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.

mp3: Pulp – Stacks
mp3: Pulp – Inside Susan
mp3: Pulp – 59 Lyndhurst Grove

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.



The original song is very well known.   I think the majority of you will already know the cover too.  It’s Jarvis v Captain Kirk:-

mp3: Pulp – Common People
mp3: William Shatner – Common People

The former is, arguably, the greatest of all the Britpop era anthems. The latter is 2004, in which Ben Folds hooked up with the veteran actor to help write and then to arrange and record the album Has Been. They also settled on recording a cover of Common People, for which Joe Jackson was also brought in to assist with the chorus.

I don’t see the latter as a comedy or novelty record – the music is too well handled for that while Shatner delivers the lines in the way you would expect from an actor. It’s different and, for the most part, it’s an entertaining few minutes, probably introducing the song to an American audience wholly unaware of its significance in the UK and Europe some ten years earlier.

The result from the Villain Towers adjudicating panel?

A win for the original. It’s one of those songs which will never be bettered no matter who tries and in what way they make the effort.

Once again, this verdict can, should you choose, be overturned on appeal via the comments section……



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……



Brilliant Songs, Brilliantly Remixed #2 – 7 (SEVEN) Pulp Songs

# 2 Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Island Records, 1998, IS 695 DJ Pink)

In 2007, I went parascending with Badger and some other blokes he knew. We went to an old aerodrome in the middle of the Devon countryside and was met there by a guy called Guy, who thought he was Tom Cruise. He is wearing aviator shades, a green jumpsuit and has the whitest teeth of any person I have ever met. He calls everyone “guv” as well, which is irritating.

Parascending for those in the dark is where you are attached to a large balloon, parachute thing which is attached to a knackered old Land Rover, which drives off at speed and you fly up in the air behind it. It is what some might call an ‘extreme sport’ – it is what I call fucking terrifying. I only said yes because Badger said they were one short and they would have to cancel it otherwise.

We have this training lecture which lasts an hour or so. For the last twenty minutes or so, we are taught two things, one, we must roll on the ground when we land, in the opposite direction to the parachute is blowing, this stops the parachute refilling up with air and dragging you along the ground. The second thing we are taught is what happens if the line comes unattached. The answer is a ‘pararoll’ which will mean that we don’t get broken legs on landing. I shoot Badger a look because roughly two hours ago in the car on the way down he told me that this was “perfectly safe and not to worry”. He didn’t mention lines coming unattached, broken legs or something which Nick, one of our group, called ‘Sunken Bollock Syndrome’.

It’s my turn after about an hour of waiting. I’ll be honest. I’m petrified. I’m shaking as I step into the parachute thing. Badger slaps me on the shoulder and tells me over and over again, roll when you land. He’s been up a couple of times and has made this look easy. Then again he’s done this about 70 times.

Guy looks at me and says that because I am skinny I will probably go a bit higher a bit quicker than the others. He flashes me a pearly white grin. I smile and say “Oh, Good, lucky me”.

And then we are off. At first it’s horrible – the harness grabs you round the nether regions and it’s uncomfortable. The wind makes my eyes stream and for some reason I worry about landing on the road about a mile away. Then the cord goes tight and everything seems still. It’s just me several hundred feet up in the Devon countryside and it feels marvellous. I find myself grinning like a loon and I don’t really want to come back down. But I have to. The ground approaches very quickly, I checked my cord to make sure I’m still attached, it is, twenty foot, ten foot, the smile has gone now. Roll, I tell myself, roll. I land, on my feet which is a good start and I stand perfectly still. “Roll you twat” comes a shout just as I’m dragged along the ground for about thirty metres. Then I come to stop. I sit up, roll and unclip myself, remove the mud from my hair and face and all I can hear is laughing.

All of which rocking and rolling brings us to not one but two more excellent records from Badger’s Box. One pink and one gold.

The first one is a shocking pink twelve-inch single (the vinyl is not pink sadly, just the sleeve) of ‘This Is Hardcore’ by Pulp. It’s a DJ Promo copy though.

