Damon Albarn (b.1968) and Graham Coxon (b.1969) met as schoolboys in 1980, at Stanway Comprehensive School in Colchester, Essex, where they sang together in the choir. Both had musical parents. Alex James met Coxon at Goldsmith's College in the London, where they studied together in the late 1980s. Dave Rowntree came from Colchester, where he had seen Albarn perform solo in 1988. Together they formed an art-punk band called Seymour. After a dozen or so shows, they renamed the band Blur in 1989, and were signed to Food Records later that year.

The first release from Blur was the single 'She's So High', in 1990. The story really began to gather speed with the next single, 'There's No Other Way', a hit in Britain in spring 1991.

'Leisure', Blur's debut album released in August 1991, was heavily influenced by Pink Floyd; the guitars and vocal harmonies by the Beatles. With their second album, 'Modern Life Is Rubbish', Albarn moved on as a songwriter, writing witty caustic lyrics, sung to music littered with Brit pop references and string and brass accompaniment. This sound developed on the third album, 'Parklife', which won four Brit Awards in 1995.

'The Great Escape' pushed beyond pop, entangling banjo with Mellotron with waltz. Blur then retreated to Iceland, to work on 'Beetlebum',another number 1 single, in January 1997, and 'Blur', a UK number 1 album.

In 1998, Coxon launched his own label, Transcopic, and released his solo debut. The band returned in March 1999, with 'Tender', a lingering meditation on Albarn's turbulent relationship with Justine Frischmann of Elastica. 'Think Tank', recorded without Coxon, takes punk into world music.

During the band's hiatus, members of Blur pursued solo careers, which saw Albarn work with comic artist Jamie Hewlett and several leading hip-hop producers to create the manufactured cartoon band, the Gorillaz.

In early 2002, the band temporarily broke their hiatus to record a track for the European Space Agency's Mars Lander but this never came to pass as the lander was lost. The band travelled to Marrakesh to record a new album later that year but Coxon was seen as distant from his fellow band mates and failed to attend recording sessions.

Coxon was asked to leave the group and only appears on the final track of the album 'Think tank', which was released in May 2003. The record was mainly written by Albarn and was seen as a testament to his increasing interest in African and Middle Eastern music.

Following rumours that Coxon would be rejoining Blur and recording a new album that proved to be false in 2004, 5, 6 and 7, the band announced in December 2008 that they would reunite for a concert.

Blur played two concerts at Hyde Park on 2 and 3 July 2009 to sell-out crowds. Alexis Petridis, music critic for the Guardian, reviewed the band's performance at Goldsmiths College that year and said: "Blur's music seems to have potentiated by the passing of years ... they sound both more frenetic and punky and more nuanced and exploratory than they did at the height of their fame"

The band also headlined several festivals including Glastonbury on 28 June 2009, as well as Oxegen and T in the Park where they had to play later than planned as Coxon was sent to hospital with food poisoning.

James and Albarn stated at the end of 2009 that Blur had no plans to continue the reunion after the summer concerts.