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15 Things You Didn't Know About Blur

It's been 20 years since Blur released 'Parklife' and shot to commercial superstardom. To celebrate, here are 15 things you might not know about Britpop's reigning champions. (Sorry Oasis!)

1 / 15

The bass line of “Parklife” is known as the "Devil’s Interval"

It's used a lot in metal (unsurprisingly) and was made illegal by the church in the Middle Ages. Heavy!

2 / 15

'Parklife' was originally named 'Soft Porn'

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace to read the easel displaying the announcement of the son o
Dan Dennison/Getty Images

Other alternatives included Magic Arrows and Sport. The band also wanted an image of Buckingham Palace on the cover. Pretty far from the vicious greyhound cover that won out.

3 / 15

Damon Albarn wanted Blur to become the "quintessential English band of the '90s"

Damon Albarn performs on stage with Blur, United Kingdom, 1990. (Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)
Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Before Parklife came out , Damon Albarn told NME, “When our third album comes out, our position as the quintessential English band of the '90s will be assured.”  No ego there!

4 / 15

An early version of “To The End” featured Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann

Getty Images, 2

The final version of the track features Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier instead. Frischmann and Albarn were also dating at the time.

5 / 15

The cover for the “Girls & Boys” single was taken from a Durex packet

Yeah, a condom wrapper... not much to add here.

6 / 15

Bassist Alex James blames 'Parklife' for his debauchery

UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 24: Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James - posed group shot  (Photo by Mick Hutson/R
Mick Hutson/Redferns

In his autobiography, “A Bit Of A Blur” the musician wrote, “As Parklife gathered more and more momentum I slipped anchor and blew adrift on the shallow sea of a permanent backstage party. There was always one more place to go and I leaped into London’s deep and dark night.” Sometimes fame isn't all it's cracked up to be.

7 / 15

Blur wasn't the band's original name

English alternative rock band Blur relax on a beach, circa 1995. From left to right, Graham Coxon, Alex James, Damon Albarn a
Tim Roney/Getty Images

Once called Seymour, the band decided between Whirlpool, Sensitize and the Shining Path. 

8 / 15

“Magic America” was inspired by an Italian porn channel

With lyrics like, "Took a cab to the shopping malls / Bought and ate until he could do neither anymore / Then found love on channel 44," their thoughts on the American dream are pretty clear.

9 / 15

Albarn's parents lived next door to John Lennon

Ann Limongello

It's true! In the early '60s the couple moved to London and rented a flat in Emperor's Gate, right next door to the late Beatle

10 / 15

Banksy did the cover art for 'Think Tank'

Naturally the original was worth a lot of money. It sold for $125,985 at auction in 2007!

11 / 15

In 1996, guitarist Graham Coxon didn't show up for a lip-synced Italian TV performance...

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - JUNE 13: Graham Coxon (L) and Damon Albarn of Blur perform as part of Live 105's BFD 1997 at Shoreline Am
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

...so he was replaced by a cardboard cut-out. 

12 / 15

“The Universal” was originally written as a ska song

Don't get those skanking shoes out just yet! Rumor has it the version exists, but has yet to surface.

13 / 15

Thom Yorke called Blur "bastards"

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 8: Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at Day 2 of the Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival on June 8, 2012 in
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

At a radio show in 2003 the Radiohead frontman announced that he wished he had written “Girls & Boys” and called Blur “bastards” for doing so... all in good fun, of course.

14 / 15

'13' wasn't their first choice for that album's name

Legend has it the album was almost called When You're Walking Backwards To Hell No-One Can See You, Only God

15 / 15

The band wrote “Bang” in 15 minutes

Or less than that, if you take their word for it. Not bad for a third single!


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