A quick look at the tracks reveals that they are exactly the same as you would find on CD Two of the ‘This Is Hardcore’ single, so these tracks are not massively rare (but I’ve never heard them before).

(JC interjects, with an ‘ahem’ and a reference to 25 April 2014………..https://thenewvinylvillain.com/2014/04/25/commercial-suicide/)

mp3: Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Original Version)
mp3: Pulp – This Is Hardcore (4 Hero Remix)
mp3: Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Swedish Erotica Mix)
mp3: Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Stock, Hausen and Walkmen Mix)

The pick of the mixes is I think the Swedish Erotica Mix which takes the original and strips the vocals out and then pops them back on it, only reversed. This is done to make them sound ‘Swedish’. I’m going to leave it to our Swedish Correspondent to confirm whether that is actually the case or not. Either way, this mix is superb.

The other two mixes are pretty cool as well, the 4 Hero Mix starts with a load of bleeps and noises and is for a bit almost unrecognisable, until the string bit from the original bursts in. The vocals are nicely distorted and about halfway through there is a really cool drum bit that forms the backdrop of the music for the rest of the mix. It’s excellent.

The Stock, Hausen and Walkmen mix is very strange, it starts off sounding very Turkish (involving those weird horn instruments that they have in Indiana Jones films set Turkish deserts) and then they do all sorts of mad stuff with Jarvis’ vocals, speeding up them behind a drum and bass beat, slowing them down, it removes nearly all other parts of the original apart from the vocals. I’m going to describe it as avant-garde brilliance and say no more about it.

Hidden behind the pink promo was another promo of the same single, this one is Gold in colour and that it turns out holds the same songs as CD One of the release. It has another mix on it The End of the Line Mix and two other tracks ‘Ladies Man’ and ‘The Professional’.

mp3: Pulp – Ladies’ Man
mp3: Pulp – The Professional
mp3: Pulp – This Is Hardcore (end of the line remix)

The End of the Line Mix is a version of the original that just focuses on the string section of the song, which some might say is the best bit. Interestingly the Gold Promo wasn’t played as much as the Pink Promo. Make your own mind up about that.



I was at a theatre show in London recently and one of the best delivered comic lines of the night, in response to a character making a sideways reference to a dangerous animal was, “What??? A Badger?????”

I laughed out louder than I should have, and later explained to Rachel that it had felt like the sort of exchange I’d have had with Tim had I ever managed to find my way to the deepest south-west before the tragedy struck earlier this year. I do miss him, and if that’s how I feel about things, then it must still be incredibly tough for his family and the closest of his friends, so once again the sympathies of this blog, and everyone associated with it through guest postings and comments, are extended to them.

I want to use this week to revisit some songs that Tim had made mention of during his many guest postings on TVV, with the accompanying words providing a reminder of his wit, warmth and talent.

Here’s part one, and it originally appeared on 17 August 2015 as part of the Pulp ICA:-

Quite simply one of the best British singles, ever, by anyone. Absolutely their defining song, and the classic song of the Britpop era. I toyed with the idea of leaving it off just to be controversial but then I realised that I can’t write about Pulp without mentioning it. It’s too good a record. As a song it is scathing yet hilarious, deeply personal yet turns an eye to larger questions, intelligent yet simple enough to fit within a massively infectious pop melody. And to top it all, triumphant enough to close a live show.

mp3 : Pulp – Common People

There will longer, wonderfully written and occasionally surreal pieces these next few days. I really hope you enjoy reading them (and thanks to SWC for the green light to go with this mini-series).



Bad Cover Version…..as in the song by Pulp and not the annihilation or butchering of a classic.

It was the band’s final single. Kind of, in that they later got back together for a bit the best part of a decade after breaking up and eventually released a 45 for Record Store Day in 2013.

