Jarvis Cocker - vocals / guitar Peter Mansell - bass (backing vocals on
I was first introduced to Pulp one day back in 1984 when my good friend and founding father in Fire Records, journalist Johnny Waller, burst in to my flat / office, clasping a copy of their debut album, It. "Listen to this", he insisted - a collection of plaintive mainly acoustic ballads, the best of which exuded a songwriting craftmanship which would not have been out of place on a Jimmy Webb record. Fact freaks shoud note that "Wishful Thinking" was recently accorded cult status with a dance treatment by Golden on St. Etienne's Icerink label.
Pulp, along with Blue Aeroplanes and Television Personalities, soon became just about my favourite band in the unknown universe. They were simply awesome, ranging from Scott Walker balladeering to post-punk, avant-garde aggressiveness. And then they were undeniably strange - stories abounded, but I liked to tell the tale about their singer Jarvis having fallen out of a third storey while doing a Spiderman impression and continuing to use his wheelchair as a stage prop long after he'd regained use of his legs.
Pulp signed to Fire and the lovably awkward and controversial "Little Girl With Blue Eyes", which I've always thought plucked it's intro from James & Bobby Purify's pop soul classic "I'm Your Puppet", set an almost impossibly high standard to follow. But when they delivered their next, the delicately kitsch "Dogs Are Everywhere", it only confirmed my suspicions that this was indeed a deeply disturbed but unique Sheffield pop group and try as I could to recall the last pop song on the subject matter of dogs, I gave up at Lobo's "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo". "They Suffocate At Night", a blackly humourous, lush ballad is truly sublime and this collection is rounded off with the near Heavy Metal delusions of "Master Of The Universe".
In keeping with Fire's desire to promote value for money 12" singles, these four Pulp singes each featured four tracks ("Blue Glow" remains my personal favourite), all of which are gathered here, save for one, left off ath the band's request. Shortly after, with a second album "Freaks" under their belts, but still almost a decade away from universal acclaim and pop stardom, Pulp departed to seek fame and fortune elsewhere. The freaks were to return to Fire some three years later, but that as they say, is another story.