Jarvis Cocker in Italy, 2012
|Birth name||Jarvis Branson Cocker|
19 September 1963 |
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock, indie pop, art rock, post-punk, britpop|
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, actor|
|Instruments||vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass guitar|
Jarvis Branson Cocker (born 19 September 1963) is an English musician and frontman for the band Pulp. Through his work with the band, Cocker became a figurehead of the Britpop movement of the mid-1990s. Following Pulp's hiatus, Cocker has led a successful solo career, and currently presents his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music, Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service.
Early life 
Cocker was born in Sheffield, growing up in the Intake area of the city. His father, Mac, a DJ and actor, left the family and moved to Sydney when Jarvis was seven and had no contact with him or his sister Saskia thereafter, leaving them to be brought up by their mother, now a Conservative councillor.
Jarvis Cocker credits his upbringing, almost exclusively in female company, for his interest in how women think and what they have to say. He wrote a song ("A Little Soul" on This Is Hardcore) about being abandoned by his father, and in 1998 travelled with his sister to Australia to meet him for the first time in nearly 30 years. Mac Cocker had a successful radio DJ career in Sydney beginning with Double J in the 1970s and then Triple J in the 1980s, and did not counter a common impression there that he was Joe Cocker's brother or cousin (despite both being from Sheffield, they are not related in any way). By the time of his son's visit, Mac Cocker had moved to a hippie commune in Darwin, Northern Territory. Cocker says he has forgiven his father for abandoning them. "I don't feel any bitterness towards him at all. I feel sorry for him."
Cocker founded "Arabacus Pulp" (named after a tradeable commodity he saw in an economics class) at the age of 15 while he was still at The City School. After numerous line-up changes, and a shortening of the name to "Pulp", they eventually found fame in the 1990s with the success of the albums His 'n' Hers (1994) and Different Class (1995). As Pulp's front-man, part of his trademark image was his glasses, which seemed to "stay magically on his face" no matter his antics on stage, apparently this was achieved with "a huge rubber band round the back".
Pulp released two more albums (This Is Hardcore and We Love Life) to critical acclaim, though neither achieved the commercial success of Different Class. After releasing a greatest hits album, the band was on hiatus from 2003 to 2010, but returned to activity in 2011.
Cocker is also renowned for his wit and observations of the cultural scene. He was a frequent guest on TV shows in the 1990s, as well as hosting an arts series for the Channel 4 – "Journeys into the Outside". Here he took a trip across the globe, meeting so-called "outsider artists", people who create wacky and wonderful works of art, and trying to understand what compels them to do so. Cocker's penchant for TV appearances was reflected in a parody of "Common People" ("Showbiz People") which was featured on the satirical comedy show Spitting Image in 1996.
BRIT Awards incident 
Cocker invaded the stage at the 1996 BRIT Awards in a spur of the moment protest against Michael Jackson's performance. Jackson was performing his hit "Earth Song" while surrounded by children and a rabbi. Cocker and his friend Peter Mansell (a former Pulp member) performed an impromptu stage invasion in protest.
Cocker was detained and interviewed by the police on suspicion of assault. He was accompanied by comedian Bob Mortimer, a former solicitor, who represented him in that capacity. He was subsequently released without charge. Opinions from the press on Cocker's actions were mixed. The 2 March 1996 edition of Melody Maker, for example, suggested Cocker should be knighted, and Noel Gallagher of Oasis said that "Jarvis Cocker is a star" and should be awarded an MBE. Regarding his actions, Cocker said, "My actions were a form of protest at the way Michael Jackson sees himself as some kind of Christ-like figure with the power of healing. I just ran on the stage. I didn't make any contact with anyone as far as I recall."
On 2 July 2009 he appeared as a panellist on BBC TV's Question Time. He said that Jackson's recent death had been over-hyped by the media. When asked what he objected to about Michael Jackson at the time of the BRIT Award incident, he reiterated his earlier comments about Jackson and Christ (whilst admitting he himself wasn't religious). When asked, "Otherwise as a performer you thought he was a genius?" Cocker replied, "He invented the moonwalk."
Solo career 
Jarvis: 2006–2008 
At the 2006 Reading festival, the video for "Running the World" was played on the main video screens of the main stage throughout the day, notably before the headline act, Muse, performed. This video contained a karaoke-like presentation of the song's lyrics to encourage the crowd to sing along.
On 14 February 2007, he was chosen to give the award for Best British Newcomer (awarded to the Fratellis) at the Brit Awards.
He curated the 2007 Meltdown Festival at the South Bank Centre in London. The acts he chose include Motörhead, Roky Erickson and the Explosives with Clinic, Devo with Drumsize, Iggy & The Stooges, Cornershop and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
In March 2008, Cocker made a small tour of Latin America (México, Argentina and Chile) where he presented a new song called "Girls Like It Too".
Further Complications: 2008–present 
Jarvis Cocker planned to release a new studio album, and revealed the names of two tracks set for the record. Speaking to NME.com, he said that he had written "Girls Like It Too" and "The Usual" and hoped to have enough material to record the follow-up to his solo debut soon. "I've got vague ideas," he said of the forthcoming LP. "I'd like to do another album before the end of the year."
Around the record's release, Cocker participated in a project proposing to tackle the question, "What is Music?" It was designed to enter into the debate over the future of the music industry. "Does this mean," asked the singer, "that music can now go back to being an art form again? Also, what happens if you get a band to rehearse in an art gallery instead of a rehearsal space?" Consequently, Cocker and his band installed themselves in an art gallery in Paris for five days. Each day, Cocker and his musicians performed a variety of different tasks. These included soundtracking a relaxation class, inviting local musicians to join them in a jam, and arranging activities with local school-children. The events were organised around Jarvis's public rehearsals for his forthcoming live dates. Films of the exhibition can still be found online.
In Further Complications, Cocker embraced an altogether more muscular sound, while retaining his trademark witticisms (on 'Leftovers', he sings "I met her in the Museum of Palaeontology / "And I make no bones about it"). Reviews generally praised both the themes and sound of the record, with Drowned in Sound in particular writing that Further Complications was "a huge leap forward" for Cocker.
Side projects 
Cocker sang a duet, "Ciao!", with Miki Berenyi on British shoegazing band Lush's 1996 album Lovelife. In 1997, he collaborated with David Arnold on a cover of All Time High by Rita Coolidge, the theme from Octopussy. Furthermore, he gained co-writing credits for several songs ("Walk Like A Panther", "1st Man in Space", "Drive Safely Darlin'", "Stars On Sunday", and "Happy Birthday Nicola") on The All Seeing I's album Pickled Eggs & Sherbet, released in 1999. He contributed lead vocals to "Drive Safely Darlin'". He also performed live with The All Seeing I on Top Of The Pops, singing "Walk Like A Panther" in place of Tony Christie, who sang on the recorded version.
In 2001 he contributed "Everybody Loves The Underdog" to the soundtrack for Mike Bassett: England Manager. He re-emerged in 2003 to promote a new album, under the pseudonym "Darren Spooner", for his new band Relaxed Muscle. The same year, he appeared on the Richard X album Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1. In 2004, Cocker collaborated with Nancy Sinatra on her new album, as well as with Marianne Faithfull on her album Kissin' Time, with the song "Sliding through Life on Charm."
In 2005 Cocker co-wrote three tracks ("La Degustation", "Basque Country" and "Fred de Fred") on Sheffield-based electronica duo The Lovers' self-titled debut album. That same year he also covered "I Can't Forget" by Leonard Cohen as part of the tribute show for the film Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man.
Cocker also contributed to the soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, writing and performing three tracks: "This Is the Night", "Do the Hippogriff" and "Magic Works". He appeared briefly in the film as lead singer of the band The Weird Sisters. The fictitious group also featured Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway from Radiohead, Steve Mackey from Pulp, Jason Buckle from Relaxed Muscle and Steve Claydon from Add N to (X).
In 2006 Cocker appeared on albums Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited (song "I Just Came to Tell You That I'm Going", co-performed with Kid Loco) and Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys (song "A Drop of Nelson's Blood"). His song "Running the World" appeared over the closing credits of the film Children of Men. Also in 2006, along with Steve Mackey, he 'curated' the two-CD compilation, The Trip, which featured a wide selection of tracks by artists as varied as The Fall, Gene Pitney, The Beach Boys, and The Polecats. He also co-wrote lyrics on the Charlotte Gainsbourg album 5:55, with Neil Hannon and members of Air. Cocker and Beth Ditto (The Gossip) recently collaborated on a cover version of Heaven 17's "Temptation" at the NME Awards in London. In 2007, Cocker contributed to two songs on French electronica group Air's album "Pocket Symphony" – performing on "One Hell of a Party" and (with Charlotte Gainsbourg) "The Duelist". In 2008, Cocker contributed Born to Cry, (originally a Pulp song released on the Notting Hill soundtrack CD – though not featured in the film and co-written by Richard Hawley) to Tony Christie's album of songs by Sheffield based songwriters, Made in Sheffield. In 2010, he worked with the National Trust to produce an album of sounds recorded at 11 of Britain's historically significant sites. In 2010 he also narrated Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf at the Royal Festival Hall.
Jarvis sang vocals on the single "Synchronize" by Discodeine.
Music videos 
Cocker has also directed music videos for amongst other Warp Records, most notably On by Aphex Twin, Sudden Rush by Erlend Øye and Aftermath by Nightmares on Wax. (All three were co-directed with Martin Wallace). He also made brief appearances in the music videos for "A Little More For Little You" by Swedish rockers The Hives and "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow" by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
He also is to be seen as Myron Wagtail, lead singer of the Weird Sisters in a ball scene in the movie "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". The original scene was cut short, but most of the Blu-ray and DVD releases hold the original scene in full-length with the whole 3:30 minute song in bonus parts.
Journeys Into The Outside with Jarvis Cocker 
Places visited included:
- Simon Rodia's Watts Towers in Los Angeles
- The Rock Garden of Chandigarh by Nek Chand
- The Garden of Eden by Samuel P. Dinsmoor
- The sculpture garden of Las Pozas, Mexico by Edward James
The series was directed by longtime collaborator Martin Wallace.
On 12 October 2006, a fictional version of Cocker was a lead character in a drama on BBC Radio 2, as part of their 'Imagine' competition. On 31 December 2008, Cocker guest edited the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. He also guested as a panellist on BBC's Question Time in July 2009.
In October 2009, BBC Radio 6 Music announced Cocker was set to take over the Sunday afternoon slot from 10 January 2010 onwards, with Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service. He was quoted as saying "Sunday doesn't feel that different to the other days of the week any more. Although there was something weird about when everything seemed to stop on a Sunday, it kind of marked out the week. I am going to put the boringness back into Sunday. That's my mission."
In January 2011 he appeared with fellow musician Richard Hawley and DJ Marc Riley on a BBC Radio 4 programme where they went "In Search of the Holy Whale," i.e., whale-watching in the sea off Cork.
American director Wes Anderson is an admirer of Cocker's work. This led to Anderson giving Cocker a role in the stop-animation movie Fantastic Mr. Fox as the voice of Petey, who also sings an original song. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire he plays Myron Wagtail, lead singer of the Weird Sisters. He also played himself in the 2007 romantic comedy The Good Night.
In October 2011 Faber published a collection of his lyrics entitled Mother, Brother, Lover: Selected Lyrics.
Personal life 
Soon after signing to Fire, in November 1985, Cocker fell out of a window while trying to impress a girl with a Spider-Man impression and ended up in hospital, temporarily requiring the use of a wheelchair, in which he appeared during concerts.
Cocker lived in Paris from 2003 with his wife, Camille Bidault-Waddington, and their son Albert (born 24 March 2003), known in the family as Alf. In April 2009 he announced that they were divorcing "on amicable terms", but that he was staying in Paris to remain in his son's life. Cocker had previously lived in Paris in the early 1990s, writing lyrics for Pulp's breakthrough album His 'n' Hers there, but he never learned to speak French, according to Bidault-Waddington.
In 2010, Cocker was named Cultural Ambassador for Eurostar.
- COMMON PEOPLE – THE STORY OF PULP, BBC
- "Jarvis's Sunday Service". BBC. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
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- "Jarvis Gets Real." Interview with Jarvis Cocker by Giny Dougary. The Times Magazine, London, 16 March 2002.
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- "Mays XIX".
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- "Home – This Recording". Retrieved 1 October 2009.
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- Dave Haslam (16 October 2011). "Interviews". davehaslam.com. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Sturdy, p.124
- Barber, Lynn (10 June 2007). "Paris match | Pop | guardian.co.uk Music". London: Observer.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Jarvis' marriage Pulped". The Sun (UK). 26 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
- Bateman, Nadine (27 June 2010). "My life: Camille Bidault-Waddington". SCMP (Hong Kong). Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- "Jarvis Cocker named Eurostar's cultural ambassador". kentnews.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jarvis Cocker|
- Official website
- Jarvis Cocker at Rough Trade Records
- Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service at BBC 6 Music
- Jarvis Cocker at the Internet Movie Database
- Jarvis Cocker: 'Gordon Brown is crushingly dull. I'd advocate a revolution' at The Independent
- Jarvis Cocker: "BBC 6 Music is worth fighting for"