Members: Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett
Genre: Alternative rock, electronic rock, alternative hip-hop
Hometown: Essex, England
Albums: Gorillaz, (2001), Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010)
Awards: 1 Grammy
Hits: "Clint Eastwood", "Feel Good Inc."
Other: A virtual band created by British cartoonist Jamie Hewlett and British musician Damon Albarn.
The virtual band Gorillaz has been one of the most innovative and creative musical endeavors of the last 10 years, and since its creation in 1998, the project has continued to be among the best-selling acts across the globe.
Gorillaz was the idea of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, who created the concept of a virtual band as a comment on the vapid nature of MTV in the late 90s. The pair created a quartet of characters who would act as the members of the band while they created the music. The band includes members 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. With Hewlett providing the visuals, Albarn recorded the band's first songs "Ghost Train" and "Rock the House" with help from fellow musician Del the Funky Homosapien and producer Dan the Automator.
Although they had experimented with their sound in their first few tracks, Gorillaz first full-length release was their self-titled album in March 2001. Along with "Rock the House," it also included the hit "Clint Eastwood," which enjoyed mainstream success. The album reached number three on the U.K. charts, and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
While they found a great deal of success with their first album, their 2005 follow-up, Demon Days, was even more popular. In addition to reaching number one on the U.K. charts, it peaked at number three in the United States, where it sold more than 10 million copies. Thanks to hit songs like "Feel Good Inc." and "Dirty Harry," it garnered praise from music critics as well.
"Fell Good Inc." is widely considered to be one of their most popular mainstream hits, and was nominated for several Grammy's in 2006, including Record of the Year. It ultimately won for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. It also gave them the opportunity to perform live in front of a national audience, something the group rarely does.
Gorillaz's third and most recent album, Plastic Beach, was released in 2010. Due to the success of the previous two productions, it featured a number of guest appearances. Snoop Dogg, Mos Def and Lou Reed all contributed on the album, adding to the long list of artists who have lent their musical stylings to the unique group.
Despite having an ever-changing group of contributors, Gorillaz still maintains a consistent sound that has continued to impress listeners with its creativity and commentary on the state of popular music.