One of the greatest pop-punk records of all time was written in Edinburgh…..
In November 1977, Buzzcocks were touring the UK. Before a gig at the Clouds (also known as the Cavendish Ballroom) in Edinburgh, they stayed the night. Pete Shelley later recalled:
“We were in the Blenheim Guest House with pints of beer, sitting in the TV room half-watching Guys and Dolls. One of the characters, Adelaide, is saying to Marlon Brando’s character, ‘Wait till you fall in love with someone you shouldn’t have.’ “I thought, ‘fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have?’ Hmm, that’s good.”
The following day he wrote the lyrics of the song, in a van outside the main post office on nearby Waterloo Place. The music followed soon after.
One of Pete Shelley’s greatest attributes as a songwriter was the ability to write about situations that could be taken by every listener as being completely applicable to their own lives. There can’t be any of us out there who could give the answer of ‘No’ to the question. It particularly appealed to my teenage sensations, when the girl(s) of my dreams were way out of my league, preferring the company of those a couple years older or those who weren’t total bookworms. It didn’t help that my tastes in music weren’t universal…..
But as the years have passed and relationships have come and gone, it’s very clear the song can apply at any time in your life and needn’t be about unrequited adolescent relationships that lead to severe bouts of self-pity. It’s also got a tune that is instantly recognisable.
I bought this back in the day in 1978 on 7″ vinyl, the only format it was issued in. I lost it a long ago and have never managed to replace it with a good enough copy without hisses, crackles and the occasional jump….very few of us took good enough care of the single. But, just a few weeks ago, while browsing in a shop in Glasgow, I found a near-mint first-edition copy of Love Bites, (complete with artwork insert) and from that LP, I can offer up both the single and its almost equally-marvellous b-side.