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Financial debts, Modern and Park Life


January 1992 - Blur discover that their manager has left them in financial straits. They are missing 40,000 from their accounts and 60,000 in debt. All the money that they had made from Leisure has gone. Collins is sacked and Chris Morrison is called in to become their new manager. He manages to pull the band out of their problems - their money problems, at least. After recording new songs with their engineer John Smith, Blur think that they've got a finished album on their hands. Unfortunately, Food Records rejects the idea.

February 1992 - Blur's status as top British band is challenged by newcomers Suede. The music press is impressed by the band's Bowie-esque glam rock style, and are being hailed as "the best new band in Britain". Though Blur have now moved completely away from baggy by now, the public still link them with that movement, which is quickly dying.

March 1992 - Blur release their new single "Popscene". Despite the complete change of pace, an aggressive punk tune backed up by a bolshy horn section, Blur's credibility is now zero due to one too many drunken performances. Most journalists reviewing the song slag it off, and it stalls at Number 32 in the charts. Blur join the Rollercoaster tour with My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr and The Jesus & Mary Chain. Again, reviews are less then complimentary.

April to August 1992 - The band leave for the U.S. to start a 44-date tour that began their wilderness period. The tour proves humilating. "We went to America with what was virtually a baggy record," recalled Alex some years later. Nirvana are huge and Americans hate the band. During this time Blur start to develop their then maverick English-centric style, as a reaction to the beer-swilling heavy metal jocks. They use this to atagonise the audiences - at one show, Graham sings the words "You'll look sweet / Town & Country Club, July 1992Upon the seat / With a bicycle up your arse", over and over again. The band return to the UK and play at Glastonbury Festival, where they premiere songs such as "Into Another". Blur reach their lowest nadir at a charity gig at London's Town & Country Club (now the Forum). Suede are third on the bill and give a tight, energetic performance. Blur perform very badly - drunken, shambling and embarrasing themselves. Dave Balfe tells Damon that if they haven't got themselves together in a month then Food Records will drop them. Blur quickly start writing songs for their next album.

September to November 1992 - After a short break, Blur re-convene at Maison Rouge and begin recording what would become Modern Life Is Rubbish. Their choice of producer, Andy Partridge of XTC, proves unsuitable. At first, the band loved the results but quickly changed their minds. On October 1st, Graham bumped into Stephen Street at a Cranberries gig at The Marquee Club. Street wanted to work with them again, and so on November 9th recording began afresh. Balfe hated Street, while Ross thought he was a good choice, singling out such new tracks like "Coping" as potential career-savers.

December 1992 - The band deliver their new album to David Balfe. He complains that the album is not commercial enough and demands that they record some hit singles. On Christmas Day, Damon writes "For Tomorrow" at his parent's house. Blur play a one-off gig at The Gardens in Fulham. It is there that "The Wassailing Song" is given away.


February 1993 - Sessions for the new album are completed. A new song called "Chemical World" is added at the last minute - it is there on the insistance of Blur's American label SBK, who want a song that will appeal to the American youth.

April 1993 - Blur give interviews with NME and Melody Maker about the new album at Clacton, a seaside resort. During the NME interview, the band spraypaint a pavilion bandstand with the title of the album (originally sprayed by a hippie group near Marble Arch in London - see picture below). They get in trouble with the local council, who have to be paid damages. The band unveil their new very English look with the release of "For Tomorrow", with its sleeve of two Second World War fighter bombers. Reviewers are kinder this time, though still cautious. One review, however, says "Blur - you are the Soup Dragons. Now fuck off." The single reaches Number 28.

Blur circa Modern Life Is RubbishMay 1993 - Modern Life Is Rubbish is released. It enters the charts at Number 15, but drops out of the Top 40 quite quickly. Still, the album gets mostly good reviews.

June 1993 - "Chemical World" is released and reaches Number 28.

August 1993 - Blur play a great set at the Reading Festival - interest in the band is climbing again. Only a couple of months after Modern Life Is Rubbish, the band start recording songs for their third album with Stephen Street. A few songs, including "Parklife", "Bank Holiday" and "Jubilee", had already been demoed that summer.

September 1993 - Blur release Starshaped, a tour film which also includes all of their music videos to date.

October 1993 - "Sunday Sunday" becomes the third and final single from Modern Life Is Rubbish. Blur embark on their Sugary Tea tour of Britain, with a stage set designed to resemble a '50s living room / kitchen, with a TV, sofa and cooker.

December 1993 - After touring in Europe, Japan and America, the band immediately return to studio to continue work on the new album.


February 1994 - Sessions for Parklife are completed.

March 1994 - "Girls & Boys" is released as a taster for Parklife. It becomes a big radio hit and enters the charts at Number 5. Dave, who had just quit drinking, said: "It was very satisfying. You'd walk into a shop and it would be playing on the radio, then you'd go into the shop next door and it would be playing in there as well." For the first time, the band really felt they had got the attention they deserved.

Parklife album coverApril 1994 - Blur launch Parklife with an evening at the Walthamstow dog track. Journalists get to hear the full album and it is hailed as a classic. Also that night there is a special Parklife race, which ends in disaster - one dog becomes caught in the traps and cannot run, the hare becomes derailed and one dog stumbles and the rest turn on it savagely. Dave said: "...all the people at the track were saying it was unprecedented. No one had ever seen anything like it in the history of dog racing." The race is declared null and void. The Sunday after the launch, Parklife enters the charts at Number 1.

May 1994 - A sixteen-date tour of the UK to promote the album begins, and it is received rapturously by fans and get very good reviews. "To The End" is released and reaches Number 16.

June 1994 - Blur play at Glastonbury, inbetween Radiohead and Spiritualized, and five places above some new signings to Creation, who go by the name of Oasis...

September 1994 - The "Parklife" single is released, along with an award-winning video. The album is still in the Top 20 album charts and remains there for over a year. Blur miss out on the Mercury Music Prize, losing out to M People.

October 1994 - Blur headline a prestigious gig at London's Alexandra Palace. The event is captured for posterity in the video Showtime.

November 1994 - "End Of A Century" is released as the fourth and final single from Parklife.

December 1994 - Parklife wins best album awards in many music magazine end-of-year roundups. Damon confirms he already has 20 songs written for the next album.

1989-1991 | 1992-1994 | 1995-1997 | 1998-2000 | 2001-2003

2004-2008 | 2009-2014 | 2015-2020 | 2021-2023

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