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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).
Blur: 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.
Blur: 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.
10th November 2014 -
“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 BrandBrand has teamed up with Irish comedians...
21st July 2014 -
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...
23rd April 2014 -
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...
14th April 2014 -
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...
27th March 2014 -
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...
25th February 2014 -
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...
29th January 2014 -
Blur have joined the thousands of fans who are celebrating the fact that there's a London Underground ticket barrier that squeaks "Woo-Hoo!" every time it opens. Londoner Ritch Ames was the first to notice the...
20th January 2014 -
Damon Albarn is finally set to go solo as he unveils his long-anticipated debut album Everyday Robots on April 28th 2014.Blur is still an ongoing projectThe Blur frontman is definitely a workaholic of the music...
16th July 2013 -
Thom Yorke appears to have responded to producer Stephen Street's criticism over his yanking of tracks from Spotify, claiming he gave away Radiohead's album In Rainbows as a "statement of trust."Earlier this week, Yorke and...
10th July 2013 -
The World's End - the third and final instalment of Edgar Wright's 'Cornetto' comedy trilogy starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine - hits cinemas nationwide on July 19, 2013. It centres around five...
29th May 2013 -
Barcelona: arguably the most picturesque city in Europe. Situated on the Mediterranean coast in the heart of the Catalonian region, it's a landmine of history and culture. In amongst the beautiful landscapes and symbolic architecture;...
13th May 2013 -
It's May and festival season is upon us, which means it will soon be time for Primavera Sound 2013, arguably the pinnacle of Europe's increasingly popular schedule. Set in beautiful Barcelona and mainly based on...
25th April 2013 -
Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley, the director of Blur's 2009 track Good Song, has been installed as the 2/1 favourite for this year's Turner Prize. Shrigley is best known for his humorous line drawings, though also...
19th April 2013 -
It seems that Stone Roses reunion fever hasn’t quite made it over the pond just yet. After a disappointingly small crowd showed up to watch the Madchester legends at the first weekend of Coachella, Blur...
28th February 2013 -
Using a tried-and-tested formula of acoustic versions and covers, this most recent instalment of the series sees further performances for Dermot O'Leary's radio show now available to own. The artists included cover a broad...
7th February 2013 -
Parlophone Records, the once legendary record label, has been bought by Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik and his Warner Music Group for £500 million.Parlophone has the likes of Coldplay, Tinie Tempah and Blur on its roster...
31st January 2013 -
Rick Ross Survives An Attack, Jennifer Lawrence Wins But Slips Up, Lindsay Lohan To Learn Her Fate In LAYou Da Boss: Rapper Rick Ross had a lucky escape this week, somehow avoiding a hail of...
25th January 2013 -
Today saw the announcement of the Coachella Festival 2013 line-up, to be run on the weekends of April 12, 2013 and April 19, 2013, and as expected it’s another smorgasbord of musical taste, with everyone...
25th January 2013 -
How do you top having a dead man headline your festival? Well, in all honestly, you’re not going to. Coachella’s talent bookers must have been scratching their heads in bewilderment when it came to topping...
23rd January 2013 -
The full Primavera lineup has been released, with The Postal Service, Jesus And Mary Chain and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds all set to rock Barcelona on 22nd to 26th May 2013.Saint Etienne...
22nd October 2012 -
Britpoppers Blur fought off competition from The Stone Roses to be named best live act, but lost out to Muse for the mantle of best act in the world, Sky News Reports.Muse have had a...
22nd October 2012 -
The answer, of course, is no. But it's that time of year again folks: the Q Magazine Awards! Muse picked up the biggest gong at the event in London on Monday afternoon (October 22, 2012)...
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