PJ Harvey (born Polly Jean Harvey, 9.10.1969)
PJ Harvey is an English singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the 1990s, gaining adulation from the alternative music press for her caustic and emotive performances.
Childhood: PJ Harvey was born and raised in Dorset, where she grew up on a small farm. She is daughter to a stonemason and a sculptor. It was her parents that introduced her to music, listening to blues and jazz, such as Robert Johnson and John Lee Hooker, as well as rock music such as Captain Beefheart and Jimi Hendrix.
As she grew up, Harvey would listen to bands such as Soft Cell and Spandau Ballet, moving on to US guitar bands such as Television and The Pixies. PJ Harvey has been frequently compared to Patti Smith, though she has never claimed her as an influence.
When she was growing up, PJ Harvey learned to play saxophone and guitar, frequently contributing to bands such as The Stoned Weaklings, the Polekats and one of John Parish's early bands, Automatic Dlamini.
Musical Career: In 1991, PJ Harvey formed an eponymous 3-piece band. The other two members of the band were Rob Ellis on drums and Ian Olliver on bass (later, Olliver was replaced by Steve Vaughan), while Harvey sang and played guitar. Their debut gig resulted in them being asked to stop, as all the customers at the Antelope Hotel in Sherborne had left.
PJ Harvey's debut single, 'Dress' was released on the Too Pure label. John Peel was the guest reviewer of Melody Maker that week and made it Single of the Week.
Harvey's second single was 'Sheela Na Gig.' It was quickly followed by her debut album, Dry, in 1992. Kurt Cobain once claimed that Dry was one of his favourite albums. Rolling Stone magazine named Harvey as Best Songwriter and Best New Female Singer that year - she was still only 22 years old.
In April 1992, PJ Harvey created a stir when she appeared topless on the cover of NME.
PJ Harvey went on to sign to Island Records and quickly released another two albums. Rid Of Me was engineered by Steve Albini and was followed by some of the demo tapes made for the songs on Rid of Me, entitled simply 4-Track Demos.
When Rob Ellis, Steve Vaughan and PJ Harvey parted ways in August 1993, PJ Harvey embarked on a solo career. Her first solo album was To Bring You My Love, Released in 1995, it was produced by John Parish and Flood and sold over 1 million units. The track 'Down By the Water' became a surprise radio hit, as Harvey's previous music had never really had a radio-friendly sound to it. Harvey's performance at Glastonbury, in a pink catsuit, remains one of the most iconic performances in the festival's history.
PJ Harvey's next studio album was entitled Is This Desire? The album was a departure from her trademark guitar sound, relying more heavily on keyboards, piano and bass guitar. The album was released in 1996, to a mixed response.
In 2000, PJ Harvey released the Mercury Music Prize winning Stories From the City, Stories From The Sea. Rob Ellis was back on board for the album, which also featured Mick Harvey, a highly respected multi-instrumentalist. The album was written in Paris, Dorset and New York. The album also featured vocals from Thom Yorke, of Radiohead.
In 2004, PJ Harvey released Uh-Huh Her. Harvey produced the album herself, and played almost all of the instruments (except for the drums). Two years later, Harvey's first live performance DVD was released, entitled Please Leave Quietly. The DVD also featured behind-the-scenes footage. In October 2006, PJ Harvey's sessions on John Peel's radio program were collected together and released as The Peel Sessions 1991-2004.
Harvey's eighth studio album, White Chalk, was released in November 2006. Eric Drew Feldman, John Parish and Flood all worked on the album with her. The album was comprised mainly of piano ballads.
Early in 2009, Harvey contributed some original incidental music to a Broadway production of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, starring Mary Louise Parker.
In March 2009, PJ Harvey and John Parish released a collaborative album entitled A Woman A Man Walked By. In 1996, the pair had released Dance Hall at Louse Point together.
Side Projects and Collaborations: PJ Harvey has contributed to Josh Homme's Desert Sessions series. She also appeared on Nick Cave's Murder Ballads album, as well as Tricky's Angels With Dirty Faces.
