Raised in Leytonstone, East London and around Colchester, Essex, Albarn attended Stanway Comprehensive School, where he met Graham Coxon and eventually formed Blur whose debut album, Leisure, was released in 1991 to mixed reviews. After spending long periods of time touring the United States, Albarn's songwriting became increasingly influenced by British bands from the 1960s. The result of these influences came in the form of Modern Life Is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape. All three albums received widespread critical acclaim while Blur gained mass popularity in the UK, aided by a rivalry shared with Oasis. Subsequent albums contained influences from lo-fi, electronic and hip hop music such as Blur, 13 and their final album Think Tank. Albarn was voted the fourth-greatest frontman of all time in a 2010 UK Poll for Q Music magazine.
In 1998, Albarn along with Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, formed the "virtual band" Gorillaz.
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