Blur are an English alternative rock band. Their sound started as Britpop, and in later albums, infused more electronic sounds. Blur was formed in 1989. Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon met Alex James while studying at Goldsmiths College in 1988. Albarn and Dave Rowntree were in a band called Circus, and invited Coxon to be their new guitarist. Later, two members were fired and Alex James joined the band, forming Seymour (inspired by J.D. Salinger’s Seymour: An Introduction) — which became Blur in 1990.
Damon Albarn — vocals
Graham Coxon — lead guitar & backing vocals
Alex James — bass guitar
Dave Rowntree — drums
Blur toured for a few months in 1990 and released their single She’s So High. After releasing There’s No Other Way and having it peak at number eight, they became more recognised and were mentioned in NME magazine.
Blur attempted to expand their musical sound after releasing Bang, which didn’t perform so well. Albarn had to write his lyrics in the studio for the recording of their first album Leisure, and it received mixed reviews. However, it peaked at number seven on the UK Albums Chart.
In 1992 the band toured the United States to help pay off a 60,000 pound debt. Popscene was released to coincide with the tour and though it didn’t do so well on the charts, it marked a ’new beginning’ for the band.
Modern Life is Rubbish was released the next year (1993) but did not produce many hit singles. It peaked at 15 on the British charts. Fortunately, in 1994, Parklife was released, which revived Blur’s commercial fortunes. It was dubbed one of Britpop’s defining records, and won Best Album at the BRIT awards. Blur also won an award for Best Band. The NME called the album a great pop record — “bigger, bolder, narkier and funnier” than their previous album.
Blur released their fourth album The Great Escape in 1995. The release of the album’s lead single Country House played a part in Blur’s public rivalry with Manchester band Oasis termed “The Battle of Britpop”. Blur and Oasis ultimately decided to release their new singles on the same day, an event the NME called “The British Heavyweight Championship”. The debate over which band would top the British singles chart became a media phenomenon. Country House outsold Oasis’ Roll With It; 274,000 copies to 216,000 — making this Blur’s first number one single.
Coxon expressed his tastes in lo-fi and underground music, which took the band to record the change of sound on their self titled album Blur. Though there was some conflict in the band, Albarn grew to appreciate Coxon’s new taste. The album brought out Song 2, which became a hit in the US. It was licensed for use in various media such as soundtracks, advertisements and television shows. Following this, the band went on a nine-month tour.
Blur’s sixth album 13 showed a further drift from Britpop. It was reminiscent of Coxon’s experimental guitar and Albarn’s more personal lyrics apparently related to his breakup with Justine Frischmann, his partner of eight years. This album also received mixed reviews but featured the hit Coffee & TV, the first Blur single to feature Coxon on lead vocals.
The band went into a hiatus in 1999, Coxon recording a series of solo albums and Albarn creating the animated band Gorillaz. In May 2003, Think Tank was released, which brooded electronic sounds and guitar lines played by Albarn. It sounded much like his side project Gorillaz and was mostly written by Albarn, as Coxon had left the band due to conflicts.
The band reunited with Coxon in 2007, and in 2009 Blur had a concert in Hyde Park. In 2010 they released their first single since 2003, titled Fool’s Day. Coxon stated on behalf of the group that they did not have plans to record an album any time soon.
—derived from Wikipedia