Raised in Leytonstone, East London, and around Colchester, Essex, Albarn attended the Stanway School, where he met guitarist Graham Coxon and formed Blur, which released its debut album Leisure in 1991. After spending long periods touring the U. S. , Albarn's songwriting became increasingly influenced by British bands from the 1960s. The result was Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). All three albums received critical acclaim while Blur gained mass popularity in the UK, aided by a Britpop rivalry with Oasis. Subsequent albums such as Blur (1997), 13 (1999), and Think Tank (2003) incorporated influences from lo-fi, electronic and hip hop music.