It’s an oversimplification to say that Pulp hit the big time in 1995, but it will always seem to be so because of the international success of the album Different Class and especially the single “Common People,” frequently cited as one of the decade’s best songs (in 2010, for instance, Pitchfork somewhat perversely placed it at #2 behind Pavement’s “Gold Soundz”). But by that time Jarvis and Co. had been slugging it out for in excess of 15 years, with four albums and who knows how many gigs on its ledger. Just a year earlier, His ‘n’ Hers made a significant splash, reaching #9 on the U.K. charts and narrowly failing to outpace Elegant Slumming by M People (right, them) for the 1994 Mercury Music Prize (weirdly, Different Class wasn’t even nominated for 1995).
In other words, if Different Class was Pulp’s Thriller, then His ‘n’ Hers was its Off the Wall. Now Pulp has never been quick to bless the United States with a surplus of live dates, but they did support His ‘n’ Hers with eight North American dates in 1994 opening for Blur, who were in the middle of a genre-defining apotheosis all their own, although still a year away from a hugely overhyped feud with some Manchester band whose name I cannot currently recall.
That was in fact Pulp’s first foray into North America, and those residents of Boston, Atlanta, New Orleans, etc., who made it to the gigs were treated with an opportunity to purchase a Pulp tour program spanning 100 pages positively bursting with clever-clever content of a certain kind.
I’ll let you peruse some of the pages below, but not before presenting this typical .... well, let’s call it a “blurb,” which is credited to Melody Maker (the original list, which was actually a a review of a Paris gig, was originally quite a bit longer and was written by David Bennun).
HEREWITH SOME REASONS TO LOVE PULP:
A. Pulp understand the minutiae of our dreary little lives.
B. “Babies” sounds like kinky sex doom disco.
C. Pulp are unique and brilliant. This is almost unheard of.
D. Jarvis Cocker is a truly bizarre frontman.
E. Pulp are a very good live band.
F. Pulp are a very good live band.
G. Jarvis writes lyrics like “Hey! You in the jesus sandals, would you like to come over and watch some vandals smashing up someone’s home?”
H. That’s enough.
The lyric quoted in G are from “Joyriders,” the first track of His ‘n’ Hers. Plenty of similar wit to be found below, especially in the “Catchphrases” slot.
See scans from the program, right after the jump…...