If only we could go back...
The 90s is by far one of our favourite decades for music, not only because of its rich and diverse span of genres, but also because of the incredible female talent that came out of that time. Here are just a few of the greatest women-led albums of this extraordinary era.
1. Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes (1992)
This American redhead's debut album was actually a second attempt which she worked on with her then boyfriend Eric Rosse following the break-up of her band Y Kant Tori Read. It became a tour de force, breaking pop conventions with its acoustic piano and Tori's unusual vocal style, and lyrics that range from the funny to the surreal. It's a sublime commentary on female sexuality and it hasn't aged a day.
Continue reading: 11 Amazing Albums By Female Artists The 90s Brought Us
The week's music news rounded up, including more Ariana Grande dates, Neil Young's streaming archives and a new PJ Harvey film.
Ariana Grande ADDS UK TOUR DATES
Ariana Grande has given fans a little Sweetener, announcing extra dates for the UK and Ireland leg of her arena tour next summer.
Originally, the ‘thank u, next’ chart-topping star announced a brace of London shows in August 2019, before returning to the UK the following month for gigs in Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and Dublin.
They unveil 'I'm Sorry for Your Loss' as a tribute to their late collaborator.
PJ Harvey teams up with her long-time producer John Parish on a new song entitled 'I'm Sorry for Your Loss'; a heartbreaking tribute to the latter's late friend Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, who died back in 2010 after many years struggling with depression.
PJ Harvey performing live
Parish knew Linkous from producing the 2001 Sparklehorse album 'A Wonderful Life'; a record on which PJ Harvey made two appearances, on the songs 'Piano Fire' and 'Eyepennies'. Both were left deeply saddened when Linkous committed suicide almost a decade later while struggling through a painful break-up.
Continue reading: PJ Harvey And John Parish Remember Mark Linkous With New Song
The European festival season has just ground depressingly to a halt to make way for a few months of Netflix and chilly. That means it's time to look back longingly at the photos from those four days of music and sunshine you'll use to define 2017 in any social media end-of-year round-up.
If you were at La Route Du Rock in St Malo, you've already won the shallow one-upmanship battle, because there's no finer combination of seaside bliss, historic charm, epic scenery and perfectly curated festival lineup in your friends' feeds.
But this festival isn't simply style over substance. With a year-round role booking French tours for international artists, the team behind La Route du Rock are in a prime position to book one of the most eclectic and solid live bills of them all - this year as ever.
Continue reading: La Route Du Rock 2017 At Saint-Malo, France - Live Review
Whilst 2016 has been too full of tragedy and sad loss it has also undoubtedly been a bumper year in terms of album releases.
There is no way to aptly mark the passing of some of the very best artists of any generation but in amongst the untimely deaths has come some inspirational and ground breaking music.
My albums are all ones I have enjoyed immensely and continue to play. Whilst Radiohead, M.I.A, Peter Doherty and many others may have missed the cut it wasn't really a difficult choice this year. It may not be all that eclectic but there are some great albums in there. Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree is not only this years best album but also an album that is rapidly becoming one of my all time favourites, it's just so good.
Continue reading: Andrew Lockwood's Top Ten Albums Of 2016
PJ Harvey (aka Polly Jean Harvey) performing songs from her new album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project' live at the SECC in Glasgow - Wednesday 2nd November 2016
Thursday: As you walk the steady incline up to the festival site, chatter sparks from all directions from your fellow festival-goers as you reach the first gate to pass through. Swallowed by the atmosphere, you briefly snap out of your daze and remind yourself that you're surrounded by your friends equally happy to be reunited together.
Todd Terje is on in 20 minutes at the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System stage. Inhaling from my cigarette I look up and see a small stage to my left but more impressively, the Parc Del Forum at large. It's a beautiful structure which dominates the immediate skyline, towering over the site and its weekend habitants with the Mediterranean ocean stretching out behind it. You're at Primavera Sound - and trust me when I say that it's one of the best festivals you can experience on this side of the Atlantic.
