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William Orbit on 13, first solo works and The Best Of


January 1998 - Blur are nominated for four awards at the annual NME Awards.

February 1998 - Graham is to launch his own record label, Transcopic, with the first release scheduled for March. The label would probably release music from the bands picked by Graham himself. "It will be what Graham really likes," a spokeswoman for the label says. William Orbit, Adrian Sherwood and Thurston Moore are among those contributing to Blur's Bustin' + Dronin', a Japanese double album of remixes plus a live set recorded for John Peel. Damon records a cover of Noël Coward's "London Pride" with classical composer Michael Nyman.

March 1998 - The band will begin to work on the sixth album in July after the World Cup. Damon and Alex are both set to release World Cup singles this summer.

June 1998 - William Orbit, whose work Blur liked the most on Bustin' + Dronin', may be a co-producer on the new album. The band play at Glastonbury Festival, where they perform one new song written for the South Park soundtrack. (Later, the song wasn't included on the soundtrack, but on 13 as "Trailerpark"). Damon and Graham remix the new Massive Attack single "Angel".

July 1998 - The recording of the new album has begun. The band also record a track entitled "Cowboy Song" with the Dust Brothers for Dead Man On Campus movie.

August 1998 - Graham's debut solo album The Sky Is Too High is released. "The music ranges from angry and puerile to depressing and rural. Influence: Yo La Tengo, Dinosaur Jr, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Terry Callier, Thurston Moore, Thee Headcoats and probably more," describes Graham the album, which charts at Number 31 in the UK.

William OrbitSeptember 1998 - It's been confirmed that William Orbit is producing the whole of the new album. Damon Albarn remixes Cornelius' single "Star Fruits Surf Rider" and will collaborate with Michael Nyman yet again to record a score for the film Ravenous.

November 1998 - The recording of the new album has finished. The band are happy with the work of the new producer William Orbit. There are rumours that a track called "Tender Is The Night" will be the first single. Damon joins forces with Ronaldo to present an award at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Milan.

December 1998 - Alex and Dave are helping to promote the new British space mission, which will hunt for traces of life on Mars. Damon is rumoured to be planning a duet with Shaznay Lewis of All Saints.


February 1999 - Blur play the majority of the new album to the public at the place called Münchenbryggeriet in Stockholm. The new single "Tender" is released and "only" goes to Number 2 in the UK charts, though over 170,000 copies were sold in the first week.

March 1999 - Blur's sixth album 13 is released. Due to radical change in music style, the album gets mixed opinions from fans, but mainly good reviews from the press. 13 goes straight to Number 1 in the UK charts and stays at the top for two weeks. On the release date, the band play the BBC gig at the London Hippodrome. At the end of the month, they fly to USA and Canada to perform a few gigs and do some TV appearances.

April 1999 - It's been finally confirmed that "Coffee & TV" will be the next single from 13. Due to Graham's unwillingness to sing the song at gigs over and over again, the single was originally planned to be "Bugman", and then "Trimm Trabb".'Milky' from "Coffee & TV" promo video

June 1999 - "Coffee & TV" is released. It only manages to reach Number 11 in the UK charts in its first week. Blur manager Chris Morrison demands the chart re-run, because of 30-40% of sales were lost accidentally. The band make their second appearance at the Tibet Freedom Concert and play at several festivals around Europe.

July 1999 - 3862 Days: The Official History of Blur, written by Stuart Maconie, is out. Blur continue playing festivals.

August 1999 - Blur headline the Reading and Leeds festivals and deny the rumours of splitting-up.

September 1999 - The band celebrate their 10th anniversary by releasing the singles box set and staging Blur:X exhibition at Lux Gallery in London. The box set includes all of the band's singles with their B-sides. Blur:X features original artwork and lyrics for each album, rare footages and a collection of familiar Blur probs. The Observer is celebrating ten years of Blur by giving its readers a limited edition Blur CD. The band play a special B-sides gig at the Camden Electric Ballroom which is broadcast live on the Internet.

October 1999 - Damon's partner Suzi Winstanley gives birth to a baby girl.

November 1999 - "No Distance Left To Run", the third single from Blur's platinum album 13, is released and reaches Number 14 in the UK. Blur will make history when one of the single's B-sides will be send to Mars with ESA's Beagle 2 lander. The band gets the Best Act in the World Today award at the Q Awards and win the Best Video award for "Coffee & TV" at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

December 1999 - Blur play the "Singles Night" UK tour ending at Wembley Arena. The first Blur DVD, No Distance Left To Run (The Making Of), is released. The band do well in many music magazine's "best of the year" polls like in Melody Maker, where 13 is the second best album, "Tender" is the second best single, and "Coffee & TV" the third best single.


January 2000 - An unreleased song called "Hippy Children", written and performed by Damon Albarn and Graeme Holdaway under the name Circus in 1989, is available to download from the Over 18s Records' website for a small charge. A month later the site has been ordered to close by Damon's lawyers.

February 2000 - Blur win three gongs at NME Awards.

March 2000 - News reports that William Orbit, the producer for 13, won't produce the next Blur album due to his busy schedule. The soundtrack for the new Kevin Spacey film, Ordinary Decent Criminal, gets released. It includes five tracks written by Damon.

April 2000 - It's been confirmed that Blur will play their only gig of the year at Meltdown Festival in July. Damon Albarn is working with hip-hop producer Dan the Automator.

June 2000 - Graham's second solo album, the heavy metal influenced The Golden D is released. Unlike his last album, it doesn't get to Top 40 in the UK. Blur are set to release a greatest hits album later this year.

July 2000 - Blur perform a new song called "Black Book" at Meltdown Festival. It's meant to be the single from the band's forthcoming "best of" album. "Coffee & TV" is nominated for Breakthrough Video at MTV Video Music Awards. Graham Coxon plays a few gigs in the UK to promote The Golden D.

August 2000 - Damon Albarn visits Mali in West Africa, where he plays with many traditional musicians. The trip is part of the education project On The Line, founded by Oxfam.

September 2000 - The new song, "Music Is My Radar" (an original B-side to "Black Book"), will come out as a single to accompany the "best of" album. Damon Albarn contributes vocals to a Dan the Automator track "Time Keeps On Slipping", which appears on Dan the Automator's hip-hop project Deltron 3030's self-titled album. Damon is also involved with the cartoon band project called Gorillaz and sings on a few tracks on their Tomorrow Comes Today EP. Graham Coxon remixes an Idlewild track "Rusty".


October 2000 - "Music Is My Radar" enters the UK charts at Number 10 and gets mixed opinions from fans. Two weeks later Blur: The Best Of is released and goes to Number 3 in the UK. Blur launch their own radio station on the Internet. Blur-radio.com features a 12 hours set of concerts, rarities, unheard demos and a documentary tracing their career. Dave Rowntree programs a special mobile ringtone version of "Music Is My Radar" and a mobile icon for Iobox.com.

December 2000 - Alex James joins cult '80s band Zodiac Mindwarp for a comeback gig, while Damon Albarn appears with the London Gospel Community Choir at their Christmas concert. Blur are planning to go back to studio to record their seventh album in February. Chris Potter, the producer of Verve and "Black Book", is set to produce the album. (These sessions were later aborted).

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