Gorillaz replace U2 at Glastonbury

Gorillaz are to take U2's place as Glastonbury headliners, it was announced today.

The band have been lined up after the Irish superstars were forced to withdraw as singer Bono recuperates following an operation on his spine.

Damon Albarn's band - which also features former Clash stars Mick Jones and Paul Simonon - will now take the top of the bill slot on Friday June 25.

The band called to offer their services after U2 pulled out yesterday when Bono was ordered to rest for two months.

Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis said: "This is going to be Gorillaz' only UK festival appearance, and it'll be a massive audio visual spectacle which will really ignite the Pyramid on the Friday night, with Muse, then Stevie Wonder to follow.

"I'm very excited about Gorillaz' show coming here because they're so open to guests and collaborations.

"The alchemy of Friday's show is going to be astonishing: a perfect, contemporary way to kick off the 40th anniversary celebrations.

Eavis thanked the music industry for rallying round to offer to help out in the last minute search for a headline act.

Gorillaz drew rave reviews for recent shows to promote their third album, Plastic Beach. The shows saw the group drop their guise as cartoon characters for the first time - they had previously appeared as holograms and cartoon characters during shows in 2005.

Albarn created the act with old friend Jamie Hewlett as a side project away from Blur, with a string of guest vocalists joining them live and on record.

Collaborators have included Mos Def, De La Soul and Shaun Ryder.

Bono said he was "heartbroken" yesterday when he announced the band was unable to perform at Glasto.

The band has also been forced to postpone 16 shows on the north American leg of their U2360 Tour.

Bono needed emergency surgery to his spine but is expected to make a full recovery.

Gorillaz previously played the Coachella festival in California last month.

Albarn said today: "It's a terrible thing for U2. Glastonbury is magical.

"Gorillaz will come to life on that stage but we wish Bono all the best."

Hewlett added: "I wasn't sure how Gorillaz would work in a festival environment but Coachella was amazing. I think Glastonbury will be an unbelievable experience for us."