Blur are an English rock band, formed in London in 1988. The group consists of singer/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Their 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). In the process, the band helped establish the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rivals Oasis in 1995 dubbed the "Battle of Britpop".
The Battle of Britpop: Similar to the supposed rivalry between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the rivalry between Oasis and Blur was largely concocted by the English press, though the Gallagher brothers were glad to oblige with some provocative quotes. Initially supportive of each other, tensions between the two bands had been building for months when, in August 1995, the two released singles on the same day, which the press seized on and dubbed “The Battle of Britpop.” Blur won, selling 58,000 more copies of its single than Oasis, whose management came up with various excuses; there were two versions of Blur’s single and supposedly problems with Oasis’ single’s barcode. Noel’s response was more succinct; he said he wished Blur would “catch AIDS and die.” He later apologized.