|Single by Blur|
|from the album 13|
|Released||22 February 1999|
|Format||7-inch vinyl, cassette, 2×CD|
|Length||7:40 (album version) |
4:30 (radio edit)
|Albarn / Coxon / James / Rowntree|
|Blur singles chronology|
"Tender" is a 1999 song by English rock band Blur. Written by the four band members about Damon Albarn's breakup with Justine Frischmann, the song became Blur's eleventh top-ten hit on the UK Singles Chart, debuting and peaking at number two on 28 February 1999. It also reached the top 20 in Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Spain, and it was the band's last major hit in several territories.
The song's lyrics, written by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon, describe the breakup between Albarn and Justine Frischmann, then the lead singer of Britpop band Elastica. Frischmann revealed in an interview with the British newspaper The Observer that she cried the first time she heard the song, then felt embarrassed and angered before she calmed down. The vocals are shared on the track with backing vocals provided by the London Community Gospel Choir. The line "Tender is the night", and the name of the song, is a reference to the novel Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose title was in turn a quotation from Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale".
During Coxon's hiatus from the group, Blur continued to perform the song live with Albarn asking the audience to sing Coxon's lines; "Oh my baby/Oh my baby/Oh why?/Oh my". At Blur's headline appearance at Reading Festival in 2003, he introduced the song by saying "I don't want, for one moment, to be a sentimental but... Graham wrote this song as well... you know the bits he sings and I want you to sing them as loudly as you possibly can. Everyone needs to sing this song." Drummer Dave Rowntree would also sing Coxon's lines on occasion. In July 2009 when Blur re-formed, Coxon's lines in "Tender" were repeated and sung powerfully by the audience to call Blur back to stage at Glastonbury, Hyde Park and T in the Park.
It is the first track on Blur's sixth album 13 and was also released as the lead single before the album's release. The single reached number two on the UK Singles Chart - kept off number one by Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time". "Tender" was nominated in the category of Best British Single at the 2000 BRIT Awards. However, the award was won by Robbie Williams for "She's the One". The song's release date had been brought forward to challenge a concern over Japanese imports.
The video for the song is a live studio performance, filmed in black-and-white, featuring the band and a group of backing singers. Like Blur's earlier video for "End of a Century", it does not use the studio version's audio track. An official video for this track was recorded by Sophie Muller (director of the promo videos for "Beetlebum" and "Song 2"), but it was never released as the band simply did not like it. Initially, the track "Swamp Song" was slated to appear as one of the single's B-sides, but was promoted to the parent album 13. The appearance of "Song 2" on the single was a last-minute substitution. A remix of the song by Cornelius was released on the "No Distance Left to Run" single.
Blue 7" vinyl / Cassette
The song is featured during the ending credits of the final episode of the 2018 five-part Showtime Limited drama miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose.