Blur – In Concert At Glastonbury – June 26, 1994 – BBC Radio 1 –
Blur at Glastonbury 1994 to kick off the weekend. A landmark concert from a watershed year for the festival. Considered one of their best concert appearances, Blur were riding the crest of a huge wave and helped propel the so-called Britpop genre to greater heights.
1994 Glasto has gone down as one of the great festivals, certainly of the 90s – and Blur were in top form. Also sharing the festival with Oasis, Johnny Cash, Radiohead, Inspiral Carpets and a ton of others. The Blur performance has been cited as one of the bands best – so you get to hear it for yourself.
The success of Parklife (1994) revived Blur’s commercial fortunes. The album’s first single, the disco-influenced “Girls & Boys”, found favor on BBC Radio 1 and peaked at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 59 in the US Billboard Hot 100 where it remains the band’s highest-charting single. Parklife entered the British charts at number one and stayed on the album charts for 90 weeks. Enthusiastically greeted by the music press—the NME called it “a Great Pop Record … bigger, bolder, narkier and funnier [than Modern Life is Rubbish]”— Parklife is regarded as one of Britpop’s defining records. Blur won four awards at the 1995 Brit Awards, including Best Band and Best Album for Parklife. Coxon later pointed to Parklife as the moment when “Blur went from being regarded as an alternative, left field arty band to this amazing new pop sensation”.
Blur began working on their fourth album The Great Escape at the start of 1995. Building upon the band’s previous two albums, Albarn’s lyrics for the album consisted of several third-person narratives. James reflected, “It was all more elaborate, more orchestral, more theatrical, and the lyrics were even more twisted … It was all dysfunctional, misfit characters fucking up.” The release of the album’s lead single “Country House” played a part in Blur’s public rivalry with Manchester band Oasis termed the “Battle of Britpop”. Partly due to increasing antagonisms between the groups, Blur and Oasis released their new singles on the same day, an event the NME called “The British Heavyweight Championship”. The debate over which band would top the British singles chart became a media phenomenon, and Albarn appeared on the News at Ten. At the end of the week, “Country House” ultimately outsold Oasis’ “Roll With It” by 274,000 copies to 216,000, becoming Blur’s first number one single.
Crank it up and get ready for the weekend.