Last Friday marked 20 years since four outsiders were drawn together to seize the title of biggest virtual band in the world with the release of their eponymous debut album Gorillaz on 26th March 2001.
Created by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, singer 2D, bassist Murdoc Niccals, drummer Russel Hobbs and Japanese guitar prodigy Noodle were formed following a collision of mishaps, meetings and pure luck to blow up a pre-digital world with their colourful backstory and ground-breaking virtual ways. Based at Kong Studios in West London, the band settled into a life of musical innovation with an eye-wateringly exciting roster of collaborators, a list that includes musical legends, geniuses and future stars from Elton John to Little Simz, MF Doom to Jean-Michel Jarre, Grace Jones to slowthai, Kali Uchis to Sidiki Diabaté, plus so many more.
In celebration of two glorious decades of Gorillaz, 2021 will see the exciting arrival of an all-new G Foot Collection, the band’s very own clothing line, relaunched to celebrate 20 years of the Gorillaz unique style. The band will once again partner with Superplastic for a range of limited-edition toys and digital collectibles with 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel realised in all their vinyl glory.
And later this year the band will release the first in a series of highly-anticipated album reissues, beginning with ‘Gorillaz’, the studio album that started it all. The attic of Kong Studios is a virtual treasure trove of Gorillaz ephemera, a giant biscuit tin of early ideas, deep dive musical moments, demos, early drawings and never-before-seen-or-heard Gorillaz memories. Murdoc Niccals, inspired by his hero Marie Kondo, will tackle that attic with a promise to spark joy in the hearts of fans around the world with a very special physical release featuring an abundance of declassified gems. More details coming soon.
With seven albums to their name, Gorillaz (2001), Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010), The Fall (2011), Humanz (2017), The Now Now (2018) and Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez (2020), Gorillaz is a truly global phenomenon, achieving success in entirely new and unique ways, touring the world from San Diego to Syria, Montevideo to Manchester and winning numerous awards including the coveted Jim Henson Creativity Honor.
The first twenty years of Gorillaz has been non-stop, here are some of the highlights.
- 7 x albums
- 3 x compilation albums – G-Sides (2002), D-Sides (2007), The Singles Collection 2001–2011 (2011)
- 1 x remix album – Laika Come Home (2002)
- 43 x singles
- 3 x DVDs – Phase One: Celebrity Take Down (2002), Demon Days Live (2006), Phase Two: Slowboat to Hades (2008)
- 2 x documentary films – ‘Bananaz’ (2009), ‘Reject False Icons (2019)
- Over 175 live shows, including festivals, in 35 countries to a combined audience of over 3.4 million.
- Debut album Gorillaz (2001) went Gold in Australia.
- Demon Days (2005) went three times platinum in Australia.
- 24 million records sold worldwide to date.
- Over 5 Billion total global Spotify streams to date.
- Awards and accolades include: Grammy Award x 1; MTV Video Music Award x 2; NME Award x 1; MTV Europe Music Award x 3; Billboard Video Music Award x 3; Brit Award x 1; Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity x 1; GAFFA Award (Danish) x 1; GQ Award x 1; Q Award x 4; BT Music Digital Award x 4; UK Music Video Award x 1; Webby Award x 3; BIMA Award x 1; Clio Award x 1; Ivor Novello Award x 1; BMI London Award x 2.
- Nominated for 11 Brit Awards and won Best British Group at the 2018 Brit Awards.
- First ever holographic live performance at the MTV Awards 2005 in Lisbon with De La Soul, ahead of a ground-breaking holographic live performance of Feel Good Inc. at 48th Annual Grammy Awards with Madonna in 2006.
- 2 x books – Rise of the Ogre (2006) and Gorillaz Almanac (2020).
- Escape to Plastic Beach Tour (2010) – the band’s first world tour which marked the first time the live band performed in view of the audience.
- The Hewlett-directed music video for ‘Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)’ made use of YouTube’s 360-degree video format: https://gorill.az/360saturnzbarz
- 2 x Demon Dayz music festivals on 10th June 2017 at Dreamland, Margate, followed by Los Angeles in October 2018.
- Song Machine: Live From Kong – featuring a pioneering mix of animation and live performance – was enjoyed by over one million viewers in more than 120 countries tuned in across the three different livestreams in December 2020.
- The band is recognised by The Guinness Book Of World Records as the planet’s Most Successful Virtual Act.
- The Jim Henson Creativity Honor which acknowledges a new creative voice or unique expression of an idea, was awarded to Gorillaz in 2005.
Twenty years of Gorillaz feature artists:
6LACK, Abra, André 3000, Anthony Hamilton, Azekel, Bashy, Beck, Ben Mendelson, Benjamin Clementine, Bobby Womack, Bootie Brown, Brandon Markell Holmes, Carly Simon, CHAI, D.R.A.M., D12, Daley, Danny Brown, David Attenborough, De La Soul, Del the Funky Homosapien, Dennis Hopper, EarthGang, Ed Case, Elton John, Faia Younan, Fatoumata Diawara, George Benson, Georgia, GoldLink, Grace Jones, Graham Coxon, Gruff Rhys, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ike Turner, Imani Vonshà, James Ford, James Murphy, Jamie Principle, Jean-Michel Jarre, Jehnny Beth, Joan As Police Woman, JPEGMafia, Kali Uchis, Kano, Kelela, Kid Koala, Kilo Kish, Leee John, Little Dragon, Little Simz, London Community Gospel Choir, Lou Reed, Mark E. Smith, Martina Topley-Bird, Mavis Staples, MF DOOM, Mick Jones, Miho Hatori, Mike Will Made It, Moonchild Sanelly, Mos Def, Neneh Cherry, Noel Gallagher, Octavian, Paul Simonon, Pauline Black, Peter Hook, Peven Everett, Phi Life Cypher, Popcaan, Pusha T, Rag’n’Bone Man, Ray BLK, Robert Smith, Roberto Fonseca, Roots Manuva, Roxani Arias, San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus, Schoolboy Q, Shaun Ryder, Sidiki Diabaté, Simon Tong, Sinfonia ViVA, Skepta, Slaves, Slowthai, Snoop Dogg, Soulchild, St. Vincent, Sweetie Irie, Terry Hall, The Bees, The Syrian National Orchestra, Tina Weymouth, Tony Allen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vince Staples, Yukimi Nagano, Zebra Katz.
SHOP THE GORILLAZ MERCH COLLECTION HERE