Blur are an English rock band formed in London in 1988. The group consists of singer/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Their debut album Leisure (1991) incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing. Following a stylistic change influenced by English guitar pop groups such as the Kinks, the Beatles and XTC, Blur released Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). In the process, the band became central to the Britpop music and culture movement, and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rivals Oasis in 1995 dubbed the “Battle of Britpop”.
In recording their 1997 self-titled album Blur, the band underwent another reinvention, showing influence from the lo-fi style of American indie rock groups. The album, including the “Song 2” single, brought them mainstream success in the US. Their next album, 13 (1999) saw the band members experimenting with electronic and gospel music, and featured more personal lyrics from Albarn. In May 2002, Coxon left Blur during the recording of their seventh album Think Tank (2003). Containing electronic sounds and more minimal guitar work, the album was marked by Albarn’s growing interest in hip hop and African music. After a 2003 tour without Coxon, Blur did no studio work or touring as a band, as members engaged in other projects.
Blur reunited, with Coxon back in the fold, for a series of concerts in 2009. In the following years they released several singles and retrospective compilations, and toured internationally. In 2012, the group received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Their first major release in twelve years, The Magic Whip (2015), became the sixth consecutive Blur studio album to top the British charts.