In the iconic 1995 song’s opening lines, Cocker sings of a woman who “came from Greece [and] had a thirst for knowledge,” studying sculpture at London’s St. Martin’s College.
Despite the song’s success – it was named NME‘s Best Song Of The ’90s – Cocker has revealed that he has no memory of the identity of the person who inspired the song.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life (via The Mirror), Cocker addressed claims that the inspiration was Danae Stratou, a Greek woman who attended St Martin’s at the same time as Jarvis, but confirmed that “it wasn’t her because she had blonde hair and the girl had dark hair.”
Of the origin of the song, Cocker said: “We went to the pub and she just came out with that she wanted to live in Hackney with common people.
“In 2011 we played at St Martin’s and someone showed me a picture on their phone and said, ‘Is that the girl you wrote the song about?’ I went, ‘Yeah, I think it is’” he remembered.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t ask them for the picture and I can’t remember who showed it to me so it’s still a mystery.”
Born in Sheffield, Bone and Cocker were close growing up and their friendship inspired the band’s famous track, which begins with the lyric: “Well we were born within an hour of each other. Our mothers said we could be sister and brother. Your name was Deborah. Deborah. It never suited ya.”
Bone moved to Letchworth at aged 10 and went on to become a nurse, later setting up the Step2 health service for the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust in Stevenage. She won various awards for her work in mental health and, just hours after her death, it was announced that she was to receive an MBE in recognition of her services to children and young people as part of the 2015 New Year’s Honours List.
Later this year, Cocker will release new memoir Good Pop, Bad Pop. Set to arrive on May 26 through Vintage Publishing, Cocker describes the book as an “inventory”. It’s centred around the former Pulp frontman coming across “a jumble of objects that catalogue his story” while clearing out his loft, with the various ephemera used as a jumping off point to reflect on Cocker’s life and career. Pre-orders are available here.