Childhood friends Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon met Alex James when they began studying at London's Goldsmiths College in 1988. Albarn was in a group named Circus, which was joined by fellow Goldsmiths student, drummer Dave Rowntree, that October. Circus requested the services of Coxon after the departure of their guitarist. That December Circus fired two members and James joined as the group's bassist. This new group named themselves Seymour in December 1988, inspired by J.D. Salinger's short stories about Seymour Glass. The group claimed various diverse influences, including Cardiacs, The Pixies, Kurt Weill, Dinosaur Jr and Antonin Artaud's "Theatre of Cruelty". The first ever rehearsal took place at The Beat Factory on 18th December 1988. This session produced what would become the first Blur single, "She's So High". (Most all of Seymour's recordings were recorded at The Beat Factory with Maryke Bergkamp and Graeme Holdaway.) Seymour performed live for the first time in summer 1989.
After receiving a demo cassette containing the songs "She's So High", "Dizzy", "Fried", and "Long Legged", Food Records' A&R man Andy Ross attended a November 1989 Seymour performance at the Powerhaus in Islington, North London that convinced him to court the group for his label. However, Food disliked the name "Seymour", so Andy Ross and label owner Dave Balfe drew up a list of alternative names, from which the band decided on "Blur" (some sources dispute this story slightly). Food Records finally signed the newly christened Blur in March 1990.