Jarvis Cocker by Andrew Catlin

 Biggest hit Common People (Pulp), May 1995 – No 2; 13 weeks in chart.

Biggest Album Different Class, October 1995 – No 1; 64 weeks in chart

We first played Common People at the Reading Festival in 1994. I was up trying to finish the words the night before. If a song doesn’t work you know after about 20 seconds but you’ve got to finish it, five minutes or whatever, then feel really embarrassed.

I used to leave myself voicemails when I had ideas. In one case, I was away a week and a half and when I came back it had been deleted. I asked the phone company to access my voice messages, but they wouldn’t. I said: ‘If I’d been killed and they had an investigation into my murder you’d be able to look through my voicemail. So it must exist.’ She said: ‘Yeah, but you’ve not been killed.’ So I lost it and maybe it was the greatest song ever.

Jarvis Cocker setlistbrixton2stage1_1_9_11

Set list from Brixton Academy


When you dream a song, it’s awful. You can force yourself to wake up and I’ll run and get my phone and I’ll start humming into it thinking, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got it down.’ You listen next morning and it’s ‘uuugghaagguugh’, ’cause you’re still basically asleep.


Am I right to say with the album Different Class that the band set out to write 12 pop songs where each one could be a single?

That could be true! It was written very quickly, that record, because we’d forced Island’s hand a little bit by making them release “Common People” as a single before we’d recorded an album. Usually what people do is go into a studio, record 15 songs, and then see which one seems to be the best; release that one as a single, and then the ones that didn’t turn out so well, have those as B-sides and then that’s it, you’re done. But we’d written that song and felt it had to come out. It felt like it had captured some kind of feeling that was in the air at the time and we were scared if we took too long that moment would pass. So that was a big success and then that put a big pressure on us to actually have a record to follow that up. So it was done very quickly, which in the end was the best thing that could have happened, really, ’cause you just kind of get on with it. Maybe at some point we thought everything could be a single.

jarvis cocker