Thanks to his passion for experimental and indie music, Graham Coxon helped Blur explore other sounds once the Brit-pop craze faded. That adventurousness also propelled his solo career, which ranged from folk and Krautrock-inspired albums to soundtrack work.
Born in Germany to a clarinet player and bandleader in the British Army, Coxon moved around England as a boy. He eventually settled in Colchester, Essex, in South East England, where he met future Blur bandmate Damon Albarn at age 11. In 1989, Coxon, Albarn, and Alex James -- who Coxon met at London's Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College -- formed the band Seymour, which later became Blur at the behest of their record label. As Blur's Brit-pop-fueled success began to wane in the late '90s, Coxon's fondness for American indie acts like Pavement and Sonic Youth began to surface in singles such as "Song 2" -- which earned the band mainstream success in America -- and albums like 1997's Blur and 1999's 13.
Around this time, Coxon began his solo career. His debut album, 1998's The Sky Is Too High, mixed folk and garage rock and was released on his own Transcopic label in the U.K. He followed it with 2000's noisy The Golden D and 2001's introspective, acoustic Crow Sit on Blood Tree. In 2002, Coxon left Blur during sessions for their seventh album, Think Tank, and issued The Kiss of Morning, a relatively poppy set of songs. For the following year's Happiness in Magazines, he worked with longtime Blur producer Stephen Street, and reunited with him on 2006's Love Travels at Illegal Speeds. That year also saw the release of the double live album Burnt to Bitz: At the Astoria. In 2007, Coxon collaborated with Paul Weller on the single "This Old Town," which reached 39 on the U.K. singles chart.
Two years later, Coxon recruited Street once more for The Spinning Top, a largely acoustic album that followed the entire life story of a man in its songs. Also in 2009, Coxon worked with Pete Doherty on his album Grace/Wastelands, and reunited with Blur for a U.K. tour. For the next few years, he balanced his solo work and band duties, releasing his Krautrock-tinged album A+E in 2012 and working with Street on unused Blur songs that became the band's 2015 album, The Magic Whip. Coxon had a busy year in 2017: he (and Albarn) appeared on Rat Boy's debut album, Scum, and he released the single "Falling" as a fundraiser for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). He also scored the acclaimed Netflix and Channel 4 television series The End of the F***king World, which was based on Charles S. Forsman's graphic novel. Coxon's moody music for the show was released early in 2018. ~ Heather Phares