The Alcoholic: All four members were infamous for their heavy drinking, to the point where by 1992 they were a running joke in the music industry for it. The official book 3862 Days makes specific reference to a gig at London Town And Country Club which the band performed audibly intoxicated after having been drinking for 6 hours (it can be heard here. This resulted in an intervention from their manager, who stated they should wait until half an hour before going onstage to have a drink. Initially, Dave was considered the worst drinker, but the torch soon passed to Graham, who would drink a whole bottle of vodka a night (a textbook case of alcoholism). His drinking had gotten so out of control by the Think Tank sessions that he ended up in rehab, and still wasn't considered well enough to rejoin the band (which is why he only appeared on a handful of tracks from the period). He has been sober since.
Black Sheep Hit: "Song 2", especially in America where it's the band's only song most people know. Ironically the song was written to parody American alternative rock at the time. Right down to the indecipherable vocals. Which isn't as much of a black sheep in the context of that album, which probably changed the course of indie rock music for the next decade.
The dancey "Girls and Boys" also qualifies, a musical detour also chosen to poke fun at somebody (namely, the polyamory clubbers discussed in the lyrics).
Chart Displacement: Neither of their top-five Modern Rock hits was "Song 2", which peaked at #6 on that chart. However, on the Hot 100, "Song 2" was in fact their highest charter. And two of those are "Chemical World" and "Crazy Beat", which are hardly among the band's best-known songs. And in UK, their #1 hits, "Country House" and "Beetlebum", are probably less known than the #2 charters "Song 2" and "Tender".
In 2014, Albarn expanded on Leisure's recording, stating that "it wasn't a particularly happy experience" and suggested the band were too keen to please the record label by capitalising on a sound that was popular at the time.
The band hated "Turn it Up", an Album Filler track from Modern Life is Rubbish and lament that it was chosen instead of "Young and Lovely".
Damon: It's crap. I wouldn't have had it on the album. Balfe thought it was the only song that had a vague chance of doing well in America, so he insisted on it being there.
Graham: When we wrote it, it seemed like a good jangly pop song. But it turned out to be an MOR rock song. It didn't have peculiarities. So we were turned off by it.
In later years Albarn would disown The Great Escape for being artificial and slick, and the band are especially unkind about the big brass-band knees up "Country House" (their first number one single in the UK). The only representations of the album on their 2009 greatest hits album Midlife are the fan-favourite album track "He Thought of Cars" and the singles "The Universal" and "Stereotypes".
Albarn: I've made two bad records. The first record, which is awful, and The Great Escape, which was messy.
Albarn has also become very critical of Think Tank, mainly due to it being a difficult album to work on after the departure of Graham Coxon, which resulted in the band taking a six-year hiatus after the tour for the album was finished and explains why the band rarely performs songs from the album after their 2009 reunion, with the exception of "Out of Time", which remains a live staple.
Albarn: It's... got some real stinkers on it there's some bollocks on there.
Modern Life is Rubbish was made following a disastrous tour of America and a reaction against the dominance of grunge.
Most of the darker lyrics on 13 were directly inspired by Damon's breakup with his longtime girlfriend, Elastica singer Justine Frischmann, especially "Tender" and "No Distance Left To Run".
"No Distance Left to Run" actually takes the cake and proceeds to steal the whole bakery. Albarn actually hates the song, as it forced him to accept the end of his relationship in order to record the song.
Albarn: It upsets me, that song. It upset me singing it. Doing that vocal upset me greatly. To sing that lyric I really had to accept that it was the end of something in my life. It's amazing when you do have the guts to do that with your work, because it don't half help you.
"Sweet Song" was written whilst Damon had been looking at a photo of Graham Coxon after the latter had left the band.
Creator's Favorite Episode: Alex James and Dave Rowntree named Modern Life is Rubbish as their favourite album, while Graham Coxon preferred Blur.
"Trailerpark" was originally recorded for the Chef Aid Album, but Rick Rubin rejected it, so the band put it on 13 instead.
The band's sessions for Modern Life Is Rubbish totalled 40+ songs, yet only 16 were used on the album. The band has noted at various times that they considered putting "Popscene", "Never Clever", "Young And Lovely", "Peach", "When The Cows Come Home", "Into Another", "Hanging Over" and "Seven Days" on the album and that the likes of "Turn It Up" and "Coping" wouldn't have made it on.
The booklet for Parklife has a scan of the band's handwritten notes on the album's track order on the last page. "Theme For An Imaginary Film" is listed as a possible track for the album, but was ultimately released as a b-side instead.
Although Graham Coxon was involved with three tracks in the Think Tank sessions, ("Battery In Your Leg", "Colours" and "Some Glad Morning") the band elected to only include the first of these, with the other two released as fan club singles.
Executive Meddling: One of the good examples. The band's label disliked what was to be their second album that they asked them to go back and write two more single-worthy songs. The album that resulted, Modern Life is Rubbish, is considered one of the band's best albums. The two "singleworthy" songs, "For Tomorrow" and "Chemical World" were two of the band's biggest (at the time) and most popular songs. Contrary to what's erroneously believed, the band did not cut any tracks from the album to include these, they had simply submitted it without them.
