Sir Elton John has praised Damon Albarn as a “special” songwriter.

The 73-year-old singer has collaborated with a number of different artists this year but the most important for him was playing piano and lending vocals on ‘The Pink Phantom’ for Gorillaz’ latest project 'Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez' because he enjoyed working with the frontman so much.

He said: “This year I've worked with Ozzy Osbourne, Lady Gaga, Surfaces and a Charlie Puth track that hasn't come out yet.

"I've been in a Teyana Taylor video. But Damon really is special. He's someone who I really, really admire.”

The ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ hitmaker hailed Damon a “British jewel” for his diverse body of work and throwing himself into projects that interest him, rather than focusing on what will be commercially successful.

He told Record Collector magazine: "When you see what he's done, when you compare him and Blur with Oasis - including the last Blur album [2015's 'Magic Whip'], which is a masterpiece - and then you look at what he's done outside of Blur, he's just done so many different things.

"And he's just finished an opera that just opened in Paris.

"I think he's a British jewel because he just does what he wants and, for him, success is just working with great musicians like Tony Allen, just doing things that interest him.

"I mean, for f***'s sake, he did an album with Bobby Womack! So this is a mind I admire because he's always looking forward."

When writing a song, Elton likes to seize an idea quickly and found Damon opts for a similar process.

He explained: "Damon Albarn is the same. I was talking to him about the first Gorillaz album, which I love.

"I said, 'How did you do it?' And he said, 'I just wrote it when I felt like it.' You have to be in the mood."