As we take another step along the 2018 path we are faced with another anniversary for the punk age. The years between 76-78 saw an explosion of groups across the British Isles all equipped with ferocity, fury and a whole heap of attitude. One of those groups was Buzzcocks and today we celebrate the 40th birthday of one of their best song ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’.
The Buzzcocks were already a prestigious name among the punk rock royalty, taking centre stage on their ’77 release ‘Orgasm Addict’, which examined compulsive sexuality, a subject which in 1977 was not fondly looked upon. The BBC refused to play it and the record didn’t sell well. But it did set tongues wagging and that was all Buzzcocks needed at that time.
By the time we arrive at November 1977, we fall upon a brilliant tableau which saw Buzzcocks in a TV room of an Edinburgh bed and breakfast watching the classic musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ when a piece of dialogue inspired Shelley to write the band’s seminal single.
It went “Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have” and it set a spark in Shelley’s mind, the following day he would write the lyrics in a van outside the post office for ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve). In an interview, Shelley said that the song was about a man named Francis that he lived with for about seven years.
It was this instantaneous and relatable content which connected Buzzcocks with their fans. Now they weren’t just part of the punk scene, they had created their own niche of power-pop and they weren’t afraid to use it as a weapon.
The track was released 40 years ago and received critical acclaim, being rated as the Number 1 song of 1978 by the biblical NME. Mark Deming notes, “Pete Shelley’s basic formula in the Buzzcocks was to marry the speed and emotional urgency of punk with the hooky melodies and boy/girl thematics of classic pop/rock. When he applied this thinking to that most classic of pop themes, unrequited teenage love, he crafted one of his most indelible songs, ‘Ever Fallen in Love?'”
Take a look at this live performance of the track.