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 1980s 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 1970s, it took till the late 80s 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 1990s 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 Levi's 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:
- Advanced Tech 2000: "Acid 8000".
- 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 N.W.A.'s sampling of the break in "Straight Outta Compton".
- Album Title Drop: "Weapon of Choice" has the line "We're halfway between the gutter and the stars".
- Broken Record: Oh God, does he love them.
- Bowdlerise: The fat man in the 'You've Come A Long Way Baby and Why Try Harder was omitted from the American versions - replaced with Norman's LP collection in the former and a still from "Weapon of Choice" in the latter.
- "Fucking in Heaven" was released in the American version as "In Heaven", and further radio-edited as "Illin in Heaven", with the main sample recut.
- Celebrity Song: "Michael Jackson", which samples a Negativland song of the same name.
- Cover Drop: The video for "Right Here Right Now" culminates in the fat guy from the You've Come A Long Way Baby cover.
- Cover Version: "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band.
- Also "Radioactivity" by Kraftwerk.
- 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.
- Dreadful Musician: Before he was a famous DJ he was the bass player in the Housemartins and, on his own account, a terrible bass player. The recorded evidence suggests that he was fine, but no virtuoso. This trope is averted with his DJing, obviously.
- 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".
- Greatest Hits Album: Why Try Harder (which in turn got the DVD companion Why Make Videos).
- 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: 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. This is in addition to his membership in the bands The Housemartins and Beats International.
- At one point, he released a compilation album called Southern Fried House that consisted entirely of Norman Cook tracks. He used four different aliases for the tracks.
- 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 the Parody of Evolution in "Right Here Right Now", the fictional community dance troupe of "Praise You" (the leader of which is 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".
- Refrain from Assuming: Several of his songs have popular incorrect titles taken from their most prominent samples; "The Rockefeller Skank" is routinely mislabeled as "Funk Soul Brother", "Ya Mama" as "Push the Tempo", "Star 69" as "What the Fuck", etc.
- 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: "Weapon of Choice" contains two:
- The second verse references Dune, of all things:If you walk without rhythm,
You won't attract the worm.
- The chorus is a reference to the chorus of an old rap song called "The Choice Is Yours" by Black Sheep.
- The second verse references Dune, of all things:
- Singer Namedrop: "Fucking In Heaven", ad infinitum.Fatboy Slim is fucking in heaven.
- Special Guest: Often - for instance, "The Joker" is sung by Bootsy Collins.
- 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.
- Take a Third Option: Weapon of Choice.You can go with this, or you can go with that
You can go with this, or you can go with that
Or you can go with us.