100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #10 Pulp – Common People

Released : 1995

Nobody would’ve guessed that Britpop’s anthem – and it was a movement of anthems, make no mistake about that – would’ve been delivered by a fifteen year overnight success, but if the more you practice the luckier you get, Pulp’s lottery win was a story to warm even the iciest of cold Camden hearts.

The intersect was a four leaf clover, as a period so redolent in the country’s musical past – Bowie, The Kinks, The Who et al – turned minds onto the Sheffield quintet’s polyester clad retro, leading man Jarvis Cocker having the gravitas of an anorexic university lecturer with a degree in curtain twitching. More than a decade on the periphery hadn’t blunted his penchant for observation though and whilst 1994’s His N’ Hers finally smashed the glass ceiling, it was left to it’s successor Different Class to cement them as awkward cousins to the lairy peth of Blur and Oasis.

The source of it’s gob smacking (As Cocker would say) public adoration was Common People, a slow building epic that at first seemed to be the antithesis of the overworked ten second verse, thirty second chorus formula used by many. Written on a cheesy lo-fi keyboard and flanked by Russel Senior’s arcing violin, it’s tale of class tourism wore two hats, also striking a chord with anyone who’d witnessed the flimsy efforts of politicians to hijack pop culture. Like a benevolent deity, fortune then shone on them one last time, with The Stone Roses withdrawal as Glastonbury headliners that year bringing them off the bench in time to score a hat-trick on national television via the song’s definitive rendition. And just like that, the meek had inherited the earth.

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