We enter the Sound System Stage and I immediately notice that the speakers are ridiculously crisp. With Terje about to start, we queue up for some incredibly boozy mojitos and caipirinhas and head over to the tent which is already packed at 4pm. He is warmly welcomed onto the stage by a happy-go-lucky crowd as he punches into his much loved disco-revivalism, fiddles with classics and modern tracks alike as well as throwing in a couple of his much beloved hits.
Continue reading: Primavera Sound Festival - Live Review
As summer edges itself into our periphery, as does the annual build-up of festival season. Entering its 16th year, Primavera Sound has grown vastly from its humble origins in 2001.
Situated in Barcelona at Parc del Forum by the seaside, it's garnered international acclaim for obtaining some of the most diverse line-ups in the circuit, accommodating for some of the most iconic and internationally known artists as well as celebrating independent and underground music. It provides an inter-generational space for music lovers and festival-goers the world over.
The main festival this year is spread out over four days, beginning on the 1st of June and ending on the 5th. Throughout that time-frame well over 200 artists will perform at one of the most sought after festivals of the summer, which has now completely sold out. Spread out over nine stages (including a Hidden Stage), Primavera Sound will be bringing once again an eclectic line-up to the sunny shores of Barcelona.
Continue reading: Preview Of Primavera Sound Festival 2016
'The Hope Six Demolition Project' has gone straight in at the top spot this week.
PJ Harvey is celebrating her first ever UK number one with her ninth studio album The Hope Six Demolition Project. The album has scored widespread acclaim from music critics and beats her previous chart best, 1993’s Rid of Me which peaked at number two.
PJ Harvey has scored her first ever UK number one album with The Hope Six Demolition Project.
In the number two spot this week is Adele’s 25, which has now clocked 22 consecutive weeks in the top five since its release on November 20th last year. The number three spot belongs to former choirboy Aled Jones, whose One Voice climbs for the third week running.
Continue reading: PJ Harvey Scores First Ever UK Number One Album
The one and only PJ Harvey returns with a new single, video and album. Polly's ninth studio album The Hope Six Demolition Project will be released in April and is the follow-up to her album Let England Shake which won the Mercury prize in 2011. The video for The Wheel was made in collaboration with photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy.
Other honorees include Rowan Atkinson, Clare Balding, Tony Robinson and Rob Brydon
Adele has yet another award to stick on the mantlepiece; this time the singer has been awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the royal's annual Birthday Honours List. Fellow female singer PJ Harvey has also been recognised with an MBE, with sports broadcaster Clare Balding being handed an OBE, capping off a successful honours list for women, in which 47% of the list were female.
After winning yet another arm-full of Grammys and her first ever Oscar (not to mention giving birth to her first child), Adele has had yet another remarkable year in her career, with 2012 becoming the second year in a row that the singer became the highest-selling artist for the year. Harvey meanwhile has been a darling in alternative circles for most of her career and her last album, Let England Shake, even won the singer the coveted Mercury Music Prize. Thanks to her appearance throughout the Olympics, Balding endured herself to the British public even more and after a triumphant year of British sport she has emerged as one of the main stars of the year, with her royal honour no doubt being the icing on the cake of what has been a glorious twelve months.
There were of course decorations being handed out for the men too, with Welsh comic Rob Brydon being handed a MBE for his services to entertainment. In a rather unusual turn-up for the book, Blackadder star Tony Robinson has been knighted, whilst his co-star Rowan Atkinson - who has achieved worldwide fame for his roles in various movies and for his portrayal as Mr Bean - was only given a CBE. Robinson told the press upon the news that he is to be made a sir that he is "thrilled, flattered and a little gob-smacked" to get the honour, pledging, "that from this day on I'll slaughter all unruly dragons, and rescue any damsels in distress who request my help."
Date of birth
9th October, 1969