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Norman Cook

Norman Cook, 2004
Background information
Birth name Quentin Leo Cook
Also known as Fatboy Slim, and others. See pseudonym section
Born 31 July 1963 (1963-07-31) (age 46)
Origin London Borough of Bromley, Brighton, United Kingdom
Genres Electronic dance, big beat, trip hop
Occupations musician, producer, disc jockey
Instruments Turntables, keyboard, bass guitar, guitar, drums
Years active 1981–present
Labels Skint, Astralwerks, Southern Fried,
Associated acts The Housemartins, Beats International, Freak Power, Brighton Port Authority

Norman Quentin Cook[1] (born Quentin Leo Cook, 31 July 1963),[2] also known by the stage name Fatboy Slim, is an English DJ, big beat musician, record producer and pioneer of the electronic dance genre that achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s. Cook has achieved considerable success in the UK charts, performing as Fatboy Slim and with The Housemartins, Beats International and Freak Power. He currently performs as the Brighton Port Authority.



Button Badge created by Cook (circa 1979) for his band Disque Attack in which he played drums and for whom he was later lead vocalist.

Quentin Leo Cook was raised in Reigate, Surrey, England, and was educated at Reigate Grammar School. He played drums in Disque Attack (a British new-wave-influenced rock band). When singer Charlie Alcock was told by his parents that he had to give up the band to concentrate on his O levels, Quentin took over as lead vocalist. At Reigate College he also met Paul Heaton with whom he formed the Stomping Pondfrogs. At 18, he went to the Brighton Polytechnic to study a BA in English, politics and sociology. Although he had begun DJing some years before, it was at this time that he began to develop his skills on the thriving Brighton club scene.

Known as DJ Quentox (The OX that Rocks) Cook and DJ Baptiste started putting on Youth Club Hip Hop jams in Brighton, sowing the seeds of the City's flourishing Hip Hop scene today. These primitive 80's block parties are recalled in the music documentary 'South Coast' which documents Brighton's cult Hip Hop scene from its grass roots to the present day.

In 1985 Cook's friend Paul Heaton had formed a guitar band called The Housemartins. Their bassist quit on the eve of their first national tour, so Cook agreed to move to Hull to join them. The band soon had a hit single with "Happy Hour". They also reached number one just before Christmas 1986 with a version of "Caravan of Love" originally a hit the year before for Isley-Jasper-Isley. However, by 1988 they had split up. Heaton and the band's drummer Dave Hemingway went on to form The Beautiful South, while Cook moved back to Brighton to pursue his interest in the style of music he preferred. It was at this time that he first started working with young studio engineer Simon Thornton, with whom he continues to make records. All Cook's records released from that point onwards have involved both of them to varying degrees (Thornton is credited in 2004 as "Executive Producer" for example).

Cook achieved his first solo hit in 1989, featuring his future Beats International member MC Wildski called "Blame It on the Bassline". Credited to "Norman Cook feat. MC Wildski", the song followed the basic template of what was to come in the style of the music of Beats International. It became a modest hit in the UK Singles Chart, reaching #29.

Cook formed Beats International, a loose confederation of studio musicians including vocalists Lindy Layton, Lester Noel, D.J. Baptiste, rapper MC Wildski, and keyboardist Andy Boucher. Their first album Let Them Eat Bingo included the number one single "Dub Be Good to Me", which caused a legal dispute revolving around allegations of infringement of copyright through the liberal use of unauthorised samples: the bassline was a note-for-note lift from "The Guns of Brixton" by The Clash and the lyrics borrowed heavily from "Just Be Good to Me" by The S.O.S. Band. The 1991 follow-up album Excursion on the Version, an exploration of dub and reggae rhythms, failed to repeat the success of its predecessor.

Cook then formed Freak Power with horn player Ashley Slater and singer Jesse Graham. They released their debut album Drive Thru Booty in 1994, which contained the single "Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out". The cut was picked up by the Levi's company for use in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign. In 1996, Cook re-joined Freak Power for the second album More of Everything for Everybody.

In 1995, Cook enlisted help from producer friends Tim Jeffery and JC Reid to create a solo house music album under the Pizzaman pseudonym. The Pizzamania album spawned 3 UK Top 40 hits in "Trippin' on Sunshine", "Sex on the Streets" and "Happiness". "Happiness" was picked up by the Del Monte Foods corporation for use in a UK fruit juice ad. The music videos for "Trippin' on Sunshine", "Sex on the Streets" and "Happiness" were all directed by Michael Dominic.

Cook is also behind a group The Mighty Dub Katz along with Gareth Hansome (aka GMoney), Cook's former flatmate. Together they started the Boutique Nightclub in Brighton, formerly known as the Big Beat Boutique.


Recordings, 1997–2006

The Fatboy Slim album Better Living Through Chemistry (released through Skint Records) contained the Top 40 UK hit, "Everybody Needs a 303".

