The last of the Pulp singles that failed to chart, just prior to the British public sitting up and taking notice of what had been happening totally out of sight for the previous ten years.
Yup, it turned out to be more than a full decade before eventually becoming an overnight success and the first real steps on the road to Jarvis Cocker becoming a national treasure. The debut single had been My Lighthouse in 1983. Razzmatazz was the band’s eleventh single, and their third for Gift Records, released in February 1993. A lot of critics had thought the previous single, Babies, would have provided the breakthrough, but in the end, it didn’t really get near the charts, peaking at #80
Perhaps more importantly, was the fact that Razzmatazz was named ‘Single of The Week’ by Melody Maker leading to some increased media coverage, while there was also a promo video that actually got aired more than once during the Indie Chart segment of the Saturday morning Chart Show on ITV which got a few more folk talking about the geeky singer who was taking centre stage.
But, above all else, Gift Records had been happy to have Island Records on board to assist with the marketing push for the band, and Pulp were ready to make the jump away from indie-labels as soon as the contractual obligations had been fulfilled. In a sense, Razzmattazz was a trial run for what was to come with the music the band would record for the albums His’n’Hers (1994) and Different Class (1995).
I always found it strange that Razzmatazz wasn’t ever re-released when Pulp crossed over into the mainstream in the same way as Babies ended up as the lead track on a later EP. It’s a tremendous song, a bitter take on the ending of a relationship in which the protagonist, having been dumped for being too boring, takes great delight in seeing his ex go to waste while he begins to taste the fruits of success; and yes, Jarvis has long admitted there is more than a degree of the autobiographical about the tale.
It’s also, if you happen to have a vinyl copy of the single, worth a few bob as the 7″ is currently going for £100 on Discogs and the 12″, rather strangely, is slightly less (£40 and upwarads).
mp3: Pulp – Razzmatazz
The b-side of the single, whether on vinyl or CD, was identical as it consisted of a three-part suite of songs entitled Inside Susan – A Story In 3 Parts.
The info on the back of the sleeve explains:-
….following Susan down from her Rotherham puberty through wild teen years in Sheffield to her eventual marriage and settling down somewhere on the outskirts of London. I played these songs to Susan the other day – she just laughed and said I was being spiteful because she wouldn’t sleep with me when we first met. She also said to tell you that she’s perfectly happy where she is at the moment, thank you very much.
I really should have kept all these for the short stories’ series……….
Lipgloss, was the next single, released in November 1993, on Island Records, and it reached #50. All the rest of Pulp’s subsequent twelve singles would comfortably get into the Top 40 and feature on the Top of The Pops rundowns.