May 1983. A debut single from a band out of Sheffield, England. It’s on Red Rhino Records, an indie-label based some 50-odd miles away in York. Red Rhino has, like Rough Trade in London, developed out of a record shop and is a vital part of the Cartel, a co-operative record distribution organisation set up by a number of small independent record labels.

The label hasn’t quite hit the heights with any of its acts but there’s been a far bit of support in the music papers for some of them, such as The Mekons and Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, the latter of whom would become a staple feature in the indie charts throughout the 80s.

The latest release has the catalogue number RED 32, although such are the quirks of the numbering system, and that fact that some intended releases never saw the light of day, is in fact the 26th single to come out on Red Rhino. It sells dismally….not helped by the fact that the music papers were fairly dismissive of the band and the music they make, thinking it just perhaps a bit too derivative of the sort of acoustic mid-paced stuff of the era.

mp3: Pulp – My Lighthouse
mp3: Pulp – Looking For Life

I don’t think anyone giving it a spin would have imagined, almost 40 years on, that the singer would be regarded as a national treasure having enjoyed a substantial career, and that the band, albeit with a substantially different line-up, would headline Glastonbury to huge acclaim.

Pulp would release just the two singles and one album on Red Rhino before inking a deal with Fire Records, one which they would come to regret for all sorts of reasons, especially when the fame and fortune eventually arrived in the early 90s.

It might well be a debut that didn’t set the heather on fire, and of course there would be many better 45s released in later years.  But it’s actually a very listenable and enjoyable effort, one which fits in well with the sort of tunes being played by the DJs hosting evening or weekend afternoon shows on BBC Radio 1 back in 1983…

Oh, and if you happen to be lucky enough to own a good copy of My Lighthouse, then you can expect it to fetch about £150 on the second-hand market if you were interested in moving it on……



  1. It goes against the grain to sell any music I love. But for £150!
    I didn’t buy it on first release – it wasn”t until “Dogs are Everywhere” that I went back and caught up with the earlier stuff. “My Lighthouse” is pleasant enough. As a debut it does seem very self-assured.

  2. I think Lipgloss was the first Pulp single that I really heard/took notice of, though I ended up digging back via CDs. Nice to hear My Lighthouse again and a first time listen to Looking For Life, which I enjoyed. Thanks!

  3. Earliest Pulp reminds me of early James on a Sunday morning rather than a Saturday night. I bit more laid back, but My Lighthouse and It are very listenable.

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