Fatboy Slim's next work was the single "The Rockafeller Skank," released prior to the album You've Come a Long Way, Baby, both of which were released in 1998. "Praise You", also from this album, was Cook's first UK solo number one. Its music video, directed by Spike Jonze, won numerous awards.[3]

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars was released in 2000 and featured two collaborations with Macy Gray and "Weapon of Choice", which also was made into an award-winning video starring Christopher Walken.[4]

In 2004, Palookaville was Cook's first album for four years.

In 2005, Cook's 2004 single "Wonderful Night" was used on Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 for PlayStation 2.

Fatboy Slim's greatest hits album Why Try Harder was released on 19 June 2006. It comprises eighteen tracks, including ten Top 40 singles, a couple of Number Ones and two exclusive new tracks – "Champion Sound" and "That Old Pair of Jeans".

In 2006 Cook travelled to Cuba, and wrote and produced two original Cuban crossover tracks for the album "The Revolution Presents: Revolution", which was released by Studio !K7 and Rapster Records in 2009. The tracks were called "Shelter" (which featured long time collaborator Lateef); and "Siente Mi Ritmo", featuring Cuba's top female vocal group "Sexto Sentido". The recordings took place in Cuba's legendary EGREM Studios, home of the Buena Vista Social Club, and featured a band made up of Cuba's top young musicians, including Harold Lopez Nussa. Another track recorded during these sessions entitled "Guaguanco" was released separately under the Mighty Dub Katz moniker in 2006.

In summer 2007, "The Rockafeller Skank" was used for season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance. In September 2007, the song was also featured on Konami's Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova 2 for PlayStation 2.

Cook has also been responsible for successful remixes for Cornershop, Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest and Wildchild. In 2008 he did a remix of the track "Amazonas" for the charity Bottletop.[5]


13 July 2002. The Big Beach Boutique II, where over 250,000 people saw Fatboy Slim play live.

On 13 July 2002, Fatboy Slim performed the second of his free, open air concerts on Brighton beach. Expecting a crowd of around 60,000 people, the event instead attracted an estimated 250,000 who crammed the promenade and beach between Brighton's piers. Local police forced the event to end early amid safety concerns, overcrowding, and one death. After the music had finished and the crowd began to dissipate, traffic ensued throughout the Brighton area with many caught in traffic jams until the morning.[6]

In June 2005 Fatboy Slim filled the Friday night headline slot on the 'Other Stage' at the Glastonbury Festival,[7] a booking which actually generated a financial loss for Cook.[citation needed]

In 2006, Fatboy Slim filled the Saturday headline slot at the Global Gathering festival, Long Marston Airfield in the English Midlands. He played a two hour set, appearing in front of a visual stage set comprising video screens and 3D lighting. A firework display rounded off the show.[8]

After being banned by police from playing in Brighton since 2002, Fatboy Slim was given permission in 2006 to play again in his home town. On 1 January 2007 he played to an audience of over 20,000 fans along Brighton's seafront. Titled 'Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Boutique 3', tickets to the event were made available only to Brighton residents. The concert was deemed a stunning success by Sussex Police, Fatboy Slim, and the crowd.[9] The Cuban Brothers and David Guetta opened the concert. The next similar event, 'Big Beach Boutique 4', was held on 27 September 2008.[10]

In 2008, Fatboy Slim played at the Glastonbury Festival again, and headlined the O2 Wireless Festival and Rockness Festival. According to an NME interview, this may have been one of the last times he performed as Fatboy Slim, as he may now focus on his new album, Brighton Port Authority (The BPA).[11]

In 2009, Fatboy Slim toured Australia in the Good Vibrations festival. Also In 2009, Fatboy Slim Played In Marlay Park, Ireland. Alongside David Guetta, Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris; as well as one huge performance at the Sziget Festival in Budapest. He also has performed at V Festival 2009.

At Glastonbury 2009, Fatboy Slim played an unadvertised concert in the "pinball-machine" stage at trash city.

He will return to Ireland at Oxegen 2010 in July.[12]


Cook was awarded a star on the city of Brighton's Walk of Fame, next to that of Winston Churchill.

He married TV personality Zoë Ball in 1999 at Babington House in Somerset; in January 2003, Cook broke up with Zoe but three months later, they reconciled.[13]

Norman and his wife have a son named Woody (born 15 December 2000) and a daughter named Nelly May Lois (born 14 January 2010). Cook is a 12% shareholder of the football club he has supported since moving to Brighton in the late 1980s, Brighton & Hove Albion.[citation needed]

Q magazine named Fatboy Slim in their 50 Bands To See Before You Die list.[14]

On 4 March 2009, Cook checked into a rehabilitation centre in Bournemouth to fight a "booze addiction" that he has been battling "for some time".[15]

Due to an extended stay in rehab his performance at Snowbombing (week-long winter sports and music festival held in the Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen) was cancelled – with the slot being filled by 2ManyDJs. Cook then left the clinic at the end of March.[16]


