"After You" had a lengthy genesis - initially it was demoed for inclusion on the band's 2001 studio album We Love Life, but it ended up being discarded. However, the band seemed to think very highly of the song; in the Truth and Beauty: The Story of Pulp biography by Mark Sturdy, drummer Nick Banks described it as "an absolute lost classic."
Only a very rough demo existed for the longest time, with the odd leak meaning several fans heard it. But for the most part it remained unreleased until the band's successful comeback tour in 2011, whereupon the band rediscovered it and finally finished it in November 2012 with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem producing the final version.
The song also had a unique release - initially the band devised a plan to give it away to fans attending their 'farewell' show at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield in December 2012. Christmas cards were given out at the show to fans, and within them was written a download code, which went live just past midnight on Christmas Eve and allowed fans with the code to download the song for free as a "Christmas gift" from the band. Having seen the great reaction to this release and considerable interest (presumably from fans who could not make it to the December show), the song saw a full commercial release on 28th January 2013 - well over ten years after the song was initially conceived.
"After You" also got a live airing - the only ever live playing of the song - on The Jonathan Ross Show on February 9, 2013, soon after the song's full commercial release. A Soulwax remix on 12" vinyl was later released for Record Store Day 2013.