Pulp’s Common People declared top Britpop anthem by BBC 6 Music – The Guardian
Pulp’s Common People has been declared the top Britpop anthem in a poll by BBC Radio 6 Music. Over 30,000 people voted in a survey that saw Pulp’s 1995 single win out over the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony and an Oasis vote that was split between Don’t Look Back In Anger and Wonderwall.
“It is one of the defining records of Britpop because it seemed to embrace the essence of the time so perfectly,” said DJ Steve Lamacq, who co-hosted the proceedings with Jo Whiley. “It seemed to sum up a feeling of ‘us and them’, as if to illustrate how the indie mavericks had taken on the pop stars and – for once – they’d won.”
Radio 6 listeners were asked to vote for the song that, for them, summed up the Britpop era. And while Glastonbury headliners like Oasis, Pulp, Blur and Ash crowded the top of the list, the final ranking also recognised Britpop classics by bands who didn’t quite attain the same heights: the Bluetones’ Slight Return at No 8, Mansun’s Wide Open Space at No 14, and Longpigs’ She Said at No 16.
Speaking to BBC 5Live Breakfast on Saturday (via NME), Pulp’s Nick Banks admitted that he initially thought Common People “sounded like a bit of a tuneless dirge”. Jarvis Cocker’s demo was apparently a “load of rubbish”, though Banks warmed to the tune once they took it into studio.
Though it peaked at No 2, Common People ties for the highest-charting single of Pulp’s career. (That same year, the double A-side Sorted for E’s & Wizz / Mis-Shapes also reached No 2.) The winner of an Ivor Novello award for best song musically and lyrically, it has since been covered by artists including My Chemical Romance and William Shatner.