Blur's 10 best B-Sides

19 May 2023, 12:00 | Updated: 11 July 2023, 13:50

Blur in their 90s heyday: Alex James, Dave Rowntree, Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn
Blur in their 90s heyday: Alex James, Dave Rowntree, Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo

With the news that the Britpop legends are set to reunite in 2023 for a huge show at Wembley Stadium, let's dig into their extensive back catalogue...

Radio X

By Radio X

Blur delighted fans with the announcement that they would be reuniting in 2023 to play a huge show at Wembley Stadium on 8th July. They've added another show - Beauregard Festival in France, for 6th July, spawning all kinds of rumours that they will play yet more reunion dates.

The immediate question is: will they be releasing any new material? Their last outing was seven years ago with The Magic Whip, but now seems to be the ideal time to delve into the quartet's extensive back catalogue.

With eight studio albums under their belt - Leisure (1991), Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994), The Great Escape (1995), Blur (1996), 13 (1999), Think Tank (2003) and The Magic Whip (2015) - Blur have an extensive back catalogue to dip into for any live sets, but will they give an airing to some of the great B-sides they've issued over the years?

Radio X takes a look at some of the best...

  1. Blur - Bustin' + Dronin'

    Appearing alongside Song 2 in April 1997, Bustin' + Dronin' takes Blur right back to their shoegaze roots of the early 90s.

    Bustin' and Dronin' (2012 Remaster)

  2. Blur - All We Want

    Appearing on the second CD of the confessional Tender, this is a shock to the system after the gospel-tinged A-side. Distorted guitars and squealing synths are to the fore, with a typically arch Damon Albarn vocal.

    All We Want (2012 Remaster)

  3. Blur - All Your Life

    If you turned over your 7" single of Beetlebum in 1999, you'd discover this Bowie-esque beauty, which Damon Albarn still plays at solo shows.

    All Your Life (2012 Remaster)

  4. Blur - Bone Bag

    Blur's turn towards what would become known as "Britpop" in 1993 really starts with the single For Tomorrow. Bone Bag appears on the CD single and is an appealing mix of pounding piano, Indian percussion and psychedelic vocals.

    Bone Bag (2012 Remaster)

  5. Blur - Theme From An Imaginary Film

    Blur's Parklife era toyed with many different styles and this B-side to the title track shows where their heads were at in 1994. It's a fairground-styled waltz with a sense of humour ("Well push me over, me on my back and you on your arse"), but just a hint of darkness lurking underneath.

    Theme from an Imaginary Film (2012 Remaster)

  6. Blur - Tame

    Another of the Stereotypes B-sides, Tame is another cryptic Albarn lyric backed by crunchy Coxon guitars and the odd synth squelch.

    Tame (2012 Remaster)

  7. Blur - Young And Lovely

    Appearing on the 12" of Chemical World, this finely-crafted song has the same obsession with 60s psychedelia and, in particular, the work of Pink Floyd's founding member Syd Barrett. A great example of a B-side perfectly complementing its "A".

    Young and Lovely (2012 Remaster)

  8. Blur - The Man Who Left Himself

    A woozy acoustic number from the Stereoptypes single in February 1996.

    The Man Who Left Himself (2012 Remaster)

  9. Blur - I Know

    OK, we're cheating a bit here as this was officially a "double A-side" with She's So High, when it was released in October 1990. But I Know didn't get its own video and wasn't included on the Blur "Best Of", so here we are. This has one of Alex James' greatest basslines, a loping drum beat from Dave Rowntree and an organ loop that makes the track sound a little like early Charlatans.

    Blur - I Know

  10. Blur - Black Book

    A murky, downbeat slice of melancholia, which is given an uplifting air by the beautiful voices of the London Community Gospel Choir. This track was premiered at Blur's Meltdown show in July 2000 and wound up on the flip of the standalone single Music Is My Radar.

    Black Book (2012 Remaster)