Formed 1978 in Sheffield, England and originally called “Arabacus Pulp” (although they shortened it to Pulp within a year), Pulp achieved sudden success some thirteen years after their formation and became known during the Britpop era as much for their music as for frontman Jarvis Cocker’s antics (notably conducting a stage invasion during Michael Jackson’s performance of Earth Song at the 1996 BRIT Awards). The band has gone through several changes, with the best known and most stable lineup being Cocker, keyboardist Candida Doyle (the longest tenured member aside from Cocker, joining in 1984), bassist Steve Mackey, drummer Nick Banks, guitarist/violinist Russell Senior and guitarist Mark Webber.
Achieving little success off the back of a Peel session in 1981, Pulp were finally able to release their debut album, It, in 1983. This album and its 1986 follow-up, Freaks, showcased a Pulp keen on Nick Drake (notably on the single My Lighthouse), with strong folk roots and little sign of the tendencies for storytelling and acid house music which would eventually bring forth success. After the release and commercial flop of Freaks, the band disbanded for a year, though formed a year later to record a third album, Separations. Delayed for three years after its recording, Separations showed Cocker’s increasing exposure to acid house, featuring multiple synths, and a hit single, My Legendary Girlfriend, which helped Pulp’s career start to rocket.