Financial debts, Modern and
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.
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.
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
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 /
Upon 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
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
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.
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
- 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
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
1993 - "Chemical
World" is released and reaches Number 28.
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
1993 - Blur release Starshaped,
a tour film which also includes all of their
music videos to date.
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.
1993 - After touring in Europe,
Japan and America, the band immediately return to
studio to continue work on the new album.
1994 - Sessions for Parklife
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.
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.
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.
- Blur play at Glastonbury, inbetween Radiohead
and Spiritualized, and five places above some new
signings to Creation, who go by the name of
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.
1994 - Blur headline a prestigious
gig at London's Alexandra Palace. The event is
captured for posterity in the video Showtime.
1994 - "End Of A Century"
is released as the fourth and final single from Parklife.
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.