Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Polly Jean Harvey, born October 9 1969 in Weymouth, Dorset is a British singer and songwriter. She has recorded as a solo artist under the name PJ Harvey, but she began her career as part of a trio (with Rob Ellis and Steve Vaughn) also named PJ Harvey. She has cultivated a reputation for eccentricity to match her music. (She purportedly lives on a diet of potatoes.)
Harvey released her debut single, "Dress" in 1991; she released her first LP Dry in 1992. (A limited edition double LP containing both Dry and the demos for Dry, called Dryer, was also released at this time.) She drew fire in 1991/1992 when she appeared topless on the cover of the British magazine New Musical Express; until then she had been considered unambiguously feminist.
1993 saw the release of two further albums in quick succession, Rid of Me (produced by Steve Albini) with the original trio and, later in the year, a solo-release 4-Track Demos, the 4-track demos that would become Rid of Me.
After the departure of drummer Rob Ellis, Harvey refused to sign to any of the bidding major labels, and embarked upon a solo career exploring collaborations with other musicians. To Bring You My Love (1995; produced by Mark Ellis a.k.a Flood) quickly became a staple of alternative rock. After Is This Desire (an album that was poorly received critically and commercially) was released in 1998, Harvey reunited with her old bandmates for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. The album recorded in Dorset and New York was a big success and took the Mercury Music Prize that year. It also signified a change in mood for Polly as she sang about a seemingly new found happiness in her life. Her latest album, Uh Huh Her, was released May 31 2004 which includes a touching collaboration with Vincent Gallo.
She contributed to Josh Homme's The Desert Sessions and appeared on Nick Cave's Murder Ballads (on the song "Henry Lee") and Tricky's Angels with Dirty Faces. She recorded an album Dance Hall at Louse Point with John Parish under the name Polly Jean Harvey, and has since gone on to to produce Tiffany Anders ' Funny Cry Happy Gift .
Outside of the better-known musical career, Polly Jean Harvey appeared as Mary Magdalene in Hal Hartley's The Book of Life, and in the Sarah Miles-directed A Bunny Girl's Tale , and is an accomplished sculptor as well as a published poet.
On December 17 2004, on stage in Paris, she announced that she was quitting playing live with the comment, "This is the last show I will ever play", to the audience of 350 who were attending as part of a competition.
As subsequent live dates have been announced, this seems like another in the seemingly endless continuum of performers threatening early retirement.
- Dry (1992)
- Dryer (1992)
- Rid of Me (1993)
- 4-Track Demos (1993)
- To Bring You My Love (1995)
- Dance Hall at Louse Point (1996) (with John Parish)
- Strychnine Ballroom: Live at Louse Point (with John Parish)
- Is This Desire? (1998)
- Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
- Uh Huh Her (2004)
- PJ Harvey quits! (Dec. 18, 2004). NME.com
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