Damon Albarn will always be grateful to soul star Bobby Womack for sharing his musical knowledge with him in the years before his death. The pair became close friends after the British rocker helped Womack achieve a career comeback by involving him in his band Gorillaz, and Albarn insists he will never forget the veteran musician's lessons.
He tells BBC Radio 4's The Last Word show, "In a strange way, I find it very hard to sort of accept that he's not there anymore... For me, he feels very present and I don't quite understand why... He taught me things that will never leave me, and he will never leave me."
The Blur star also recalls working with Womack for the first time, revealing there was a scare in the studio when the star suffered a bout of hypoglycaemia due to his diabetes,
Albarn explains, "He literally just stood there for 45 minutes just singing. Finally at the end there was a silence. I put my arm around him and he was quite cold. I thought maybe he was going to collapse. Some sort of inner voice said to me, 'Go and get him a banana'. And I came back and gave him the banana and he was absolutely fine, but I had no idea he had diabetes."
Womack passed away last month (Jun14), aged 70.
Rocker Peter Gabriel has paid tribute to Bobby Womack following the soul legend's death on Friday (27Jun14). The Across 110th Street singer was billed to headline Gabriel's WOMAD festival in England at the end of the month (Jul14).
The former Genesis star, who co-founded the world music event, says, "I'm very sad to learn of Bobby Womack's death. We were very proud to be having him closing this year's WOMAD Charlton Park. His songs and his voice have been so much a part of the fabric of so many musical lives.
"He was a soul legend and will leave a big hole."
Other celebrity tributes to Womack have been posted by Ronnie Wood, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake and Damon Albarn, who helped to revive the soul veteran's career by inviting him to join the Gorillaz in 2010.
Bobby Womack's friend and collaborator Damon Albarn has joined stars including Ronnie Wood, Justin Timberlake and Ronald Isley to pay tribute to the soul legend following his death on Friday (27Jun14). The music veteran, who had suffered from Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer, passed away at the age of 70, but no further details were available as WENN went to press.
Womack's death sent the music world into mourning, prompting tributes from his famous friends and fans, including Blur star Albarn, who helped the music veteran achieve a career revival in recent years by collaborating with him on a Gorillaz track and inviting him on tour.
Albarn mourned his friend's loss in a post on Twitter.com, writing, "I will see my brother in church @RealBobbyWomack."
Rolling Stones star Ronnie Wood was among the first to pay tribute to Womack, tweeting, "I'm so sad to hear about my friend Bobby Womack - the man who could make you cry when he sang has brought tears to my eyes with his passing.
"My heart goes out to his family & friends and everyone who loved his music. Bobby you will be greatly missed."
The Rolling Stones recorded Womack's song It's All Over Now.
Pop star Justin Timberlake also marked the sad news by taking to Twitter to write, "One of THE BEST to ever do it. You've inspired so much out of me and will continue to do so... #RIPBobbyWomack," while CeeLo Green added, "RIP Bobby Womack... Heroes get remembered, but legends never die #RIPBobbyWomack."
Funk legend George Clinton offered up an online message to remember Womack, along with Anita Baker and Angie Stone and fellow soul icon Ronald Isley, of the Isley Brothers, who wrote, "I am sad to hear of the passing of my long time friend Bobby Womack. He was a special person with a special talent. I will truly miss him."
Rockers including Red Hot Chili Peppers star Flea, Matt Sorum and Gerard Way also joined the flood of tributes, along with stars from the hip-hop world, led by Wyclef Jean, OutKast's Big Boi, 50 Cent, Q-Tip and Public Enemy.
Womack was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, and his passing prompted a statement from organisation officials. The message reads, "Sad to learn that soul legend and 2009 Rock and Roll HOF Inductee Bobby Womack has passed away."
Soul legend Bobby Womack has died at the age of 70. The singer passed away on Friday (27Jun14).
A former member of family gospel groups the Womack Brothers and the Valentinos, he went solo in 1965 and released his debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968.
His hits included Across 110th Street, That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha, Woman's Gotta Have It and If You Think You're Lonely Now.
Womack's successes were tinged with personal tragedy and controversy - he struggled with the deaths of his brother Harry and sons Vincent and Truth. Vincent committed suicide and four-month-old Truth died in 1978 after falling into a coma at the Womack family home in Woodland Hills, California.
In one of his final interviews, the soul star told WENN he never truly got over the tragedy and still blamed himself for leaving the baby unattended on a bed.
He said, "The baby had fallen down between the bed and the wall and he suffocated and that was the biggest hurt ever in my life."
The tragedy turned Womack onto hard drugs, which eventually robbed him of his creative edge, and he spent decades trying to get his passion for songwriting back.