It only reached #27 in the charts, a disappointing showing but no real surprise given that the song had been around for some six months, featuring on the LP We Love Life. It was released on a 2xCD format, the first of which offered up two rather decent new Pulp songs while the second featured a different version of the single plus two covers of Pulp songs:-

mp3 : Pulp – Bad Cover Version
mp3 : Pulp – Yesterday
mp3 : Pulp – Forever In My Dreams
mp3 : Nick Cave – Disco 2000
mp3 : Róisín Murphy – Sorted?

As for the different version of the single…….

The band went out with a piss-taking bang in that the video mimics Do They Know It’s Christmas with a bunch of celebrity lookalikes utilised to deliver lyrics in the style of their impersonations. It’s so bad it’s good:-

The full list of those involved….

Singers: Robbie Williams,Liam Gallagher, Kylie Minogue, David Bowie, George Michael, Bono, Paul McCartney,Craig David,Jennifer Lopez, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Tom Jones, Björk, Kurt Cobain (the only person in the video who, at the time, was deceased!), Rod Stewart, Meat Loaf, Cher, Jay Kay, Jarvis Cocker (the only one who mimed!!), Mick Jagger, Elton John, Missy Elliott and Bob Geldof.

Guitarists: Noel Gallagher, Mike Oldfield, Keith Richards and Brian May (played by Jarvis Cocker!!!)

Percussionists: Phil Collins and Gary Numan

Producer: Jeff Lynne




The seven minute epic which closed the breakthrough album, His’n’Hers, back in 1994.

We made our way slowly down the path that led to the stream,
Swaying slightly,
Drunk on the sun, I suppose.
It was a real summer’s day.
The air humming with heat whilst the trees beckoned us into their cool green shade.
And when we reached the stream I put a bottle of cider into the water to chill,
Both of us knowing that we’d drink it long before it had the chance.

This is where you want to be,
There’s nothing else but you and her,
And how you spend your time.

Walking to parties whilst it’s still light outside.
Peter was upset at first but now he’s in the garden talking to somebody Polish.
Why don’t we set up a tent and spend the night out there?
And we can pretend that we’re somewhere foreign,
But we’ll still be able to use the fridge if we get hungry, or too hot.

This is where you want to be,
There’s nothing else but you and her,
And how you use your time.

We went driving.

This is where you want to be,
There’s nothing else but you and her,
And how you use your time.

The room smells faintly of sun tan lotion
In the evening sunlight and when you take off your clothes,
You’re still wearing a small pale skin bikini.
The sound of children playing in the park comes from faraway,
And time slows down to the speed of the specks of dust
Floating in the light from the window.

Summer leaves fall from Summer trees.
Summer grazes fade on Summer knees.
Summer nights are slowly getting long.
Summer’s going so hurry soon it’ll be gone.

So we went out to the park at midnight one last time.
Past the abandoned glasshouse stuffed full of dying palms.
Past the bandstand down to the boating lake.
And we swam in the moonlight for what seemed like hours,
Until we couldn’t swim anymore.

And as we came out of the water we sensed a certain movement in the air,
And we both shivered slightly and ran to collect our clothes.
And as we walked home we could hear the leaves curling and turning
Brown on the trees,
And the birds deciding where to go for Winter.
And the whole sound,
The whole sound of Summer packing it’s bags and preparing to leave town.

Oh but I want you to stay.
Oh please stay for a while,
Oh I want you to stay,
Oh I want you to stay.

mp3 : Pulp – David’s Last Summer



Dear friend

I’m typing this on the afternoon of Sunday 15 October (i.e the day before it will appear on the blog).  This is the first thing I’ve done for T(n)VV in almost three months. Indeed, other than going in and looking at emails, from which I’ve been able to pull out some stunning guest contributions, I’ve studiously avoided this blog, and I’m ashamed to say, all the other brilliant blogs that are highlighted as recommendations over on the right hand side of this layout if you’re viewing it on a PC or laptop.

