes erroneously referred to as "A World of Change" because these words appear in a separate box below the track list in the booklet.


Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Great Escape – Blur". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Burrows, Marc (1 August 2012). "Album Review: Blur – The Great Escape ('21' reissue)". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  5. ^ Hochman, Steve (1 October 1995). "Blur; 'The Great Escape', Virgin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Cigarettes, Johnny (9 September 1995). "Blur – The Great Escape". NME: 46. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (31 July 2012). "Blur: Blur 21". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Blur: The Great Escape". Q (109): 110. October 1995. 
  9. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 89–90. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  10. ^ Cavanagh, David (October 1995). "The Joy of Essex". Select (64): 104–05. 
  11. ^ Eddy, Chuck (November 1995). "Oasis: (What's the Story) Morning Glory / Blur: The Great Escape". Spin. 11 (8): 124–25. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Blur Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  13. ^ BPI Certified Awards Search British Phonographic Industry. Note: reader must define "Search" parameter as "Blur".
  14. ^ "• discography • blur • the great escape". Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "Digital Spy – Albarn cusses own albums.". Retrieved 11 May 2007. 
  16. ^ a b c "Blur – The Great Escape – album info". 11 September 1995. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "The History of Blur – 1995–1997". 12 August 1995. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Superbrands case studies: The National Lottery – Brand Republic News". Brand Republic. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "The Great Escape". Blur Talk. 17 June 1995. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  20. ^ "Australian chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Austrian chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c Steffen Hung. "Blur - The Great Escape". Retrieved 2015-08-15. 
  23. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (1995). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 
  24. ^ "Dutch chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (1995). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 
  26. ^ "French chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "German album positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  28. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - ALBUM 1995: Altri". Retrieved 2015-08-15. 
  29. ^ "ブラーのCDアルバムランキング" [Blur – best-selling album ranking on the Oricon]. Oricon Style. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "New Zealand chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Norwegian chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  32. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  33. ^ "Swedish chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  34. ^ "Swiss chart positions". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  35. ^ "British chart positions". Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Blur Album & Song Chart History". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  37. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Blur – The Great Escape". Music Canada. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  38. ^ "French album certifications – Blur – The Great Escape" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select BLUR and click OK
  39. ^ "Les Albums Or :" (in French). Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  40. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > November 1995 > Certified Awards (September 1995)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  41. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – Blur – The Great Escape" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  42. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Blur – The Great Escape". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 May 2013.  Enter The Great Escape in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  44. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Zeitgeist by The Levellers
UK number one album
23 September 1995 – 6 October 1995
Succeeded by
Daydream by Mariah Carey