Guy Garvey

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Guy Garvey
Garvey at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015
Garvey at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015
Background information
Birth nameGuy Edward John Garvey
Born (1974-03-06) 6 March 1974 (age 48)
Bury, Lancashire, England
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • arranger
  • radio broadcaster
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • percussion
  • harmonica
  • keyboards
Years active1990–present

Guy Edward John Garvey (born 6 March 1974)[1] is an English musician, singer, songwriter and BBC Radio 6 Music presenter. He is the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Elbow.

Early life[edit]

Garvey grew up in Bury, Lancashire. His father was a grammar school boy who could not afford to go to university; he spent most of his working life as a newspaper proofreader and a chemist at ICI. His mother was a police officer who went back to university and became a psychologist. One of seven siblings, Garvey has five older sisters: Gina, Louise, Sam, Karen, and Becky. His younger brother is actor Marcus Garvey.[2][3]


In the early 1990s, while at sixth-form college in Whitefield,[4] near Bury, Garvey formed Elbow with Mark and Craig Potter, Pete Turner, and Richard Jupp. He serves as the lyricist of Elbow, and has been widely praised for his songwriting throughout his career. As well as vocal duties Garvey has also played a wide variety of instruments live including both electric and acoustic guitar, trumpet, and various forms of percussion. Elbow won two Ivor Novello awards for best song writing for the 2008 single "Grounds for Divorce" as well as best contemporary song for "One Day Like This".[5] He was awarded a lifetime achievement honour by the Radio Academy in 2014.[6] In the same year, he also featured on the re-launched Band Aid charity's single to raise funds for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa.[6] Garvey, with Elbow, was commissioned by the BBC to write the theme song for the 2012 London Olympics and Elbow performed this song, "First Steps" at the closing ceremony of the Olympics.[7]

Amongst other work, Garvey produced and recorded the I Am Kloot album Natural History (2001). Alongside Elbow keyboard player Craig Potter he also produced I Am Kloot's single "Maybe I Should" (2005, not associated with any album), their Mercury Music Prize nominated 2010 album Sky at Night and their 2013 album Let It All In. Elbow were themselves Mercury Music Prize nominees, in 2011, for the album Build a Rocket Boys! and won the prize in 2008 for their album "The Seldom Seen Kid". In addition, Garvey made an appearance on Massive Attack's 2010 album record Heligoland.

He is a member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA).[8] In April 2012 Garvey became a patron of the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to music he received, in July of the same year, an honorary doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University, to become a Doctor of Arts.[9]

Garvey has been a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music since 2007 (Sunday afternoon 2 pm to 4 pm, British time) and previously presented a show on Sunday evenings on XFM. He had a monthly column in the now-defunct listings magazine City Life and is a patron of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG),[10] the Manchester-based charity responsible for clearing war zones of mines and munitions worldwide.

In 2015, Garvey presented Music Box, an iPlayer-exclusive series covering emerging and established bands. Garvey has also read several children's stories for the CBeebies "Bedtime Stories" program on the BBC.[citation needed]

In 2015, Garvey announced that he would be releasing his first solo studio album while continuing his duties as Elbow's lead songwriter. The resulting album, Courting the Squall, was released on 30 October 2015, by Polydor Records in the UK.[11][12] On 27 October 2015 Garvey appeared on BBC Two's Later... with Jools Holland, where he performed "Angela's Eyes" and "Belly of the Whale".[13]

In April 2017, Garvey appeared in the BBC television sitcom Peter Kay's Car Share, playing Kayleigh's brother-in-law Steve.[14]

In September 2018, Garvey appeared in the ITV television series The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, as the bar singer in the Episode "Fog of War". He sings "I Only Have Eyes for You".

In 2020, he collaborated with Wise Owl Films (part of Lime Pictures) on the Sky Arts music series, Guy Garvey: From The Vaults, which features performances and interviews from a specific year in pop and rock history.[15] Archive footage includes Channel 4's The Tube (made by Tyne Tees), children's shows such as Tiswas, Razzmatazz and Get It Together, as well as clips from regional programmes such as So It Goes, The London Weekend Show and The Geordie Scene. Many of the performances were previously unseen or being shown for the first time since they originally aired.[16] The series began on 18 September 2020, returning for a second season the following year and a third in 2022. Series 4 and 5 are currently in production.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Garvey began dating actress Rachael Stirling in 2015[2][18] and the two were married in June 2016 at Manchester Town Hall.[19] The couple had their first child, a son, in 2017.[20]

In a 2019 interview, Garvey identified Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock albums as his two favourite albums of all time, and also cited Bjork's Vespertine, Joni Mitchell's For the Roses, and the work of I Am Kloot and Peter Gabriel as other favourites, among many others.[21]


With Elbow[edit]



  1. ^ "Guy Garvey discography". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b Hattenstone, Simon (31 October 2015). "Guy Garvey: 'I used to think booze helped me write. It doesn't'". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. ^ Dave Simpson (25 July 2008). "Guardian profile". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Elbow star Guy Garvey tells of band's beginnings in Tottington". Bury Times. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  5. ^ Rosie Swash. "Double triumph for Elbow at Ivor Novello awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Radio Academy". Radio Academy. Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Elbow Unveils First Steps". NME.
  8. ^ Founder of UBR (18 May 2009). "British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors". The Unsigned band review. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Honorary Doctorates announced". Manchester Metropolitan University. Archived from the original on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  10. ^ "The Mines Advisory Group". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  11. ^ Goodacre, Kate (16 September 2015). "Elbow's Guy Garvey is going solo with his new album Courting the Squall". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Guy Garvey - Courting The Squall". discogs. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  13. ^ "BBC Two - Later... with Jools Holland, Series 47 Live, Episode 7". 27 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  14. ^ "BBC Peter Kay's Car Share". 11 April 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Guy Garvey dips into the ITV music archive for Sky Arts series". Prolific North. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Guy Garvey dips into the ITV music archive for Sky Arts series". 18 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Wise Owl Films Lands Three More Series of Sky Arts' Guy Garvey: From the Vaults - Wise Owl Films".
  18. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (7 November 2015). "The Tipping the Velvet star is returning to our screens in the BBC's Capital". The Independent.
  19. ^ Walters, Sarah (9 June 2016). "Guy Garvey has married actress girlfriend Rachael Stirling". men. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  20. ^ Curtis, Nick (8 April 2017). "Rachel Stirling on life as Diana Rigg's daughter and her whirlwind romance with Elbow's Guy Garvey". The Telegraph – via
  21. ^ "elbow's Guy Garvey on Making 'Giants of All Sizes' and Writing Music". YouTube. 2019. Archived from the original on 24 October 2021.

External links[edit]