I think I do things differently from most other bloggers in that I produce a high volume of postings in single sittings for packaging up and posting many weeks or indeed months down the line.  I wish I could be more like Drew or Adam or Rol or Robster and so many others who can fire up the device and pull together a brilliantly written, entertaining and informative piece and then move on to the next one a day or so later.  My inspiration very much comes in spurts and I need to have lots of free thinking time too.

It was the fact that I knew I was going to be very busy at work right through August and September that led to the fierce stockpiling of material.  It’s not that I was working any longer hours, it was that I knew I was going to need to be particularly creative on projects that wouldn’t leave much in the way the energy or inspiration to blog.  One option, of course, was to close things down for a few days or weeks, but that’s something I’m loath to do as there’s a sense of pride and satisfaction in making sure there’s some sort of daily posting.

So the binge to end all binges was embarked upon.

It can hardly come as a surprise the binge made me feel ill afterwards, to the extent that I just couldn’t be bothered with this or other blogs.  There was also the fact that some of my spare time was being sucked into some other leisure related things, particularly around football, that on every occasion I thought to myself that I’d find a day to get motivated again to read what others were writing, I’d find a pathetic excuse not to.

My utmost apologies to all of you and I do promise that in due course I will catch up….don’t be too annoyed if you find me offering inane comments on stuff you’d written about weeks/months ago and had perhaps forgotten about.

I’ve also managed in recent weeks to get myself away on holiday for a week over to Canada where I met up with friends and played some golf (those of you who are linked to me via Facebook will have been bored with photos of green grass and lakes in Nova Scotia).  But the holiday also made me realise I was suffering from blog fatigue as, for the first ever time on a visit to Toronto, I studiously avoided going downtown to browse around the record stores that I’ve grown fond of over the years and I didn’t even think about trying to take in any sort of live show.

I’ll slowly shake myself out of this stupor, but I think it might take much of the rest of the calendar year.  As things stand, I have posts in place and scheduled right through to the end of November and it will also be easy to keep the Saturday and Sunday features going as they follow a particular chronology.  But I am putting out the begging bowl for December……..and hoping that some readers can help.

I’ve more or less missed out on what 2017 has had to offer from a new music perspective, whether from new singers or bands or the material released by ling-established favourites.  I’m therefore asking if any of you would care to fire over a piece on your take on what has most excited you musically about 2017 that I would intend to run as features this coming December.

I’ve long believed that one of the greatest strengths of this little corner of t’internet is the quality and variety of guest postings and the amazing contributions via the comments section.  I’ve spent the best part of an hour today reading back over the past hundred observations and I’ve been smiling a lot.  That’s something I really need to say thank you for. There’s been some fantastic debates break out along the way and I’m annoyed I never leapt in to contribute….particularly on Roxy Music!

So…it’s a huge favour that I’m asking and I do hope that some of you will, in due course, feel like making a charitable donation.

mp3 : Pulp – Help The Aged

Yours etc


PS : Feel free to keep firing over ICAs, ‘Had It Lost It’ , ‘Cracking Debut Single’ or indeed anything else that you’d want to see appear on these pages.  Nothing is ever turned down.






“Jarvis the lounge suited Romeo reminisces about his first love to whom he is now a distant memory. The thing about this song, when you strip away the melody and the soaring chorus, is that it is one of Pulp’s more powerful moments; urgent, yearning and ferocious but yet fragile, like it would fall apart if you nudged it too hard.”

I’m really proud that such a description of Do You Remember The First Time? appeared previously on the pages of T(n)VV. It was back in August 2015 when a Pulp ICA was lovingly stitched together by Tim Badger who is one-third of the ridiculously talented team involved everyday over at WYRCRA. One of that blog’s other writers – KC – also recently referenced the song in a positive fashion. I’m not sure if SWC has publicly given his approval to the tune but given that he has demonstrated such fine taste over the years it would be a major shock of he was to give a thumbs-down to this #33 hit from March 1995.

mp3 : Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time?

