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'Parklife' at 30: Blur Shares Unseen Footage From Music Video Shoot


blur parklife
Source: YouTube

Blur's 1994 album 'Parklife,' which launched Britpop into the mainstream, celebrated its 30th anniversary last week.

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Blur's 1994 album Parklife, which launched Britpop into the mainstream, celebrated its 30th anniversary last week. To commemorate the occasion, the band has shared a newly restored 4K version of the title track's music video and unearthed previously unseen footage from the shoot.

The clip shows the four members of Blur, all looking very young and fresh-faced, goofing around with an ice cream van, a ball, a shopping cart, and several adorable dogs. "Unseen moments from the 'Parklife' video shoot. Great memories from this one," bassist Alex James wrote on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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The original music video was helmed by director Pedro Romhanyi and filmed outside the Pilot pub on the Greenwich Peninsula over two days in August 1994.

The video featured Blur frontman Damon Albarn and actor Phil Daniels, who contributed the song's infamous spoken-word verses, as two door-to-door salesmen who encounter the other members of the band as they go about their work.

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“It was probably the track that was the biggest pain in the butt to record,” producer Stephen Street recalled to NME in 2019. “When we first recorded it, the drums and everything were in time and it just sounded a little bit flat, and at this point Damon was still doing the narration for the vocal. After a while we just couldn’t bring ourselves to work on it. It might not even have made the cut for the record.”

“Phil Daniels had been approached to narrate a poem called ‘The Debt Collector’ to the instrumental that’s on the album, a piece about a really nasty bailiff character, and Phil Daniels was gonna recite it. But Damon still hadn’t come up with the lyric, so we had this band meeting, and we said, well Phil’s been approached anyway, why don’t we get him to have a go at the ‘Parklife’ song instead? He came in and that turned into something we got a lot more excited about, and that’s when we put more sound effects on it, dogs barking, glass smashing, had a lot of fun doing it, and Dave went back in to do a much looser drum take on it. Then it went from the back of the queue for inclusion on the album to the front.”

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Parklife the album, which shot straight to No. 1 on the U.K. charts upon its release in April 1994, was both a critical and commercial success.

“Before Parklife came out, the tide was starting to turn,” Alex James said in the Blur documentary No Distance Left to Run. “There was a sense that something was happening. That we were developing. Word got out that we had some good songs.”

Blur just played Coachella 2024, and it didn't go great. "You'll never see us again, so you might as well f--king sing this!" Albarn admonished the crowd when his attempts to rev up the audience during "Girls & Boys" fell somewhat flat during their performance on the first weekend. On the second week, he told the audience, "This is probably our last gig."


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