Clint Eastwood (song)

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"Clint Eastwood"
Single by Gorillaz featuring Del the Funky Homosapien
from the album Gorillaz
Released5 March 2001
  • 5:58 (single version)
  • 5:41 (album version)
  • 3:44 (original mix edit)
Gorillaz singles chronology
"Tomorrow Comes Today"
"Clint Eastwood"
Del the Funky Homosapien singles chronology
"If You Must"
"Clint Eastwood"
"Rock the House"
Music video
"Clint Eastwood" on YouTube
Audio sample

"Clint Eastwood" is a song by British virtual band Gorillaz, released as the first single from their self-titled debut album in March 2001. The song is named after the actor of the same name due to its similarity to the theme music of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.[6]

The song is a mix of electronic music, dub, hip hop and rock. The verses are rapped by Del the Funky Homosapien, portrayed as a blue phantom in the video, while the chorus is sung by Damon Albarn (2D in the video). It peaked at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number one in Italy and charted within the top 20 of many countries around the world. The single has sold 600,000 copies in the UK and has been certified platinum by the BPI. Rolling Stone ranked it number 38 on its 100 best songs of the 2000s.[7] In October 2011, NME placed it at number 141 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[8] The magazine also ranked it at number 347 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[9]


Demo versions of "Clint Eastwood" were originally recorded by Damon Albarn on a four-track using a drum machine and guitar. A re-recording similar to these demos was recorded into Logic for use as a backing track. The strings featured in the song are from a string machine, the Solina String Ensemble. According to engineer, Jason Cox, "Damon gave us the OK to set fire to it on stage, but we said 'No, you can't set fire to that! It's a classic!'", and it ended up being used on the song as well as some other tracks on the album.[10] The drums are provided by a drum machine and the main instrument used in the song is the melodica, which Albarn used to make the basic track as well.[10]

Alternative versions[edit]

Studio versions[edit]

Some of the single releases featured an alternative version of the song which featured British hip hop group Phi Life Cypher, who also feature on the group's B-side "The Sounder". This was the original version.[10]

Live versions[edit]

For some live performances of the song, alternative rappers are used. For the 2005 Demon Days tour, a version of the song featuring De La Soul and Bootie Brown, who have also appeared in "Feel Good Inc.", "Superfast Jellyfish" and "Dirty Harry", was written and recorded. This version was released on the CD single of "DARE". During the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour, a third version of the track, featuring British rapper Tinie Tempah, was written and performed. During July 2010, when Tempah was unable to make tour performances, a fourth version of the song, featuring Tempah's verses performed by British grime MC's Kano & Bashy, was devised. Snoop Dogg also performed a rap during the group's 2010 Glastonbury performance. During the group's Asian tour dates, a fifth version of the song, featuring all new verses from Lebanese-Syrian rapper Eslam Jawaad, was performed.[11]

During Gorillaz co-creator Damon Albarn's 2014 solo tour for Everyday Robots, he performed the song live with Dan The Automator and Del The Funky Homosapien for the first time.[12][13] Later in the tour, he played the song with new guest rappers like Vic Mensa, while also bringing back rappers who have previously performed the song with Gorillaz like Bashy and Snoop Dogg.[14]

Music video[edit]

The animated music video was directed by Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland. It starts with the Gorillaz logo in red against a black screen, and the following quote from the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead: "Every dead body that is not exterminated, gets up and kills. The people it kills, get up and kill" in Japanese then in English. This phrase was deemed offensive in some countries and a censored version was produced that omits this intro. The video and song name is a reference to the famous western starring actor Clint Eastwood, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. An interpolation of the yell from the film's theme song, in particular that film's protagonist Tuco's leitmotif, can be heard at the beginning of the video, followed by sinister laughter from Murdoc. The notes that the melodica plays are also based on the yell.

The band is seen playing their music against a completely white backdrop. 2-D is seen wearing a T-Virus shirt most likely referencing Resident Evil. Russel's cap then begins to mysteriously rise on its own, and the ghost of Del appears to be emerging from under it. He begins to rap, leaving the other band members dumbfounded, and the backdrop slowly develops dark clouds in the sky, and enormous tombstones start to burst out of the ground, and the scene becomes that of a cemetery, as a shower of rain and thunderstorm begins. Shortly afterwards, zombie gorilla hands rise up from the ground. Murdoc is grabbed by the crotch and pulled to the ground, a reference to the Peter Jackson zombie film Braindead. Seconds later, the zombie gorillas themselves rise up. Murdoc immediately flees at the sight of them, with a number of them pursuing him. He then turns and glares at them out of frustration at his inability to escape, and the zombie apes engage in a bizarre dance routine before Murdoc is knocked back by a lightning; this dance routine is similar to the choreography of Michael Jackson's music video "Thriller".[15]

Noodle is then shown joyfully skipping along, almost as if she is completely unaware of her surroundings, and in her playful skipping, she delivers a hard kick to one of the zombie gorillas in the face. Immediately afterwards, Del is then sucked back into Russel's head as the gorillas all disintegrate, and the band members are left standing in the cemetery, now bright with sunlight. The video then concludes with a split screen showing each of the four band members and their names. The video has a running time of 4:32, which is significantly different from the album version, which runs for approximately 5:42, however, the album version features about 1:10 of the backing track playing with no vocals over the top. The BPM of the music video is also slightly slower than that of the album version. The video for "Clint Eastwood" won an award at the Rushes Soho Short Film Festival Awards in 2001, defeating entries by Blur, Fatboy Slim, Radiohead and Robbie Williams.[16]

Regarding Eastwood[edit]

In 2001, Hewlett and Albarn indicated that they had not received any feedback from Clint Eastwood himself over the song.[17] Albarn expressed a desire to send the actor some of the band's merchandise as a mark of respect, and said, "I'm sure Clint Eastwood would like [the song]. He's an intelligent man."[17]


Alex Needham of NME praised the Ed Case Refix, stating that it "hauls [the track] down the dancefloor of Twice As Nice, where all the disparate elements fall into place and the jarring culture clash suddenly makes perfect sense. A little shift in perspective and, suddenly, you've got a west London Basement Jaxx, embodying a more interesting - and accurate - vision of England than anything Blur (Albarn's other project) have dared to attempt."[18]

Track listing[edit]

  • CD single
  1. "Clint Eastwood" – 5:55
  2. "Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case and Sweetie Irie refix) (edit) – 3:42
  3. "Dracula" – 4:44
  4. "Clint Eastwood" (enhanced video) – 4:25
  • 12-inch vinyl
  1. "Clint Eastwood" – 5:55
  2. "Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case and Sweetie Irie refix) (edit) – 3:42
  3. "Clint Eastwood" (Phi Life Cypher version) – 4:54
  • Cassette
  1. "Clint Eastwood" (album version) – 5:40
  2. "Clint Eastwood" (Ed Case and Sweetie Irie refix) (edit) – 3:42
  3. "Dracula" – 4:44

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]