Pj Harvey Biography
PJ Harvey, originally named Polly Jean Harvey is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist whose mythically tuned, fanatically furious records and live performances set new standards for female rockers. Her popular single “This Mess We’re In” made her famous.
Harvey, who was born in Corscombe, near Yeovil, England, on October 9, 1969, to countercultural parents in rural England, appears to have grown up with a sense of rock as just another natural force within the countryside. For example, “Sheela-na-gig,” a hit from her first album, Dry (1992), featured female exhibitionist carvings with gaping genitals found around Ireland and the United Kingdom, the origins of which are disputed. The song, like many others by Harvey, portrays female sexuality as a ravaging, haunted force, but instead of playing the victim, she artistically embodies her obsessions, equating them with the enticing menace of rock and blues, and creating an archetype for herself.
PJ Harvey was originally used to refer to both Harvey and the trio she created with bassist Stephen Vaughan and drummer Robert Ellis. They recorded Harvey’s most challenging album, Rid of Me (1993), under the engineering supervision of Steve Albini (whose reputation as a sonic extremist was built on his own bands, Big Black and Shellac, as well as his production of groups like the Pixies and Nirvana). A softer version of some of the same material, 4-Track Demos, was released later that year. Following the tour in support of these albums, Ellis and Vaughan parted ways with PJ Harvey, which became Harvey’s solo persona.
Is This Desire? (1998) was PJ Harvey’s next album, and it was a purposeful study in art song. However, in 2000, Harvey released Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, a return to anthemic rock with pop ambitions and an unexpected twist: for the first time, Polly Jean Harvey was singing about love and sex with wholehearted satisfaction. She was the first woman to win the Mercury Prize for that record. More collaborations followed, most notably with Queens of the Stone Age on their side project Desert Session, Vol. 9–10 (2003).
Harvey followed up White Chalk with A Woman a Man Walked By, another collaboration with Parish (2009). Harvey once again proved that her voice was an instrument capable of communicating dramatic emotional range, from the aggressive growl of the album’s title track to the gently uttered lines of “Cracks in the Canvas.” Later, she released Let England Shake (2011), a rousing folk-influenced album that alluded to World War I conflicts as part of a complicated depiction of her love with her motherland. Let England Shake won Harvey her second Mercury Prize in 2011, making her the first woman to win the prize twice. On The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016), she concentrated on what she considered as American-made injustices, which she investigated by touring Kosovo, Afghanistan, and portions of Washington, D.C.; the album was recorded in public behind one-way glass as part of an art installation. Harvey was later chosen to compose the music for Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove’s 2019 London stage adaptation of the classic film All About Eve, and the primarily instrumental soundtrack album was released the same year.
Harvey has garnered numerous awards, including the Mercury Prize in 2001 and 2011 for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000) and Let England Shake (2011), making her the only artist to win the prize twice. She’s also been nominated for eight Brit Awards, seven Grammy Awards, and two more Mercury Prize nominations. Rolling Stone named her Best New Artist and Best Singer Songwriter in 1992, and Artist of the Year in 1995. Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love, and Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea were also included in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. She received the NME Award for Outstanding Contribution To Music in 2011. She received an MBE for services to music in June 2013.
|The Hope Six Demolition Project|
|Let England Shake|
|Uh Huh Her|
|Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea|
|Is This Desire?|
|To Bring You My Love|
|Rid of Me|
Frequently Asked Questions
PJ Harvey is an English musician, singer-songwriter, composer, and producer. She is known for her distinctive voice and narrative style.
What Was Pj Harvey’S First Album?
PJ Harvey’s first album was “Dry”, released in 1992. It was ranked by NME as the third best album of the year. The album was recorded over a period of three months in a studio located in Dorset, England.
What Is Pj Harvey’S Biggest Hit?
PJ Harvey’s biggest hit is “Down by the Water” from her 1995 album To Bring You My Love. The song peaked at number 33 on the UK Singles Chart and was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 1996 Grammy Awards.
Who Wrote Songs For Pj Harvey?
PJ Harvey has written the majority of her own songs throughout her career, with some co-writing credit given to collaborators like John Parish and Flood. She has also covered songs by artists like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave.
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