Blur (formed 1988)
Blur is an English alternative pop band. They rose to fame in the 1990s when the UK music press created the 'Britpop' phenomenon. The lineup of the band consists of Damon Albarn (vocals), Dave Rowntree (drums), Graham Coxon (guitar) and Alex James (bass).
The Early Years: Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn were childhood friends and met Alex James at Goldsmiths College in London. Damon was already in a group named Circus, which also featured Dave on drums. The band recruited Graham and Alex and later re-named themselves Seymour. The name came from Seymour: An Introduction, by JD Salinger.
Seymour's debut gig was in the summer of 1989. An A&R man from Food Records, Andy Ross, was interested in the band, but the label disliked the band's name. Eventually, Food signed the band when the name was changed to Blur.
Blur toured the UK for four months in 1990, showcasing new songs and supporting The Cramps. In October that year, their debut single 'She's So High' was released and reached number 48 in the UK singles chart.
Rise To Success: Blur's trouble in creating a follow-up single to 'She's So High' ended when they paired up with a producer named Stephen Street. 'There's No Other Way' was the band's next single and reached number eight in the UK charts.
Blur's debut album Leisure was release in 1991 and reached number seven in the UK album chart, though it's critical reviews received a mixed response.
Finding themselves £60,000 in debt, Blur embarked on a 1992 tour of the USA, dubbed the Rollercoaster tour. At the start of the tour, they released 'Popscene', which became a pivotal point for the band, even though it only reached 32 in the charts.
Upon their return from the USA, Blur found that the band Suede had achieved a great deal of popularity since they had been away. Determined not to be outdone, and aware that his band was on the verge of being dropped by Food Records, Damon Albarn insisted on enlisting Andy Partridge of XTC to produce their next album. The sessions were a failure and the band was once again united with Stephen Street.
The resulting recordings became the band's second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, released in December 1992. The lead single was 'For Tomorrow'. The album peaked at number 15 in the UK.
Blur's third album, Parklife became another turning point for the band. The debuts single from Parklife 'Girls & Boys' was a commercial radio hit. The album debuted at number one and remained in the charts for 90 weeks. Around this time, the UK music press had created a new phenomenon they named Britpop - a backlash to the American grunge bands that had dominated for so long. Other bands included under the Britpop umbrella included Elastica, Pulp, Sleeper and Menswear. Blur won four awards at the 1995 BRIT awards.
The press also created a rivalry between Blur and Oasis when the release of Blur's 'Country House' and Oasis' 'Roll With It' singles coincided. 'Country House' became Blur's first number one single; the first to be released from their fourth album The Great Escape. The album also went straight to number one. Though the press was initially rapturous about the release, the tide of opinion soon changed and Blur were publicly ridiculed. Relations within the band became strained.
Blur decamped to Iceland to record to the follow up to The Great Escape. The next album, entitled Blur, was released in February 1997. The debut single was 'Beetlebum', which went to number one in the UK. Likewise, its follow-up, 'Song 2' was also a hit. A collection of remixes by the likes of William Orbit and Thurston Moore, named Bustin' + Dronin' was released for the Japanese market.
In August 1998, Graham Coxon released his debut solo album The Sky Is Too High as the band prepared to record their next studio album. Blur's 13 was produced by William Orbit and was a further step away from the Britpop sound. The lyrics reflected on Damon's split from his girlfriend, Elastica's Justine Frischmann. The single 'Coffee + TV' was the first Blur single to feature vocals by Graham Coxon.
Following the release of 13, Damon formed Gorillaz with Jamie Hewlett, Graham continued to make solo albums and Alex co-wrote songs with Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Marianne Faithfull and worked with Fat Les (featuring Keith Allen).
Whilst relations in the band continued to disintegrate, they worked on the next album, Think Tank, with DJ Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) as producer. Coxon was eventually asked to leave the band. The album was released in 2003 and Simon Tong of The Verve was hired as the touring guitarist.
Blur announced a reunion late in 2008 and in summer 2009, the band played at the Glastonbury Festival, two sold out gigs at Hyde Park, London as well as the T in the Park Festival in July.
After receiving near-rave reviews, the album has debuted on top of the UK Chart.
