May 1994.

Blur had just enjoyed their biggest chart hit to date with Girls & Boys. The song chosen as the follow-up single was a bit of surprise. Instead of taking the easy way out with another upbeat indie-pop number, the boys went for a very sad ballad, complete with lush orchestration and some lyrics that needed subtitles:-

mp3 : Blur – To The End

It climbed to #16 in the charts which was higher than most of the band’s previous eight singles, but was probably something of a disappointment to all concerned at the time. The co-vocal is provided by Laetitia Sadier who was at the time part of the wonderful Stereolab.

The single was released in 2 x CD format, with one of the formats featuring a couple of non-album tracks:-

mp3 : Blur – Threadneedle Street
mp3 : Blur – Got Yer!

Both tracks are perhaps a little bit Blur by numbers, but that doesn’t mean they are dull and boring. Got Yer! in fact must have been a candidate for inclusion on the LP Parklife as one of those odd little tracks that the band were fond of using to break up the pop songs.

Of much more interest was the fact that two versions of the Pet Shop Boys remix of Girls & Boys were made available on the other format:-

mp3 : Blur – Girls & Boys (Pet Shop Boys 7″ remix)
mp3 : Blur – Girls & Boys (Pet Shop Boys 12″ remix)

Some 15 months later, an awful lot of people would find themselves owning a new, longer, lusher and more French version of To The End thanks to its inclusion as one of the tracks on the smash single Country House:-

mp3 : Blur – To The End (comedie)

This time the co-vocal was provided by the iconic chanteuse Francoise Hardy whose recording career stretches back to 1962. She was 50 years of age when she sang alongside Damon Albarn which seemed ancient to me back then.  I’m now nearly 51 years old………………


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