Ongoing History Daily: Blur’s multi-million-dollar joke

Some songs take forever to write while others emerge fully formed within minutes. Take the case of Blur back in 1997.

At the time, they were riding really high but were still distrustful of their record company. They decided to test that relationship. Damon Albarn was working on an acoustic song for the next album which he then showed the rest of the band. Guitarist Graham Coxon didn’t like it, so he suggested that they speed it up really fast and make it sloppy, and deliberately horrible and give it to the label saying that it was to be the new single.

Blur hadn’t even bothered to give it a name, calling it “Song 2” because it was the second track they recorded for the album. The whole thing came together in about 15 minutes.

To their surprise, the label loved it and said “Yes! This is your single!” “Song 2 ”would go on to become Blur’s most successful and enduring track,” an inside joke that has earned them millions.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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