It was the, coincidentally, the single that enabled Pulp to crack the Top 40 for the first time and it came at the fourteenth time of asking. Every one of their singles afterwards – and there were eleven of them – charted in the Top 30, including five successive Top 10 singles when they were at the height of their popularity. I reckon it would make for a good pub argument as to which few minutes of recorded material actually made for Jarvis & co’s finest ever achievement – you only need to refer back here to said ICA to see the extent of some of the songs that would qualify for consideration.

I’d like to make the case for First Time, although it is hard to add much to the succinct summary offered by Tim. It is a song in which the memorable chorus is matched by an equally memorable and infectiously danceable tune. It has that rare quality of a tune that seems to be fading out on itself just at the right point in time only for it to  come back for once last hurrah on the back of Jarvis shouting ‘hey’.

It’s the triumph of a band who, having more than paid their dues with the flop singles and suffered at the hands of a music press that repeatedly said they’d never amount to anything, showing that they in fact held all the aces and were now here not only to clean out the banker but every single player sitting at the poker table.

Once heard, never forgotten. It’s as infectiously catchy as any pop tune written for the latest manufactured combo to emerge from a TV talent show; it’s as heavily anthemic as any rock tune from those who can sell out stadiums in minutes; it’s as indie and hip as the next underground sensation that those ‘in the know’ are tipping for stardom.

It puts a smile on my face every single time I hear it.

Oh, and quite possibly, the song most capable than any other that’s ever been written of conjuring an entirely different memory for each and every member of a listening audience.

It’s also worth highlighting that it’s two fairly experimental b-sides are also of a very high standard; the first is Jarvis at his imperiously, creepy and seedy best; it’s an epic part spoken/part sung effort stretching out to the best part of six minutes with a story line that seems to lends itself perfectly to a film noir. It’s also not a million miles removed from the sort of dark stuff Marc Almond was penning at onset of Soft Cell’s career.

mp3 : Pulp – Street Lites

The third track is something that if played to most folk unnanounced would have them struggling to correctly name the band for at least the first 90-odd seconds of what is out-and-out krautrock (or possibly even prog rock) until the familiar voice comes in.  A fair bit more rocky stuff ensues before the conclusion of the tale with its little sting in the final line.

mp3 : Pulp – The Babysitter



Back in the early 90s, Pulp were always one of those bands that you would read about in a music magazine every now and again, and depending on the particular journalist, they seemed to get a hugely positive or hugely negative review, whether it be an assessment of their records or the reactions to a live gig. But never really having heard any of their tunes, I was never in a position to make my own mind up. And although they were a band that did seem to divide opinion so much, I was never inclined to find things out for myself.

One day, in my usual fashion, I was watching the ITV Chart Show on a Saturday morning. In the days before satellite telly, there wasn’t all that much music on the box, and the best thing about this particular show was that every three weeks they had an indie chart in which you might be lucky enough to catch 90 seconds of the latest video by Carter USM, Lush, Pop Will Eat Itself or some shoegazing nonsense. I wasn’t paying all that much attention to the rundown one Saturday until about midway through a tune which hit me as something quite unique…..by now I had missed who the band was and what the song was called, but I recognised from the video that the singer was the bloke out of Pulp as I had seen his photo in the music papers a few times.

By the end of the video, I was certain the song in question was called ‘I Want To Take You Home’. I looked for it in a few shops around that time, but with no joy. It must have been the best part of a year later that I then saw another Pulp video on the same show….this time I clocked that it was for a song called Lipgloss. The following week I found a CD album of theirs called His’n’Hers in the second-hand section, so I bought it. About halfway through my first listen, the track I had previously thought was called I Want To take You Home suddenly came through the speakers loud and clear…

I know most folk rave about the quality of Different Class, the 1995 LP that turned Pulp into superstars in the UK, but I’ve a very soft spot for His’n’Hers which I reckon is a better all round record, albeit it doesn’t have the genius that is Common People. It was an act of negligence on the part of the record-buying public that Babies was a flop single on its initial release in late 1992, and I reckon the record label did the right thing with a re-release in May 1994, when they made the track the lead-off on the Sisters EP:-

mp3 : Pulp – Babies (EP Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Your Sister’s Clothes
mp3 : Pulp – Seconds
mp3 : Pulp – His’n’Hers