An unfortunate example, from the same period is the track "Turn It Up" which the band hated but the American record label, SBK Records, thought it would do well in the States, and was added to Modern Life is Rubbish at the expense of "Young And Lovely", which the band liked (that song became the B-side to "Chemical World"). Ironically, "Turn it Up" was never released as a single, and SBK was so ridiculously incompetent that they also replaced "Chemical World" with its demo version, despite the fact that they demanded the song in the first place. Humorously, "Chemical World" wound up becoming the American rock radio hit that SBK requested...but the version those stations played was the original version that was otherwise unavailable at the time in the US.
In a much earlier period, Blur's early material as "Seymour", which eventually came out as B-sides for the "Sunday Sunday" single and some different ones on the Blur 21 box set, showed them to be primarily a fast-paced, heavily punk-influenced band. However, by the time they made it onto Food Records, Shoegazing and Madchester were at their peak popularity, so the label forced them to write songs fusing together the two subgenres for their first album Leisure. There's also the fact that the name Blur was chosen from a list of label-approved alternate names for the group, as Food Records disliked Seymour as a band name. All the members of Blur have stated that they felt their b-sides (most of which had been released prior to the album) were stronger at the time. Perhaps because of this, the Japanese version of Leisure doesn't just contain one bonus track, but three ("I Know", "Inertia" and "Mr Briggs"), and they are interspersed with the main tracklisting (which additionally, has "There's No Other Way" moved to the second track).
Follow the Leader: Blur's new sound came from Graham Coxon listening to noisy American bands like Pavement in a rejection of the group's former Britpop aesthetic.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Whilst the "Blur 21" box set is very comprehensive, it still leaves off a number of tracks - six Seymour tracks that had been b-sides to Sunday Sunday, "I Know" (only the extended version appears), the band's charity CD cover of "Substitute" and most significantly the 2003 fan club release "Colours" (which was one of the only Think Tank-era tracks Graham Coxon played on)
Limey Goes to Hollywood: Inverted; the band experimented with recording abroad in Iceland (Blur), Morocco (Think Tank) and Hong Kong (The Magic Whip).
Money, Dear Boy: Following their first album, the band went on a disastrous tour of America purely because they found themselves in debt to their management.
Despite a generally positive critical reaction upon release, Damon has since referred to Leisure as "awful". He has similarly dismissed The Great Escape as "messy".
Damon considers their cover of The Who's "Substitute" for the Tribute AlbumWho Covers Who to be the very worst thing the band ever recorded. So much that he refuses to have a copy of it in his house.
The band disowned their early single "Bang", which was written in less than 15 minutes in response to record company demands for another bankable single. It is almost never played live, and has not been included on either Blur: The Best Of or Midlife: A Beginner's Guide to Blur. "I don't think we'll ever play that again", Alex James remarked in 1999, having performed it during rehearsals for that year's tour. "Fuckin' hell, worst verse you ever heard. Dannii Minogue gave it "Stinker of the Week" in Number One".
Damon: There's just something about "Bang" that is shit.
Graham Coxon has admitted that the cover versions of "Daisy Bell" and "Let's All Go Down the Strand" (the B-Sides of "Sunday Sunday") marked one of the worst moments in the band's career.
One-Hit Wonder: "Song 2" in Americanote The song was actually never released as a single in America, so it wasn't able to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Most of its popularity comes from frequent airplay on rock radio stations, although Blur are much bigger in Britain and the Commonwealth countries.
One Of Us: During the band's hiatus, Graham Coxon could often be found on fan forums under the username Tweedo, in which he would answer questions and clear up misinformation. For example, he confirmed that an early tracklisting of Modern Life Is Rubbish (seen in a Select Magazine '95 interview and made primarily up of b-sides) was a complete fabrication by the magazine. The band had simply submitted the album to the label without "For Tomorrow" and "Chemical World".
13 was marked by tense sessions. According to producer William Orbit, "There was a battle between Damon's more experimental direction, and Graham's punk one, and Graham prevailed. If that tension had been growing on previous L Ps, it came to a head here." "Things were starting to fall apart between the four of us," drummer Dave Rowntree later revealed. "It was quite a sad process making it. People were not turning up to the sessions, or turning up drunk, being abusive and storming off." "I had songs," Alex James remarked. "I played them to William. He liked them. But I was sulking. I didn't play them to the others Now I know how George Harrison felt." Coxon admitted, "I was really out there around 13, which made for some pretty great noise but I was probably a bit of a crap to be around."
Think Tank's production was largely affected by Graham Coxon confronting his demons as he was suffering from alcoholism and depression, causing him to be largely absent from the production and after recording four songs (one of which ultimately made it to the final cut, along with two being B-sides and the last one being a fan club single), he left, forcing the band to continue as a trio. It went From Bad to Worse during the production in Morocco as everyone involved except for Albarn fell ill due to diarrhea to the point Rowntree nearly died as a result. While the album proved to be a critical and commercial success, it's because of this production that the band took a break from 2004 to 2008 and Albarn has considered this a very difficult album to work on.
"Never Clever", one of the live B-sides to "Chemical World", was supposed to be released as a single, and in fact, never made it to formal recording, with a crude demo being recorded (that eventually made it to Food 100 Sampler and Blur 21). The song was supposed to be the follow up to "Popscene", but because that underperformed, they decided to scrap it entirely.
"It Could Be You", the last song recorded for The Great Escape, was originally written about Winston Churchill.
What Could Have Been: A sequel had entered the conceptual stage before Bizarre's closure. Had it been made, it would have taken the game in a more Wipeout inspired direction with cars driving up and along buildings.