Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 106
Tues. April 23, 2012

“Glory Days”

In 2001, when speaking of most eccentric pop stars, Esquire’s Amy Raphael wrote—“the U.S. has Michael Stipe and we have Jarvis.”

How did she know about the missing link between Pulp & R.E.M.? Imagine, it was the end of the nineties— Pulp was coming off their global success of A Different Class’ “Common People” and R.E.M. was having to make an album after one of their founding members resign—both bands had much anticipated releases circa 1998 This is Hardcore for Pulp and R.E.M,’s Up.

“♫ Oh, and I could be a genius/ if I just put my mind to it/ and I, I could do anything
if only I could get ’round to it/ Oh, we were brought up on the Space Race/ now they expect you to clean toilets
[…] ♫”

The ironic thing is that these two bands with little or no connection on the surface had two very similarly sounding songs. “Glory Days” from Pulp and R.E.M.’s “Hope.” Stipe admitted by giving royalty writing credit to Leonard Cohen, who’s a friend of Jarvis, and his vintage song “Suzanne.” Yet, both of these songs melodies sound alike. How could Jarvis and Stipe both were influenced by Cohen at around the same time in different places in the world—weird, huh?

“♫ I did experiments with substances/ but all it did was make me ill/ and I, I used to do the I Ching/ but then I had to feed the meter now I can’t see into the future/ but at least I can use the heater […] ♫”

While Stipe’s ends with his song protagonist “crossing DNA with something reptile;” Pulp’s “Glory Days” is grounded in the similar modern reminiscing realism of Springsteen’s namesake song from Born in the U.S.A.

“♫ Oh it doesn’t get much better than this […] this is how we live our glory days. ♫”

The Cohen, Stipe and Springsteen maybe just be my own rock geek theoretical idea of happenstance; in reality, “Glory Days” has more in common with Cocker’s very own anthem, “Sliding Through Life on Charm,” which he penned in 1999 for Marianne Faithfull. Maybe it should be called “Sliding Through Life Sans Hope?”

I have a suspicion that Jarvis has very mixed feelings about “Glory Days.” In one sense, it’s a later re-write on one of the most infamous pop songs B-sides in their eccentric canon of music—“Cocaine Socialism.”

When talking about the evolution of why “Cocaine Socialism” became “Glory Days” Jarvis said— “I just copped out really. It was a weird thing. It was probably complete rampant egotism on my part […] I bottled [C.S.] in the end and rewrote it as Glory Days, which was about nothing really. ”

“Glory Days” is Cocker’s indictment like manifesto on fame and key theme song of Pulp’s seminal 1998’s This is Hardcore.

“♫ Oh come on, make it up yourself/ you don’t need anybody else/ and I promise I won’t sell / these days to anybody else in the world but you. ♫”

Wherever the inspiration came from— Cohen, Stipe, Springsteen, and/or “Cocaine,” — relive the genius of 1998 from the mind and mouth of Jarvis Cocker— these still are the “Glory Days” of Pulp.

P.S. Brought to you by the wordpress site: I’m waking up to… – I’ll leave it with a special treat with these last words from blogger Dan—“if “glory days” romanticized an irretrievable past, “common people” romanticized an unavoidable present, which really must be the most glorious way to end any concert.” A live medley of “Glory People” recorded at Glastonbury circa 1998.