I don’t know why I never bought this particular EP when it was released – looking back it was a time when I was living in Glasgow in a small flat and travelling to Edinburgh every day to work. Space in the flat was at a premium, there wasn’t a lot of spare cash kicking around, and CD singles/EPs frankly didn’t seem worth the money if you already had the album (I didn’t realise until picking up a second hand copy about a decade ago that it was a re-recorded version).

Oh and here, from a BBC session recorded on 30th May 1992 for the Radio 1 Show, The Evening Session, is another version of I Want To take You Home :-

mp3 : Pulp – Babies (Session)





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??



Tim’s imaginary compilation album yesterday understandably concentrated on what is rightly regarded as the band’s golden period.  But I’m a bit of a sucker for one of their early songs dating back to 1985 and released as the lead track on an 12″ EP on Fire Records:-

mp3 : Pulp – Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)

It is a precursor to the sort of lyric and tune that would much later on provide the band with critical acclaim and commercial success.

Here’s the equally wonderful b-sides the last of which doesn’t have Jarvis on lead vocal duties:-

mp3 : Pulp – Simultaneous
mp3 : Pulp – Blue Glow
mp3 : Pulp – The Will To Power

Looking back, it was probably just as well that the single was a flop as it would have set the band on an entirely different course and they would in all likelihood have broken up before the 90s came along.




Tim Badger is back again with another marvellous contribution to the series…..

Way back when Britpop was all about Blur vs Oasis, the really cool kids chose Pulp. In Pulp the nerdy kids had a hero, Jarvis Cocker. Cocker a literary and gawky frontman became a sex symbol, famous for peddling a mix of disco and cheesy 80s synth sound with a sideline in frankly pervy lyrics. It is perhaps more clear now than it was at the time that he would define a generation. That generation being the Britpop era. Pulp had been around in varying forms since the early 80s – and yet didn’t really come to real attention until 1993, the year Cocker turned 30 – and it was perhaps this that stood them apart, a sense of mature wit and a different outlook.

In Pulp’s songs, the topics were more adult and realistic, the sex was dirtier and less satisfying, the relationships more fractious and they had characters that you identified with because we’d all been there. This compilation is made up from their three most successful records ‘This is Hardcore’ in 1998, ‘Different Class’ in 1995 and ‘His n Hers’ in 1994. I wanted to include the track ‘Like A Friend’ from Great Expectations OST but I can’t find the CD I have with it on. Sorry. It would have been Track 2 on Side 2

I should perhaps take a moment to acknowledge ‘We Love Life’. This is a gorgeous, expansive album that is much under rated. I tried to get a song on this list but just couldn’t fit it in. It would have been ‘Sunrise’ and it would have ended the compilation. I love that record but it isn’t ‘David’s Last Summer’ which does end the record. The strength of their three album run from ’94 to ’98 is just too overpowering. I’d also point you towards the B-Side of the single This is Hardcore called ‘It’s a Dirty World’ which also should have made this Compilation, but again got shunted by the others.

Side One

1. Babies (from His ‘n’ Hers, 1994)

After about ten years the wilderness, Pulp emerged with this tale of teenage tea time obsession. It begins innocently enough with Jarvis talking about afternoons with girls in bedrooms – before he goes well a bit perverse and then delivering this withering punchline “I only went with her ‘cause she looked like you!”

2. F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. (from Different Class, 1995)

There was a real war going on between whether it was going to be “F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.” or “Sorted for E’s & Wizz” that made it on this list and the latter almost won based purely on that awesome synth thing that happens about two and a half minutes in. But in the end I went with this (and forgive me if I leave out the .’s and just call it ‘Feeling’. This is one of the most bizarre songs Pulp ever did – it sounds like Jarvis is coming down from a bad trip but in reality it’s just a bad case of obsession. Lyrically its amongst the best (and claustrophobic) that Jarvis ever wrote and the way its bursts into the chorus is virtually theatrical.

