Quentin Leo Cook, better known as Norman Cook, and even better known as Fatboy Slim, was born on July 31st 1963, and is considered one of the most familiar faces in the British electronic music scene. He originally gained fame in the 1980's as the bass player for indie rock band The Housemartins, a band known for their Christian-Marxist beliefs and the singles "Happy Hour" and "Caravan of Love".
Despite being a DJ since the late 1970's, it took till the late 1980's for Cook to finally be noticed as a DJ with his successful project Beats International, which scored the 1990 #1 single "Dub Be Good To Me", which was a cover of the SOS Band's "Just Be Good To Me" with the bass line of The Clash
's "Guns Of Brixton", which eventually led to him being sued, and later befriending the Clash.
During the 1990's he recorded music under many different names including Pizzaman, Mighty Dub Katz, Fried Funk Food, Cheeky Boy and many more, with also having a Jazz-Funk/Acid Jazz outfit called Freakpower, which spawned the hit "Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out" thanks to its use on a Levis advert.
His most successful work has been his Big Beat alias of Fatboy Slim, which he continues to use to this day, which has awarded him critical acclaim. The first two Fatboy Slim albums, Better Living Through Chemistry
(1996) and You've Come A Long Way, Baby
(1998), spun off numerous worldwide hits, such as "Going Out of My Head", "The Rockefeller Skank" and "Praise You". If you have watched many a commercial, you are bound to have heard his music.
Fatboy Slim provides examples of:
- Amen Break: The song "Michael Jackson". This is an interesting case, as the song doesn't sample directly from the Amen Break, but rather samples NWA's "Straight Outta Compton", which samples the Amen Break.
- Album Title Drop: "Weapon Of Choice" from the album Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars.
- Breakup Breakout: Although The Housemartins had a strong cult following and did have a UK #1 hit with a cover of "Caravan of Love", Fatboy Slim is still far more internationally known than his former band.
- Broken Record: Oh God, does he love them.
- Cover Version: The Joker by the Steve Miller Band.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The two-some that is "Fucking In Heaven" from his second album You've Come A Long Way Baby and "Star 69" from his third album Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars. Also, the rare B-side "The River Card" has quite a few.
- Epic Rocking: "Song For Shelter", "Santa Cruz", and "Next to Nothing".
- The Faceless: Originally this was the case, because Norman went on as Fatboy Slim because of conflicting record contracts.
- Gratuitous Panning: Many of his songs have certain instruments/samples/vocals panned either hard left or hard right. Examples include some of the vocal samples in "Gangster Trippin'", the 303 synth line in "Praise You", the drum track on "Ya Mama", and the end of the album version of "Weapon of Choice".
- Hypocritical Humour: Makes a song called "You're Not From Brighton" despite not being from Brighton. (He was actually born in Bromley and raised in Reigate, Surrey, but moved to Brighton when he began his career as an electronic musician.)
- I Have Many Names: Here are some of the names Cook used to work under: Beats International, Rockaway 3, Chemistry, DJ Delite Used in DJ Tools, Freak Power, Pizzaman, Sensataria, Cheeky Boy, Son of a Cheeky Boy, Son of Wilmot, Sunny Side Up, The Feelgood Factor, Yum Yum Head Food, Fried Funk Food, Mighty Dub Katz AND Slimboy Fat. His current name is Brighton Port Authority.
- Last Note Nightmare:
- "Song For Lindy" has some dissonant synth chords playing over the drumbeat that continue for a bit after the drumbeat stops.
- "You're Not From Brighton" has the track's pitch gradually lower so that it resembles a vinyl record slowing down... except the song's actual tempo doesn't change.
- "Weapon Of Choice" combines this with Gratuitous Panning; a sample of a record being scratched is played forwards and backwards repeatedly in one ear, and some radio static plays in the other.
- Looped Lyrics: And how!
- Mondegreen: "You're Not From Brighton" is named after a mondegreen of the main vocal sample from Minimal Funk's "The Groovy Thang". The actual vocal is "get up and party", but the combination of the original vocal being vocoded and its pitch being dropped to fit the song's tempo result in it sounding like "you're not from Brighton!".
- Mushroom Samba: The guy in "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat" talks about one that happened to him.
- New Sound Album: Not his own material, but his DJ Sets have shifted from playing the Big Beat genre (plus others) to being a Mostly House DJ since 2000/1.
- Palookaville did undergo a shift in style, however, with more chill beats and less dancy-type songs. He pretty much makes house music now though.
- Notable Music Videos: Most notably "Praise You", featuring a fictional community dance troupe (the leader of which might be a disguised Spike Jonze, the video's director) at a mall, and "Weapon Of Choice" featuring Christopher Walken dancing in a hotel lobby.
- Record Producer
- Recurring Riff: There is a particular riff in the middle of "Song For Lindy" that makes another appearance in "Love Island".
- Sampling: His usual sample philosophy is to take obscure records and make them into hits...and it works!
- It helps that he has a pretty huge record collection. He even got a catchy vocal sample from Negativland of all places.
- Shout-Out: Believe it or not, to Dune
if you walk without rhythm/you won't attract the worm
- Speedy Techno Remake: One example would be "Jin Go Lo Ba", which takes its vocals from an old Nigerian song of the same name.
- Stop and Go: "The Pimp" does this before the final chorus.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: His entire career is basically made out of making these. Right Here, Right Now takes the titular vocals from Strange Days. His remix of Mike and Charlie's "I Get Live" is one of a Method Man interview. Drop the Hate remixes an old pastor's sermon. We could go on all night.
- Played with in "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat." Although the main chorus is a Title Only Chorus, the rest of the song is a giant stream of conscious rant about a Mushroom Samba.
- Take a Third Option: Weapon of Choice.
You can go with this, or you can go with that, or you can go with this, or you can go with that... Or you can go with us.
- Trope 2000: "Acid 8000".