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"Country House"
Single by Blur
from the album The Great Escape
Released 14 August 1995
Format 7" vinyl, cassette, CD
Recorded 1995
Genre Britpop
Length 3:57
Label Food
Producer Stephen Street
Blur singles chronology
"End of a Century"
(1994)
"Country House"
(1995)
"The Universal"
(1995)
Music video
"Country House" at YouTube (requires Adobe Flash)

"Country House" is a song by the English alternative rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single from the band's fourth album The Great Escape on 14 August 1995. "Country House" was the first of two Blur singles to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart (the second being 1997's "Beetlebum"). The song is about a man who retires to an expensive country house to escape the pressures of the city. In an interview for the South Bank Show, Damon Albarn explained that it was inspired by former Blur manager Dave Balfe, who left Blur's label Food Records and bought a house in the country. The cover art features an image of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria (the image is horizontally flipped).

The song received a great deal of attention when Blur's label Food Records moved the original release date to be on the same day as Oasis's "Roll With It". The British media had already reported an intense rivalry between the two bands and this clash of releases was seen as a battle for the number one spot. "Country House" won Blur the Battle of Britpop ("Roll With It" coming in at No. 2 and having marginally fewer sales) but The Great Escape was beaten by Oasis's album (What's the Story) Morning Glory on sales. Incidentally, "Country House" features the lines "He's got morning glory/And life's a different story" which is largely assumed to have been a jab at Oasis. However, Blur actually recorded the song before Oasis had completed, let alone released, the Morning Glory album. With dance act Jamiroquai also having recorded a song named "Morning Glory" in the mid-1990s, it is possible that may have been the influence behind that line, while some have suggested that the line was a jibe at Julian Cope, who was known for using LSD. It may, however, simply have been a reference to waking up with an erection (an event for which "morning glory" is a British slang expression).

Contents

Music video

The video for "Country House" was directed by artist Damien Hirst, who had attended Goldsmiths, University of London with members of Blur. It features Keith Allen as a businessman trapped in a giant board game called "Escape from the Rat Race". The band appears in the video alongside British comic actors Matt Lucas and Sara Stockbridge and model Jo Guest. It features pastiches of - or tributes to - Benny Hill (Lucas' doctor chasing scantily clad young women culminating in the entry of the milk van of Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)) and Queen's 1975 video for "Bohemian Rhapsody". It was nominated for Best Video in the 1996 BRIT Awards.

A candlestick from the video sold on eBay for £92 in March 2005, though it was estimated to be worth £500.[1]

Promotion and release

On Sunday 20 August 1995 the charts were officially announced. (The Chart Show announced the winner the day before, though the show's chart was unofficial) "Country House" topped the British singles chart, selling 270,000 copies, compared to 220,000 sold by "Roll with It", which came in at number two. Albarn himself was surprised that "Country House" topped the charts. He told NME, "I sort of believed all the papers, including NME, who told me Oasis were going to win."[2]

Track listings

  • 7" and Cassette
  1. "Country House"
  2. "One Born Every Minute"
  • CD1
  1. "Country House"
  2. "One Born Every Minute"
  3. "To The End (la comedie)"
  • CD2
  1. "Country House" (live)
  2. "Girls & Boys" (live)
  3. "Parklife" (live)
  4. "For Tomorrow" (live)
  • Japan CD
  1. "Country House"
  2. "One Born Every Minute"
  3. "To The End (la comedie)"
  4. "Charmless Man"

Production credits

  • "Country House" and "Charmless Man" produced by Stephen Street
  • "One Born Every Minute" produced by Blur and John Smith
  • "To the End (la comedie)" produced by Stephen Hague, Blur and John Smith

References

  • Harris, John. Britpop! Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock, 2004. ISBN 0-306-81367-X
  • Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop. Passion Pictures, 2004.

Footnotes

  1. ^ Country House at songfacts.com.
  2. ^ "Cockney revels". NME 26 August 1995.
Preceded by
"Never Forget" by Take That
UK Singles Chart
Number 1 single

20 August 1995 – 3 September 1995
Succeeded by
"You Are Not Alone"
by Michael Jackson
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