Steve Mackey | Pulp bassist passes away at 56

Steve Mackey, bassist for the band Pulp, has died at the age of 56. His family confirmed the news in a statement, with his wife calling him “the most talented man I knew.”

steve mackey

After joining Pulp in 1989, the Sheffield native Mackey played bass on hits including ‘Common People’, ‘Disco 2000’ and ‘Lipgloss’. 

“We are shocked and devastated to have said goodbye to my brilliant, beautiful husband,” Mackey’s wife Katie wrote on social media announcing the news.

The message added that Mackey had been hospitalised for the past three months with an undisclosed illness.


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“Steve was the most talented man I knew, an exceptional musician, producer, photographer and filmmaker,” Katie said.

“As in life, he was adored by everyone whose paths he crossed in the multiple creative disciplines he conquered.

“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly for Steve. He will be missed beyond words.”

In a separate tribute, Pulp announced that their “beloved” bass player had passed away on Thursday morning. The message was accompanied by an image of Mackey on Pulp’s 2012 tour as the band spent a day off in the snow-capped Andes, with the climb inspired by the late bassist.

steve mackey jarvis cocker

Steve Mackey and Jarvis Cocker

“Steve made things happen, in his life and in the band. We’d very much like to think that he’s back in those mountains now, on the next stage of his adventure.”

Mackey was born in Sheffield in 1966. He went to school with fellow Pulp alumnus, Richard Hawley. In 1989, with Pulp a decade into its career, Mackey joined the band and first appeared on their third record, Separations. 

Pulp signed to Island Records in the early 1990s, before becoming one of the biggest acts in the Britpop era with albums including His ‘N’ Hers and Different Class.

On top of his work with Pulp, Mackey has writing and production credits for songs by artists including MIA, Florence + The Machine and Arcade Fire.

Mackey also had a role in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He played one of The Weird Sisters – a rock band from the film which also featured Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, as well as Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway.

During the 2000s, Mackey co-curated London’s Frieze Art Fair. He married fashion journalist Katie Grand in 2009, and is survived by his son Marley, who was born in 1996.

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