Partly adapted and added to substantially from a previous blog posting back in August 2013:-
One night back in late 2000, while suffering from insomnia, I caught a glimpse of a cartoon video of on MTV. It must have been around 3am or something. My ears immediately picked up on a great tune and what sounded awfully like the vocals of Damon Albarn. But quite clearly, this was not anything by Blur.
Unusually, no information on the video came up at the end. But I was determined to track it down. By pure chance, I was in a favourite record shop in Glasgow a couple of days later and amidst my browsing, I saw something which had a title that was awfully like the mystery track.
So, I asked the guys in the shop to let me hear it. And I was right. So I bought it, and waited on it becoming a massive hit. But nothing happened:-
mp3: Gorillaz – Tomorrow Comes Today
It was originally released as a four-track EP on 27 November 2000. I still think of Gorillaz as being a relatively new addition to the music scene, so I’m terrified/horrified/gob-smacked that it has been a full twenty years.
Here’s the other tracks on the EP:-
mp3: Gorillaz – Rock The House
mp3: Gorillaz – Latin Simone
mp3: Gorillaz – 12D3
It would take only a further four months for the band/group/act to make the commercial breakthrough, with Clint Eastwood being a Top 5 single and the self-titled debut album going Top 3 in the UK, eventually selling almost a million copies. Greater success followed in 2005 when Feel Good Inc (featuring De La Soul) and Dare (featuring Shawn Ryder) went to #2 and #1 respectively, with parent album Demon Days selling 1.8 million copies.
There have been five albums since, all of which have charted high in the charts, but without selling copious amounts – for instance, Humanz (2017) reached #2 in the albums chart, but sold only 100,000 copies.
Tomorrow Comes Today, after its low-key release in 2000, would be included on the debut album and would be re-released as a single in March 2002, when it reached #33. It was the fourth single to be lifted from the debut album, but rather unusually, it was issued after a non-album single had been released in December 2001:-
mp3: Gorillaz (feat. D12 and Terry Hall) – 911
The song was recorded by Gorillaz and D12 (sans Eminem) in Damon Albarn’s personal studio in West London. The track came about after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City had left D12 stranded in England; Damon Albarn invited the band to his studio and played them an early demo of the track. Albarn had always wanted to experiment with Middle-Eastern music, and felt that this song would be perfect. D12 added additional production to the song, before laying down their verses. Terry Hall appears on the song as a vocal harmony with Albarn for the song’s chorus. Albarn and Hall had previously spoken about collaborating together, however when Hall revealed that he had been taking singing lessons from a Middle-Eastern singer, it inspired Albarn to take the song in a different direction.
It was made available as a download from the Gorillaz website, but in a very low key way, with a number of white-label 12″ vinyl copies also distributed around. It’s a quite extraordinary piece of music…..and one I wasn’t aware of until earlier this year when I began to think about a possible ICA for Gorillaz.