He explained, "That death led to 'There's gotta be a better way... and from there, away I went. Every time I heard somebody had died - instead of going to the funeral, I'd go and get high.
"Eventually I reached out to God and said, 'Look, I'm in trouble. I don't even know who I am'. I wanted to get the true feeling back... My passion for music never died; I was just trying to figure out how you get it back."
He spent much of the 1980s battling his drug demons, eventually checking into rehab.
Womack also split fans of his music when he married late mentor Sam Cooke's wife Barbara three months after his death in 1964.
He suffered a series of health setbacks, including diabetes, pneumonia and colon cancer, and last year (13) he revealed he had been diagnosed with memory-robbing Alzheimer's disease.
The music veteran enjoyed a career revival thanks to British rocker Damon Albarn, who invited the soul man to join the Gorillaz on 2010 track Stylo. Womack also toured extensively with the group.
Albarn then produced his acclaimed 2012 comeback album, The Bravest Man in the Universe, Womack's first release in more than a decade.
The star was in the process of recording the follow-up, tentatively titled The Best Is Yet to Come, at the time of his death.
He recently told WENN that his new music included collaborations with Snoop Dogg and duets with Stevie Wonder and Rod Stewart. He had also reworked a cover of Billy Preston's With You I'm Born Again.
Bobby Womack was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
Paul Weller has joined former The Verve rocker Simon Tong in the studio for a collaboration. The former The Jam frontman teamed up with Tong, who left The Verve in 1999, to perform on a single by his band Erland And The Carnival.
Weller played guitar and sang backing vocals on the track called Quiet Love, which will appear on the group's new album Closing Time.
Speaking about the tune, Tong says, "It has a slight George Harrison feel, and it helped sway us to add strings to the album."
Weller is not the first high-profile musician Tong has worked with - he temporarily joined Blur to replace guitarist Graham Coxon and later worked with frontman Damon Albarn in Gorillaz and in supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen.
DJ and producer Calvin Harris is back on top of the U.K. charts. The Scottish hitmaker has scored his sixth number one single with his latest track Summer.
Last week's number one, Waves by Mr Probz, falls to two, while Kiesza's Hideaway rounds out the new top three.
On the album chart, Paolo Nutini scores a third week at number one with Caustic Love, while Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn debuts his solo album, Everyday Robots, at number two.
Imelda May's Tribal, Paloma Faith's A Perfect Contradiction and Embrace's self-titled album round out the top five.
Damon Albarn has defended pro-heroin remarks he made in a recent interview, insisting he won't be apologising for revealing the drug helped him creatively. The Blur and Gorillaz frontman stunned fans and critics alike earlier this month (Apr14) when he confessed to using the illegal drug during his relationship with Elastica star Justine Frischmann at the height of the Britpop explosion.
He enraged anti-drug activists by revealing heroin prompted a "very creative" period, but Albarn insists he does not regret opening up about his use of banned substances.
Speaking about the comments in a new Time Out interview, he explains, "I don't totally see it as a mistake. That's the point. It was part of me growing up... I didn't go out and look for it.
"I turned up at my house and there it was, made on the table. What should I have done? Leave my life and reject it or stay in my own house with my girlfriend and somehow assimilate it into my life?"
Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett has been commissioned to create an illustration for an upcoming exhibition at London's British Library. Hewlett, who previously worked on the Tank Girl comic, will provide a piece for the Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK show which runs from 2 May (14) to 19 August (14).
Blur and Gorillaz star Damon Albarn has signed up to headline a castle festival in Serbia. The singer will front the EXIT Festival in July (14), joining a line-up that includes Disclosure, Rudimental and Skrillex. The event will take place over three days at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad.
The Clash stars Mick Jones and Paul Simonon have reteamed to record a new track with Frank Ocean. The punk icons, who also joined forces as part of Damon Albarn's Gorillaz, have recorded Hero with Ocean and in-demand DJ/producer Diplo.
The song is part of Converse's Three Artists, One Song series, which has previously brought together collaborations between Gorillaz, and Andre 3000 and The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams and Santigold.
Hero will be available to download from 10 March (14) on Converse's Tumblr page.
Talking about his all-star collaboration, Diplo says, "The Clash were always teachers to me, even before I shared a studio with Paul and Mick. Their musical anarchy and constant attitude to disregard rules and forge their own path was inspirational to me. They meant death to genres, music and message above everything.
"Frank lives by the same creed in being married to his vision and seeing it through at any cost. We had to challenge each other to make something that we hope no one could expect and Converse valued everyone's artistic freedom to let us shine throughout the past few months to make this thing happen."