From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Blur are an English alternative rock band, formed in London in 1988, originally as Seymour. The four members of the group are singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur's 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 the Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995) albums. As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a famous chart battle with rival band Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop".
In recording their follow-up, Blur (1997), the band underwent another reinvention, influenced by the lo-fi style of American indie rock bands such as Pavement. "Song 2", one of the album's singles, brought Blur brief mainstream success in the US. The last album featuring Blur's original lineup, 13 (1999) found the band members experimenting with electronic music and gospel music, as Albarn wrote more personal lyrics. 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. Since a 2003 tour without Coxon, Blur have done no studio work or touring as a band, as members have engaged in other projects. Blur confirmed in late 2008 that the band will reunite in 2009 with Coxon back in the fold.