All these heady times culminated at the 1996 Brit Awards when he interrupted Michael Jackson's performance of "Earth Song" and was later arrested for his stunt. This prank only cemented Cocker's position as a British pop hero, but his status soon weighed heavily on his shoulders, as evidenced by the band's gloomy 1998 follow-up to Different Class, This Is Hardcore, an ambitious, arty album that slowed Pulp's commercial momentum. The hits might not have been arriving as quickly as they once did, but Cocker continued to work and not just in Pulp: he sang with Barry Adamson, wrote with the All Seeing I, and directed various music videos. One more Pulp album -- the elegiac Scott Walker-produced We Love Life -- followed before the band quietly became inactive. Cocker moved to Paris with his new wife, Camille Bidault-Waddington, where they soon started a family, as she gave birth to a son. After a few quiet years, he and ex-Fat Trucker Jason Buckle, augmented by former Pulp touring guitarist Richard Hawley, embarked on the electro-pop project Relaxed Muscle, releasing one album -- A Heavy Nite With -- in 2003. It was a low-key project and Cocker continued to do low-key work, collaborating with pop queens Nancy Sinatra and Marianne Faithfull, and working with the Lovers in 2005. Later that year, he began to re-emerge in a more public fashion, notably as the leader of the Weird Sisters, the supergroup assembled for a Hogwarts school dance sequence in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; it also featured Pulp's Steve Mackey and Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway from Radiohead.
But 2006 was the real kickoff of Cocker's solo career, as he and Mackey put together an edition of the various-artists series The Trip, released the single "Running the World" on the Internet that summer, and then released his solo debut, Jarvis, at the end of the year. The next three years found Cocker's trajectory steadily climbing. Collaborations with others in 2008 (Marianne Faithfull's album Easy Come Easy Go and a Heaven 17 cover duet with Beth Ditto) as well as some guitar playing on David Byrne and Brian Eno's Everything That Happens Will Happen Today set the stage for the release of his second solo effort, Further Complications, in May of 2009. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi