ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MONDAY 24 MARCH 2008
Not to be confused with Love of The Common People by Paul Young. Nor indeed the cover version that was later recorded by William Shatner.
Common People by Pulp is one of those songs that your instincts tell you the first ever time you catch it that it will become a timeless classic you will never grow tired of. And then you listen more closely as you get more familiar with the song and you realise that there is so much more to it than a catchy ditty that sound great on the radio or coming out of your telly on Top Of The Pops or whatever.
For me, this was the song that propelled Jarvis Cocker from talented but mostly unappreciated wordsmith into the people’s poet. At the time, I thought it was a fantastic bit of imaginary writing, but some years later, Jarvis revealed that the main protagonist was not a figment of his imagination – there really had been some upper-class toff at St Martin’s Art College in London who fancied a bit of rough (I suppose its makes a difference from the usual which seems to be a gap year traipsing round India seeking self-enlightenment).
This is a song that has a great storyline, fantastic lyrics, a catchy tune that you can dance to and an unforgettable sing-a-long chorus. And yet…..
……the version that was best known was the shorter 7″ version which omitted a few lines in the middle of the song when the tempo changed ever so-slightly, including what I reckon are the most telling lyrics:-
‘You will never understand
How if feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere else to go’
Jarvis Cocker’s life was never the same after this. He became a tabloid regular with his outspoken views and acidic one-liners – a genuine working-class hero who captured exactly how so many folk felt after nearly two decades of successive Tory governments in the UK. Then he waved his bum at Michael Jackson at the Brits the following year…….but that is another story.
Released in June 1995, Common People reached #2 in the UK charts, kept from the top spot by Robson & Jerome‘s cover of Unchained Melody.
(For those not familiar with the #1 act, they were two acts in a popular TV series who were encouraged to cash-in by the record industry. Nowadays, things like that have largely been overtaken by the myriad of talent shows that make new ‘stars’, but the effect is the same. Can anyone nowadays recall what Robson or Jerome looked like?)
I have what is described as CD2, which contains the full-length version of the song and three acoustic versions of older Pulp tracks.
mp3 : Pulp – Common People
mp3 : Pulp – Razzmatazz (Acoustic Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere (Acoustic Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Joyriders (Acoustic Version)
Oh and it also came with an unforgettable video.
All of this and it only made #45 in this countdown??