Remember Blur? The British rockers are back this week and topping the charts for the first time in a decade. Magic Whip, Blur’s first album in since 2003’s Think Tank was inspired by their travels in Asia.
Blur's latest album has been 12 years in the making.
The four-piece, which includes frontman Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree, first announced plans to release a new album back in February.
Continue reading: Blur's Latest Album, Magic Whip, Shoots Up To UK Number 1
The band will showcase 'The Magic Whip' in full at a free show in Brooklyn this Friday (May 1st).
To support the release of their new album The Magic Whip, Blur have announced that they’ll be playing a free concert in New York later this week on May 1st.
The British group, promoting their first album in over a decade, will appear at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn in an event sponsored by Converse Rubber Tracks, and will play the record in full alongside a selection of their greatest hits.
Blur at the Q Awards
Continue reading: Blur To Play Free Show In New York On Friday
There’s still over three weeks to go until ‘The Magic Whip’s’ release, but the critics are already welcoming Blur back with open arms.
The countdown until the release of Blur’s much anticipated comeback album is on and the early reviews are showing this one will be well worth the wait for fans. The Magic Whip is the band’s first release in 12 years and was produced by Stephen Street, the man in the studio behind the group’s most successful period.
The Magic Whip is Blur's first album in 12 years
The album was recorded in May 2013 when the band found themselves with five free days in Hong Kong after the cancellation of the Tokyo Rocks Music festival. While singer Damon Albarn was skeptical that any of the music would ever see the light of day, guitarist Graham Coxon opted to work further on the recordings with Street back in Britain.
The band unveiled their first material in over a decade at a small London nightclub.
A limited crowd of very lucky Blur fans landed the ultimate prize of hearing the fans comeback album 'The Magic Whip' live for the first time in a London club; and it was an event that had a profound effect on lead guitarist Graham Coxon.
Blur performed 'The Magic Whip' live in London
The show took place in London's 300-capacity Mode nightclub and was exclusively streamed online by Beats by Dr. Dre. Blur were performing their first studio album in 12 years from start to finish, having recorded the record in secret alongside producer Stephen Street. It was an album that everyone had been waiting for, and Coxon admits he was certainly aware of the pressure.
Continue reading: Blur's Graham Coxon Recalls 'Powerful' Performance Of 'The Magic Whip'
Coxon spoke to Uncut magazine about the sense of guilt he had about his exile from the group in 2002, and how it motivated him to work on their forthcoming LP 'The Magic Whip'.
Coxon left the group during the first sessions for the band’s seventh album Think Tank, because he was still in rehab at the time receiving treatment for his addiction to alcohol, but didn’t tell anyone. When he didn’t turn up to the sessions as expected, the group was frustrated at the lack of communication and barred him from the process.
Coxon (far left) with his Blur bandmates in 2012
The band’s first album in 12 years is set for release next month.
Blur played their upcoming The Magic Whip album in its entirety last night, during a special fanclub-only gig at London club Mode. 300 of the band’s most dieheard fans were in attendance for the intimate show, as the band showcased their first LP in 12 years track by track.
Cover art for Blur's The Magic Whip
Opening the gig singer Damon Albarn addressed the crowd saying, "So obviously, we're going to play our new record The Magic Whip in sequence from beginning to end. Are you ready?” The band then launched into opening track 'Lonesome Street’.
Band announced for the Barclaycard event taking place in London this June.
Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park has announced that Blur will be headlining the festival in June 2015, marking their fourth ever gig at the legendary London venue and setting a record as the only artists to do so.
They'll be joining some amazing acts who will be performing this year including The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez and more. But being one of the biggest bands from across the last two decades, Blur is recognised a particular headline gem. Jim King, Senior Vice President Live Events, stated: 'There are few things in life that are as brilliant and as quintessentially British as Blur playing an outdoor gig in London.'
Blur are returning with new album 'The Magic Whip'
Blur have announced details of The Magic Whip, their first album in 12 years. In a hastily arranged press conference in a London Chinese restaurant, the band said the follow up to 2003's Think Tank was a return to "the way we recorded when we started. It wasn't a flash studio, it was pretty claustrophobic and hot. We went in and knocked about loads of ideas."
Blur have announced a new album, 'The Magic Whip' [Getty/Gareth Cattermole]
Initially conceived in Hong Kong the band spent five or six days creating ideas for the album before enlisting Stephen Street to produce. It features the original line-up of Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree.
Continue reading: Blur Announce New Album 'The Magic Whip' in Chinese Restaurant
It seems the PARKLIFE! craze has finally come full circle as Brand has now offered up his own parody video.
“Verbal dexterity plus Estuary accent is what leads to parody of...'PARKLIFE'!” Yes today the inevitable has happened, Russell Brand has created his own ‘Parklife’ parody video.
"PARKLIFE", it's Russell Brand
Brand has teamed up with Irish comedians The Rubberbandits for the video, which he released on Youtube as part of his 'The Trews' series.
Blur alumni Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon reunited on Saturday night at Latitude Festival.
The weather over the weekend may have been unpredictable, but there was one nice surprise in store for revellers at Latitude Festival when Damon Albarn was joined onstage by Blur bandmate Graham Coxon.
With a storm raging overheard, Damon Albarn began his encore with a solo rendition of Blur track 'End of a Century', before introducing his former bandmate and writing partner to the stage. Crowds stayed to watch the reunion despite heavy rainfall and the pair then sang classic Blur song 'Tender' to raptuous applause.
Fans were in for a treat when Albarn (Second from Right) and Coxon (Far Right) Reunited this weekend
Continue reading: Blur Stage Mini Reunion at Latitude, Delight Audiences
Albarn sets about clarifying his comments on drug abuse, but still insists it wasn't a mistake
Damon Albarn has already told us that heroin was a great source of creativity, for him anyway. And now he’s opened up on his days of drug addiction in a new interview with Time Out Magazine, in which he admits he found the drug “very agreeable” to begin with.
Damon Albarn, Looking Pensive
The former Blur frontman has recently embarked on a solo career having collaborated with different musicians following his departure from the 90s Britpop legends. The subject of drug abuse has been a perennial talking point for Albarn of late, and in his latest public chat, he says he didn’t “totally see” his drug use as “a mistake”.
Pulp's Common People is the ultimate Britpop track
Pulp's Common People has been named the ultimate Britpop anthem by BBC6 Music listeners, beating the likes of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony and Oasis's Wonderwall. More than 300,000 listeners voted for the track to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 90's genre - which created various personalities but very few decent bands.
Jarvis Cocker and Pulp Wrote The Greatest Britpop Song, Apparently
One of those decent bands - who were actually excellent - were Pulp, Jarvis Cocker's Sheffield outfit.
Continue reading: Is Pulp's 'Common People' Really The Best Britpop Anthem?
Damon Albarn has spoken openly about his heroin use in the late 1990's.
Damon Albarn has spoken candidly of his heavy heroin usage during the "height of Britpop", saying he would regulate his intake to "five days and two days off." The singer-songwriter - who is now sober - said he became taking the drug after returning home from tour and finding it "in the front room".
Damon Albarn Took Heroin "Five days on, two days off"
"[Heroin] freed me up," Albarn said in Q magazine, "I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative ... A combination of [heroin] and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive shit in Africa changed me completely as a musician. I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice."
Continue reading: Damon Albarn Took Heroin "Five Days On, Two Days Off"
Damon Albarn is focusing purely on his new record 'Everyday Robots'
Damon Albarn, who is busy promoting his new album Everyday Robots, says he can't foresee a new Blur record in the near future. Rumours had suggested that the group would begin work on a new album this year, though frontman Albarn suggested it was unlikely his bandmates would be in a position to record again soon.
Damon Albarn's 'Everyday Robots' Is Released in April
Speaking with Rolling Stone magazine, Albarn - whose new album comes out on April 28 - said "It's a big part of my life. I'll never abandon the spirit of it ever. It's kind of in me.There is material.But I can't foresee us in the near future being in a position to finish it. We're just all doing other stuff."
Continue reading: Damon Albarn Just Ruined Our Week, "Can't Foresee New Blur Album"