Back to song list

Pulp - Common People - Lyrics Meaning

The inspiration for this song came from a fellow student known to Jarvis Cocker of Pulp when studying at an arts college in the UK. Very much from a working class background, Cocker found the attitude of the Greek female student to be irritating, spurring him into basing the song on her character. Obviously from a very wealthy and privileged home, she had expressed her wish to be, "like common people," and to do, "whatever common people do."

The lyrics basically pour scorn upon people who apply false glamour to poverty and foolishly think that taking part in a day or two of class tourism or `slumming' will actually make them anything like a `common' person. Cocker points out that any time spent in the real world - his world - is completely pointless when an easy escape from it all is only ever a phone-call away with the lines, `Cos when you're laid in bed at night, watching roaches climb the wall, if you call your dad he could stop it all.'

Cocker has confessed that he did embellish the truth at times just to create a bit of drama and says the subject of the lyrics actually said she wanted to, "...move to Hackney and live like common people," but in his version he adds, `I want to sleep with common people, common people like you,' to her list of requests.