Buzzcocks – Harmony In My Head

Happy Monday everyone! Everything that I’ve heard by them is loud, catchy, aggressive, and with a power pop hook. I listened to the Buzzcocks in the 80s with some friends that owned some imports. I hoped they would break in America but never did.

The Buzzcocks crossed pop with punk. The Go-Go’s have said they were a huge influence. Jane Wiedlin said: “our favorite band, the band that we always tried to emulate was the Buzzcocks, who had that great pop song done in a punky style.”

Grunge bands admired the Buzzcocks also. Pearl Jam  invited the band to open US shows for them in 2003, including the Buzzcocks’ first ever appearance at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Nirvana invited them to open dates on their last ever European tour, in early 1994.

Steve Diggle wrote this song and did the lead vocals on it. He said the “harmony” in the song is the sound of the crowd when they played.

To get the right sound for the song, Diggle smoked 20 cigarettes to get the gruff sound of the vocals. The song peaked at #32 in the UK charts in 1979. The song was just released as a single not an album.

They released 3 albums, 6 non-album singles, and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death of a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour with Diggle.

Steve Diggle: “I was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is a heavy book but it had a lot of cinematic imagery – so ‘Harmony’ wasn’t a linear story like pop songs are. The Arndale Centre had just been built and it gave me a real sense of alienation. I wanted to walk down the street and hear the percolation of the crowds – that was the ‘harmony.’ Life was never going to be sweet and nice and it’s not always doom and gloom. The ‘Harmony In My Head’ was the sound of the crowd. That’s how real life is.”

From Songfacts

When Buzzcocks played their first concert, Steve Diggle was their bassist, but founding frontman Howard Devoto’s departure prompted the band to reshuffle, with Pete Shelley becoming lead vocalist/guitarist and Diggle moving from bass to guitar and co-vocalist.

Diggle also had a few early co-writing credits and contributed chords and choruses to “Promises” shortly after Pete Shelley’s “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).” “Harmony In My Head,” which reached #32 in the UK, is probably Diggle’s best known song.

 Engineer Alan Winstanley recalled to Uncut: “‘Harmony’ is interesting as it’s the only one Steve Diggle sings – it doesn’t have that Pete Shelley sweetness – but when he comes in on the chorus it really changes it. Then off Steve goes again with his growly voice.”

Released as a standalone single on July 13, 1979, the song spent six weeks on the UK singles chart, peaking at #32.

Harmony In My Head

Whenever I’m in doubt about things I do
I listen to the high street wailing sounds in a queue
Go out for my walking sailing social news
Don’t let it get me down I’m long in the tooth

When I’m out in the open clattering shoppers around
Neon signs that take your eyes to town
Your thoughts are chosen your world is advertising now
And extravagance matters to worshipers of the pound

But it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

The tortured faces expression out aloud
And life’s little ironies seem so obvious now
Your cashed in cheques have placed the payments down
And there’s a line of buses all wait to take you out

But it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a

It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

Whenever I’m in doubt about things I do
I listen to the high street wailing sounds in a queue
I go out for my walking sailing social news
Don’t let it get me down I’m long in the tooth

‘Cause it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

In my head, in my head

Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?)

This song is really catchy and has a punk pop sound. Some times a title is so good that you listen to the song regardless of who it is. This title fits that description and unlike some…it lives up to it.

The song title came from a line Marlon Brando spoke in the 1955 movie, ‘Guys And Dolls’ which Pete Shelley watched in a hotel room while on tour.

The Buzzcocks formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.  They chose the name Buzzcocks after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning friend.

They released 3 albums and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death of a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour.

The song peaked at #12 in the UK in 1978.

Songwriter Pete Shelley: “The song dates back to November 1977. We were on a roll. It was only six months since we’d finished the first album. Up in Manchester this was what we used to dream of… a whirlwind of tours, interviews, TV. We were living the life. One night in Edinburgh we were in a guest house TV lounge watching the musical Guys and Dolls. This line leaped out – ‘Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have?’ The next day the van stopped outside a post office and I wrote the lyrics there. I did have a certain person in mind, but I’ll save that for my kiss’n’tell. The music just seemed to follow, fully formed.”

“The opening line was originally ‘You piss on my natural emotions,’ but because ‘Orgasm Addict’ hadn’t been getting radio play because of it’s title, I needed something a bit subtler. So I came up with ‘spurn.’ It had the same sort of disregard, but wasn’t so likely to offend!”

The Fine Young Cannibals had a no. 9 UK hit with their cover version, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1986 film Something Wild.

From Songfacts

.In 1987 when Fine Young Cannibals covered this, their more laid back, soulful version peaked at #9 in the UK. They recorded the song after being asked by the director Jonathan Demme to provide him with a song for his upcoming film Something Wild. It is featured on the film’s soundtrack released as “Ever Fallen in Love.”

In the same Uncut interview the song’s producer Martin Rushent recalled: “Pete played me ‘Ever Fallen In Love…’ for the first time and my jaw hit the floor. I felt it was the strongest song that they had written-clever, witty lyrics, great hooklines. I suggested backing vocals-to highlight the chorus and make it even more powerful. No one could hit the high part-so I did it. I’d sung in bands in my youth and I also worked as a backing singer.”

The story of how The Buzzcocks came up with their name: In February 1976 Shelley and guitarist Howard Devoto read an article about a band called the Sex Pistols who had just played in London. “It was a realization of someone else doing what we already wanted to do,” Shelley told Reuters. The pair borrowed a car and drove from Manchester down to London to seek out the Sex Pistols. “We bought a copy of Time Out, which had no mention of them at all,” recalled Shelley. “But in the magazine was a preview for a TV series called Rock Follies. The headline was, ‘It’s the buzz, cock.” And that’s how we got the name.”

Thea Gilmore, Pete Yorn, Will Young, Billy Talent and Anti-Flag are among the acts to cover this song. The New York City band SUSU released their version in 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. They explained: “A good cover is hard to find. Turns out this one was a telling tale, a perfect sonic and energetic fit. We were a brand new band, consummated on Valentine’s Day, in the pink of our five-week European honeymoon. We found ourselves leaving behind the tour we had just fallen in love with due to circumstances beyond our control – a pandemic. Proper heartbreak. But we all know the first breakup never sticks.”

Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

You spurn my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you and that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

I can’t see much of a future
Unless we find out what’s to blame, what a shame
And we won’t be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with

You disturb my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I’ll only end up losing you and that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Fallen in love with
Ever fallen in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?