Gorillaz is a musical project created in 1998 by Damon Albarn of Alternative rock band Blur and British cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book “Tank Girl.” The project consists of the Gorillaz music itself and an extensive fictional universe depicting a virtual band of comic book characters. The band is composed of four animated members, 2D (lead vocalist, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar and occasional vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). Their fictional universe is explored through the band's website and music videos, as well as a number of other media. The music is a collaboration between various musicians, Albarn being the only permanent musical contributor. Their style is a composition of multiple musical genres, with a large number of influences including, dub, hip-hop, alternative rock, electronic and pop music.
The band's 2001 debut album “Gorillaz” sold over seven million copies and earned them an entry in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the Most Successful Virtual Band. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band's request. The album reached #3 in the U.K., and was a hit in the U.S., hitting #14 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. “Clint Eastwood” was the first single from the album and peaked at #4 on the U.K. Singles Chart, #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and #3 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. “19-2000” was the second single and peaked at #6 on the U.K. Singles chart and #23 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Their second studio album, “Demon Days,” was released in 2005 and went 5x platinum in the U.K. and double platinum in the U.S. The album featured contributions from De La Soul, Neneh Cherry, Martina Topley-Bird, Roots Manuva, MF DOOM, Ike Turner, Bootie Brown of the Pharcyde, Shaun Ryder, Dennis Hopper, the London Community Gospel Choir and the Children's Choir of San Fernandez. “Demon Days” entered the U.K. Albums chart at #1 and the Billboard 200 at #6. The album has sold over ten million copies as of 2010. “Demon Days” lead single, “Feel Good Inc.” became Gorillaz' biggest hit reaching #2 in the U.K., #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album's second single, “Dare” featuring Shaun Ryder, became a big hit as well, giving the band their first #1 single in the U.K. In 2006, Gorillaz earned five Grammy Award nominations and received their first win for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals award for the song “Feel Good Inc.”
“Plastic Beach” was released in 2010 on Parlophone and Virgin Records and featured guest appearances by several artists, including Snoop Dogg, Gruff Rhys, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, Mark E. Smith, Paul Simonon, Kano, Little Dragon and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The album debuted at #2 on the U.K. Albums chart and on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. The album produced four singles, “Stylo” which peaked at #24 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, “Superfast Jellyfish” which peaked at #28 on the U.K. Dance chart, “On Melancholy Hill” which peaked at #78 on U.K. Singles chart and “Rhinestone Eyes” which peaked at #34 on the Billboard Songs Alternative chart.
Gorillaz released “The Fall” on Christmas Day 2010 as a free download on the band’s website. It was physically released in April 2011. The entire album was recorded on group founder Damon Albarn's Apple iPad, during the American leg of the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour in October 2010, and mixed in England by Stephen Sedgwick.