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Damon Albarn covers The Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ for BBC live session

Albarn is set to release his new solo album this Friday

By Emma Kelly

Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn (Credit: Linda Brownlee)

Damon Albarn has performed a piano-led cover of The Human League classic ‘Don’t You Want Me’ for BBC Radio 2’s ‘Sofa Session’.

The Blur frontman covered the 1981 hit while appearing on Jo Whiley’s Radio 2 show last night (November 10) ahead of the release of his new solo album ‘The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows’.

Albarn explained his choice ahead of performing “Don’t You Want Me’, saying: “I love The Human League. Although, a disclaimer: when it should go really high I don’t because I don’t have the range.”

The singer also performed a stripped back version of Blur’s ‘Beetlebum’, joking: “I was gonna do ‘Country House’ but I couldn’t make it miserable enough. However hard I tried.”

Albarn opened his ‘Sofa Session’ with live renditions of ‘Royal Morning Blue’ and ‘Polaris’, both taken from his new album, which is out tomorrow (November 12).

The melancholic performances were a preview of Albarn’s piano tour, which kicks on on December 2 in York.

Albarn will also play dates in Norwich, Newcastle and Glasgow before wrapping in Coventry on December 7.

02 – York Minster, York
04 – UEA, Norwich
05 – The Boiler Shop, Newcastle
06 – St. Luke’s, Glasgow
07 – Empire, Coventry

Explaining that his new album helped lift him out of the “storms” of lockdown, the Gorillaz frontman told NME: “I just felt like the beginning of this year was so grim and I had to do something to lift me out of those, I wouldn’t call doldrums, but storms – those terrible north wind storms that you get down by the sea in Devon sometimes.”

Elsewhere, another Philip Oakey song got a pared-down cover this month. The Human League frontman’s collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, ‘Together In Electric Dreams’, soundtracks this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert.

Singer-songwriter Lola Young performs the classic song for the ad, which follows a young boy helping an alien girl celebrate her first Christmas.