3. The Fear (from This Is Hardcore, 1998)

“This is the sound of someone losing the plot/ Making out that they’re okay when they’re not/ You’re gonna like it, but not a lot/ And the chorus goes like this.” With that line, Pulp delivered the bleak mission of their darkest and most personal work ‘This is Hardcore’ . After finally becoming the celebrity Jarvis was always destined to be – I think he realised that he didn’t want after all – he was in danger of turning into a 1990s equivalent of Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs. Unusually for a Pulp track, the keyboard sound of Candida Doyle is hardly there on this song and is replaced by guitars. Sure its bleak but it’s probably their most rewarding song.

4. Disco 2000 (from Different Class 1995)

How many of us can identify with this. The wild expectations of childhood infatuations which come crashing down in adulthood. Everything from the shameless ripping off ‘Gloria’ from the 80s to the wonderful lyrics of this make this songs essential. Disco 2000 is a pretty much like a school disco on record. A magnificent tribute to the one that got away.

5. Pink Glove (from His ‘n’ Hers, 1994)

For me this is the highlight of Pulp’s breakthrough LP and nicely sets out the band’s stall as social commentators with a sordid twist. The object of our narrator’s affections is desperate to please her man – but she should be with our Jarvis, who’d have her just the way she is. Bless.

Side Two

1. Common People (From Different Class, 1995)

Quite simply one of the best British singles, ever, by anyone. Absolutely their defining song, and the classic song of the Britpop era. I toyed with the idea of leaving it off just to be controversial but then I realised that I can’t write about Pulp without mentioning it. It’s too good a record. As a song it scathing yet hilarious, deeply personal yet turns an eye to larger social questions, intelligent yet simple enough to fit within a massively infectious pop melody. And to top it all triumphant enough to close a live show.

2. Do You Remember The First Time? (From His n Hers’, 1994)

Jarvis the lounge suited Romeo reminisces about his first love to whom he is now a distant memory. The thing about this song, when you strip away the melody and the soaring chorus, is that, it is one of Pulps more powerful moments, its urgent, yearning and ferocious but yet fragile, like it would fall apart if you nudged it too hard.

3. This is Hardcore (from This Is Hardcore, 1998)

Clocking in at over six minutes, this is a sordid tale of secrets buried in PVC raincoats. Its sounds indescribably sinister. It s adopts a late night vibe and a raft of distorted guitar riffs that eventually gives way to strings and sounds so utterly dejected. One of the saddest Pulp songs around and probably the closest thing that geeks have to ‘Sexual Healing’.

4. Something Changed (from Different Class, 1995)

Yes, another single, sorry it is single heavy, yet, what singles they are. Something Changed is Pulp at their sweetest, with Pulp pondering fate, chance and relationships. When you look at love songs, 99% are clichéd drivel, but this is in the 1% that stand out.

5. David’s Last Summer (from His ‘n’ Hers, 1994)

The glory of Pulp is that they don’t really feel like a band who just stitch songs together – nor do they just build to crescendo and stop. They fell like stories unfolding, often narrated and this is perhaps the best story they recorded. Jarvis sings “Drunk on the Sun, I Suppose” before shouting “I Want you to Stay!” as the violins and distortion overcomes him. You never find out why this was Davids Last Summer, I’m guessing that it was a song about the loss of youth or perhaps a person, but it’s the greatest ending of an album that I can think of.

