Blur are an English rock band. Formed in London in 1988, the group consists of 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 Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rival band Oasis in 1995 dubbed "The Battle of Britpop".
Blur's self-titled fifth album (1997) saw another stylistic shift, influenced by the lo-fi styles of American indie rock groups, and became their third UK chart-topping album. Its single "Song 2" brought the band mainstream success in the US for the first time. Their next album, 13 (1999) saw the band experimenting with electronic and gospel music, and featured more personal lyrics from Albarn. Their seventh album, Think Tank (2003), continued their experimentation with electronic sounds and was also shaped by Albarn's growing interest in hip hop and world music, featuring more minimal guitar work. Coxon left the band during early recording sessions for Think Tank, and Blur disbanded for several years after the end of the album's associated tour, with the members engaged in other projects.
In 2009, Blur reunited with Coxon back in the band and embarked on a European reunion tour. In the following years, they released several singles and compilations and toured internationally. In 2012, they received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Their eighth album, The Magic Whip (2015), was the sixth consecutive Blur studio album to top the British chart. The group have largely been on hiatus ever since the end of The Magic Whip tour.