Sir Elton John on why Damon Albarn is the ‘most interesting British musician’

Sir Elton John has described Damon Albarn as the most interesting British musician working today.

The veteran singer-songwriter, 73, hosted the Blur frontman and driving force behind Gorillaz, 52, on his Rocket Hour show on Apple Music 1.

Sir Elton appears on the new Gorillaz new album, Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez, a star-studded affair that also features Robert Smith, Peter Hook, Slowthai and others.

Gorillaz album launch
Damon Albarn and Gorillaz performing in London (Mark Allan/PA)

He said: “I have to tell the people at home why I love you so much, and don’t get embarrassed.

“It’s because out of Blur came Gorillaz, came The Good, The Bad & The Queen, came Monkey, which was an opera way, way back.

“And as an artist and composer I’ve always loved the fact that you did things that you loved and you explored different music and you went for it.

“I don’t think there’s any other British composer that’s ever done that quite like you.

“I have to hand it to you – you are, for me, the most interesting British musician because you’re always going off and doing something and throwing everything behind it.”

Elton John comments
Sir Elton John (Ian West/PA)

Albarn recalled how his nine-year-old niece had recorded the trumpet part of the track Strange Timez, which also features The Cure frontman Smith.

He said: “All I sent (Smith) was a drum beat and not really much chordal information, but this mad freestyle trumpet solo from my niece who was in lockdown.

“She’s only nine. She’s absolutely brilliant. I let her go nuts on it. She’s got two or three notes, but boy does she play.

“And he loved it, and I thought, isn’t that wonderful, my nine-year-old niece and Robert Smith making tunes together, it’s lovely.”

Drummer Tony Allen dies
Tony Allen (Zak Hussein/PA)

Albarn also paid tribute to late Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen, who he collaborated with on a number of occasions.

Allen, who was born in Nigeria, died in April at the age of 79.

Albarn said: “I obviously wanted to mention Tony because he sadly passed this year.

“He really was truly one of my best best friends and I learnt so much, such a beautiful human being, from him.

“He changed my life really when I met him, he profoundly changed my life.”

The full interview airs on Saturday at 5pm.

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