Tim B

mp3 : Pulp – Babies
mp3 : Pulp – F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E
mp3 : Pulp – The Fear
mp3 : Pulp – Disco 2000
mp3 : Pulp – Pink Glove
mp3 : Pulp – Common People
mp3 : Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time?
mp3 : Pulp – This Is Hardcore
mp3 : Pulp – Something Changed
mp3 : Pulp – David’s Last Summer

JC adds…………….Pulp were on my list of bands to feature in this series and my ten wouldn’t have been too far removed from Tim’s offering.  I can however, provide a bonus track for him given that he wanted to include it on the LP but didn’t have the song to hand:-

mp3 : Pulp – Like A Friend




After waiting well over a decade to enjoy commercial success, it was a bit of a shock when Pulp embarked on such a high-profile and deliberate fall from grace with their next LP.

The fact speak for themselves – flop albums in 1983, 1987 and 1992 before gaining a degree of popularity in 1994 with His’n’Hers. And then it was 1995 and the release of Different Class which eventually sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK alone – a quite astonishing feat for a band who up until that point had only ever had two Top 40 singles/EPs in their career.

While it is true that Different Class rode in on the tails of the Britpop era that saw pop music become fashionable again and part of everyday culture, it doesn’t detract from the fact that it is a cracking piece of work (albeit not as cracking as His’n’Hers in my humble opinion).

But all was not well in Pulp-land. When they went back into the studio to begin work on the new LP, with all the hopes and expectations of not only the record label but also an adoring public, there was nothing happening. Jarvis Cocker couldn’t come up with any words or tunes, and even more crucially, guitarist, violinist and key member of the band Russell Senior decided to leave.

The band eventually managed to record new material, and the first thing to emerge was the single Help The Aged in November 1997 which was about as far removed from the chant-a-long songs which had led to so many folk embracing the band. At this stage, it might still have been regarded as a one-off Cocker-like prank to choose the most awkward and difficult of the new songs to be the lead-off single, but it became clear in March 1998 with the release of the next single that Pulp were going to lose a lot of mainstream fans and not get many new recruits to replace them:-

mp3 : Pulp – This Is Hardcore
mp3 : Pulp – Ladies’ Man
mp3 : Pulp – The Professional
mp3 : Pulp – This Is Hardcore (end of the line remix)

This was difficult and uncompromising stuff of the highest or lowest order, depending on your point of view. But it’s too easy to dismiss it as a song about porn…it could easily be interpreted as Jarvis using sex and sexual imagery to attack anyone in power, whether it be the captains of industry in the likes of film, music or newspaper or indeed on politicians who had, for a while, gotten off on Britpop only to walk away when the musicians started dishing out the criticism.

But whatever the intentions behind the song, it remains one of the bleakest and yet most brilliantly subversive bits of music ever to have been played on the radio, climbing to #12 in the UK charts. Hell, it even managed an appearance on Top Of The Pops.

The b-sides were hugely uncompromising and self-mocking and then to top all of that, CD2 had some astonishing remixes to further confuse everyone:-

mp3 : Pulp – This Is Hardcore (4 hero remix)
mp3 : Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Swedish Erotica remix)
mp3 : Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Stock, Hausen & Walkman’s remix)

Enjoy. I certainly do.



I’m lifting this from the intro to the actual comic:-

“They’re part of the melodic continuum that began in England’s Dance Hall during World War II. More recent points on that timeline have included The Kinks, Roxy Music, Bowie (Diamond Dogs era), The Smiths and Blur. Pulp’s songs present a very English slice of life, garnished with bathos, wit and humour. The melange includes guitars, bass, drums, violin, a very cheesy Farfisa organ (how retro!) ans the inimitable vocal stylings of Mr Jarvis Cocker. Pulp have been around for almost 15 years as a loose entity with a mottled Indie past. Pulp’s Island Records signing and subsequent release of their album “His’nHers” marked their major-label debut.

With “Different Class” they triggered a real Pulpmania.  As a a tribute to the single “Common People”, the Tank Girl cartoonist, Jamie Hewlett, specially drew a cartoon, illustrating the lyrics.

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Page 8


Bloody marvellous innit?

mp3 : Pulp – Common People

mp3 : Pulp – Common People (Motiv-8 Mix)

mp3 : Pulp – Common People (Live In Session, 1995)

Different Class right enough.