  • In 1999, the video to "Praise You" won three MTV awards, for best direction (Spike Jonze), best choreography (Richard Koufey) and best breakthrough video.[3]
  • In September, 2001, Fatboy Slim's video for "Weapon of Choice" (also directed by Spike Jonze) received six prizes at the MTV Video Awards, the most given to a single winner that year.[17]
  • In May, 2007, Cook received an Ivor Novello Award for his "outstanding contribution to British music".[18]
  • Cook was also a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[19]
  • Three Brit awards: 1987 (British breakthrough act: The Housemartins), 1999 (British dance act: Fatboy Slim), 2001 (British dance act: Fatboy Slim)

Bands and pseudonyms

  • Norman Cook — now his real name[1]
  • Beats International
  • Rockaway 3
  • Chemistry
  • Brighton Port Authority
  • DJ Delite Used in DJ Tools (e.g. acapellas) for Fatboy Slim Singles
  • Freak Power
  • Pizzaman
  • Sensataria
  • Cheeky Boy
  • Son of a Cheeky Boy
  • Son of Wilmot
  • Sunny Side Up
  • The Feelgood Factor
  • The Housemartins
  • Yum Yum Head Food
  • Fatboy Slim
  • Fried Funk Food
  • Mighty Dub Katz
  • Slimboy Fat


Studio albums

Live albums


Year Title Notes
1990 Invasion Of The Estate Agents Compilation Appearance; as 'Norman Cook' Released As 'Beats International'
1993 Skip to My Loops A collection of samples aimed at DJs; Released as 'Norman Cook'
1995 Pizzamania Released under the moniker 'Pizzaman'
1995 Southern Fried House Compilation appearance as 'Pizzaman'; features 'Baby Loop' and 'Trippin' on Sunshine'
1997 Beat Up the NME Free mix tape with NME magazine
2000 Signature Series Volume 1 Songs Remixed + produced by Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook.
2000 The Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook Collection Songs Remixed + produced by Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook, US release.
2001 Halfway Between the Gutter and the Guardian Free Promo (FAT11CD) with The Guardian.
2001 A Break from the Norm Sample compilation
2006 Fala aí! released only in Brazil
2006 The Greatest Hits - Why Try Harder #2 UK
2007 The Greatest Hits - Remixed the above album remixed
2007 Late Night Tales: Fatboy Slim A Compilation of some of Norman's favourite songs from years gone by. Also contains a remake of the Kraftwerk song, "Radioactivity".




Year Single UK Singles Chart Album
1996 "Everybody Needs a 303" 191 Better Living Through Chemistry
"Punk to Funk" 177
1997 "Going Out of My Head" 57
"Everybody Needs a 303 (Remix)" 34
"Everybody Loves a Carnival" (Remix of "Everybody Loves a 303") (12-inch Only) 199 single only
1998 "The Rockafeller Skank" 6 You've Come a Long Way, Baby
"Gangster Trippin" 3
1999 "Praise You" 1
"Right Here, Right Now" 2
"Build It Up - Tear It Down" (promo only)[20]
2000 "Sunset (Bird of Prey)" 9 Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars
2001 "Demons" (featuring Macy Gray) 16
"Star 69 / Weapon of Choice" 10
"Song for Shelter / Ya Mama" 30
"Song for Shelter (Remix)" (featuring Roland Clarke) (12-inch Only) 90
"Drop the Hate" (12-inch Only) 101
2002 "Retox" (12-inch Only) 73
"Talkin' Bout My Baby" / "Drop the Hate (Remix)" (12-inch Only) 92
2004 "Slash Dot Dash" 12 Palookaville
"Wonderful Night" 51
2005 "The Joker" 32
"Don't Let the Man Get You Down" 153
2006 "That Old Pair of Jeans" 39 The Greatest Hits - Why Try Harder
"Weapon of Choice (Remix)" (featuring Bootsy Collins) (12-inch Only) 137
"Champion Sound" 88
2007 "Radioactivity" (7-inch Only) Late Night Tales: Fatboy Slim
2008 "Toe Jam" (featuring Dizzee Rascal & David Byrne) 198 I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat
"Seattle" (featuring Emmy The Great)
2009 "He's Frank (Slight Return)" (featuring Iggy Pop)
"Should I Stay Or Should I Blow" (featuring Ashley Beedle)

Other songs

Year Song Artist Album
1997 "Brimful of Asha (Norman Cook Remix)" Cornershop
1998 "Body Movin'" Beastie Boys
1999 "Badder Badder Schwing" Freddy Fresh feat. Fatboy Slim The Last True Family Man
1999 "I See You Baby (Remix)" Groove Armada
2001 "Because We Can" Fatboy Slim Moulin Rouge! soundtrack
2002 "To Get Down (Remix)" Timo Maas
2009 "Siente Mi Ritmo" The Revolution and Norman Cook The Revolution Presents: Revolution
2009 "Shelter" The Revolution and Norman Cook ft. Lateef The Revolution Presents: Revolution

See also


External links


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