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Blur band 2003
from left: Dave Rowntree, Alex James and Damon Albarn

Blur Biography

Blur were at the forefront of the '90s' Brit Pop music scene; the band were formed in London, ENGLAND, in 1989 by vocalist + keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. After playing several shows under the moniker of Seymour, the quartet signed to Food Records, a subsidiary of EMI and they renamed the band Blur.

The group made their debut in late 1990 with the single "She's So High" and followed it up with another single, "There's No Other Way"; in early 1991, the latter rose to #8 on the British chart. Both singles were included on the band's first album, "Leisure", which rose to #2 in U.K. upon its release in the summer of that same year. The lead single also became a major hit on alt-Rock stations in U.S. peaking at #5 on The Modern Rock chart.

Following the failure of the non-album single "Pop Scene", the band took a break and re-emerged in March 1993 with the second full-length disc, "Modern Life Is Rubbish", it sneaked into the top 20 of the U.K. chart on the back of the British single "For Tomorrow"; although the album never charted in America, it yielded the Modern Rock top 30 hit, "Chemical World".

Almost exactly a year later, the single "Girls And Boys" topped the charts in Britain and even cracked the Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks peaking at #4; the single preceded the release of their breakthrough album, "Parklife", which soared to #1 in Great Britain and debuted at #6 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Blur kicked off with a live show in front of 8.000 fans at London's Alexandra Palace, scored two more hit singles, "To The End" and "Parklife" and the album had gone triple platinum in their native country.

Around this time, Oasis exploded onto the British Pop-Rock scene and the two bands began a public war of words; in June of 1995, when Gallagher brothers were about to release the single "Roll With It", Blur convinced EMI to release "Country House", the first single from their upcoming album, on the very same day, the song shot to #1 on the Official Pop Singles chart and Blur had won round one. They ultimately lost the war, as Oasis' "(What's The Story) Morning Glory?" went on to sell millions of copies all over the globe and Blur's 1995 album "The Great Escape" was overshadowed by this. Their fourth effort debuted at #1 on the U.K. Albums chart but barely reached #150 on The Billboard 200 in the States. The full-length record also included the catchy "Charmless Man" and the soulful "The Universal", but none of the singles off the CD made a dent on the American charts.

Again, the group disappeared for a while, resurfacing in January 1997 with the British #1 track "Beetlebum"; one month later their self-titled album hit the #1 spot on the U.K. Official chart, the set also broke Blur in the States thanks to the alt-Rock radio success of "Song 2", the single peaked at #6 on The Modern Rock chart and pushed the album to #61 on The Billboard 200 list, their best chart-placing to date in America.
The next year Graham Coxon launched his own label, Transcopic and released his solo debut album.

Blur returned in the spring of 1999 with its sixth studio effort, "13", the fourth consecutive #1 album in the U.K., which included three hit singles "Tender", "Coffee And Tv" and " No Distance Left To Run", but failed to rise above #80 on the American Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

After a brief tour, they released a two-disc box set retrospective compilation which featured the new single "Music Is My Radar".
Albarn during 2000 started his dance-oriented side project, Gorillaz, in collaboration with comic cartoonist Jamie Hewlett and several leading hip-hop producers.
After Coxon released a second solo album and the wordwide success of Albarn's new venture emphasized the tension between them, finally it was confirmed in late 2002 that lead guitarist Graham Coxon had left Blur.

The remaining three members returned with "Think Tank" in May 2003; Blur, once again rose to the top on the British Albums chart, "Out Of Time" debuted at #3 on the U.K. Official Singles chart and the second single, "Crazy Beat", peaked at #11 in England and at #22 on The Modern Rock Tracks in U.S. where the album reached the #56 position on The Billboard 200.


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Blur pictures:

  • Blur band lineup early 90s Blur band lineup early 90s
    The band line-up in early '90s