Blur are an English rock band formed in London in 1988. The group consists of lead vocalist/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/vocalist 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 became central to the Britpop music and culture movement, and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rivals Oasis in 1995 dubbed the "Battle of Britpop".
In recording their follow-up, Blur (1997), the band underwent another reinvention, showing influence from the lo-fi style of American indie rock groups. The band's third UK number one album, Blur included the "Song 2" single, which brought them mainstream success in the US. Their next album, 13 (1999) saw the band members experimenting with electronic and gospel music, and featured more personal lyrics from Albarn. In May 2002, Coxon left Blur during the recording of their seventh album Think Tank (2003). Containing electronic sounds and more minimal guitar work, the album was marked by Albarn's growing interest in hip hop and African music. After a 2003 tour without Coxon, Blur did no studio work or touring as a band, as members engaged in other projects.
Blur reunited, with Coxon back in the fold, for a series of concerts in 2009. In the following years they released several singles and retrospective compilations, and toured internationally. In 2012, the group received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Their first major release in twelve years, The Magic Whip (2015), became the sixth consecutive Blur studio album to top the British charts.
Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band originally consisted of Liam Gallagher (lead vocals, tambourine), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass guitar) and Tony McCarroll (drums). Upon returning to Manchester, Liam's older brother, Noel Gallagher (lead guitar, vocals) joined as a fifth member, which formed the band's core and settled line-up. During the course of their existence, they had various line-up changes, though the Gallagher brothers remained as the staple members until the group's demise.
Oasis signed to independent record label Creation Records in 1993 and released their record-setting debut album Definitely Maybe (1994). The following year the band recorded (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) with drummer Alan White, in the midst of a chart rivalry with Britpop peers Blur. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? became one of the best-selling albums of all time, selling over 22 million copies worldwide and the Gallagher brothers were featured regularly in tabloid newspapers for their sibling disputes and wild lifestyles. In 1996, Oasis performed two nights at Knebworth for an audience of 125,000 each night, which were at the time the largest outdoor concerts in UK history. 2.5 million people applied for tickets, which remains the highest demand for a show in British history. In 1997, Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now (1997); although it was the fastest selling album in UK chart history, and went on to sell 8 million copies, its popularity tapered off quickly.
McGuigan and Arthurs left Oasis in 1999 as the band released Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000). They were replaced by former Heavy Stereo guitarist/frontman Gem Archer and former Ride guitarist/frontman Andy Bell. Their fifth studio album Heathen Chemistry was released in 2002. In 2004, White left, leaving them as a four-piece, with the addition of the Who drummer Zak Starkey as an unofficial recording and touring fifth member. They found renewed success and popularity with Don't Believe the Truth (2005). Following the recording of the band's seventh album Dig Out Your Soul in May 2008, Starkey departed from the band. Chris Sharrock was recruited as a touring member, and Oasis did their last tour as a collective band. During the tour the Gallagher brothers' deteriorating relationship led to Noel Gallagher announcing his departure in August 2009, after a backstage altercation with Liam. The rest of the band, led by Liam, decided to continue, under the name Beady Eye, until their breakup in 2014. Noel formed a solo project, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
Oasis have had eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums. They have won 17 NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for Outstanding Contribution to Music and one for the Best Album of the Last 30 Years–for (What's the Story) Morning Glory?–as voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners; (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is also the fifth best-selling album in UK chart history, and was the UK's biggest-selling album of the 1990s. They have been nominated for two Grammy Awards. As of 2009, Oasis have sold over 75 million records worldwide. The band were listed in the Guinness World Records book in 2010 for "Longest Top 10 UK Chart Run by a Group" after an unprecedented run of 22 top 10 hits in the UK. The band also holds the Guinness World Record for the most successful act in the UK between the years 1995 and 2005, spending 765 weeks in the top 75 singles and albums charts.