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Common People
Pulp
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There are many reasons to love Jarvis Cocker - his dress sense, his epochal stage invasion during the Brits, his dry northern witticisms - but none more persuasive than this brilliant put down of rich slummers.

As the beast of Britpop dragged its coke-infested carcass into the pop mainstream, Cocker, ever the late developer,
Pulp
Song facts
Composer Jarvis Cocker/
Nick Banks/
Candida Doyle/
Steven Mackey/
Russell Senior
Genre Pop
Album Different Class
Year of Release 1995
became one of its main figureheads while simultaneously retaining the air of both raffish outsider and class swot, informed by over 12 years spent clawing his way up to fame.

Common People was inspired by a true incident from Cocker's student days in which he met a rich, Greek girl looking to expand her horizon. Although he admitted that he had embellished certain details for dramatic emphasis: "I only knew her for a matter of weeks, and I only spoke to her a few times, but it stuck in my mind what she was saying, that she wanted to sleep with 'common people like me'."

In an era when public schoolboys were having it large round Soho, getting their vicarious thrills from gangsters, football and birds, Common People was a timely riposte from the smart side of working class culture. Cocker’s lyrics were given added weight by a delirious pop tune drawing heavily from the mutant, electronic pulse of prime time Roxy Music and a chorus that is equal parts celebration and condemnation.

Common People and its accompanying album, Different Class, propelled Pulp into the Britpop big time. Subsequent albums have seen them move back into obscurity but Common People remains Cocker at his scabrously witty best.



Interview with Jarvis Cocker, Sep 1995
Jarvis Cocker
So who was the girl who studied at St Martin's College? Jarvis Cocker reveals the inspiration behind the lyrics of Common People.

Listen Listen to Jarvis Cocker

Other versions
William Shatner
Listen If you thought Jarvis Cocker was an eclectic sort, this cover of Common People by William Shatner (and Joe Jackson) will leave you speechless.

This was the first song in ages that mentioned class. It was like a throwback to punk and I loved it then, and now.


Steve

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