Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)

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"Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)"
Buzzcocks - EverFallenInLove - SingleCover.jpg
Single by Buzzcocks
from the album Love Bites
B-side"Just Lust"
LabelUnited Artists
Songwriter(s)Pete Shelley
Producer(s)Martin Rushent
Buzzcocks singles chronology
"Love You More"
"Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)"

"Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" is a 1978 song written by Pete Shelley and performed by his group Buzzcocks. It was a number 12 hit on the UK Singles Chart and was included on the album Love Bites.

Background and writing[edit]

In November 1977, the Buzzcocks were on a headline tour of 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."[6]

The following day Shelley wrote the lyrics of the song, in a van outside the main post office on nearby Waterloo Place.[6] The music followed soon after.[7] In an interview, Shelley said that the song was about a man named Francis Cookson[6] that he lived with for about seven years.[8][9]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The music and lyrics, as well as the singing, belong to Shelley.[10] The song uses the verse-chorus formal pattern and is in the key of E major. Both the verse and the chorus start with C# minor chords (sixth degree in E major, and relative minor key of E major), which "give [the song] a distinctly downbeat, edgy feel."[10] The minor chords and the B-major-to-D-major move in the chorus are unusual for a 1970s punk song, yet they contribute to its ear-catching nature, along with the vocal melody. The verses feature a guitar riff and a double stroke tom-tom drum pattern over the E chord. The vocal melody ranges from G#3 to baritone F#4 in the verses and chorus; in the ending, Shelley hits a tenor G4 and then a G#4.

The lyrics consist of two verses (of which one is repeated) and a chorus. According to music critic Mark Deming, "the lyrics owe less to adolescent self-pity than the more adult realization of how much being in love can hurt – and how little one can really do about it."[10]

Pitchfork's Jason Heller described the music by writing, "Guitars seethe and beats clench. Shelley sings like a man whose entire existence hangs by a single frayed nerve."[11]

Critical reception[edit]

The song was ranked at No. 1 among "Tracks of the Year" for 1978 by NME.[12] Critic Ned Raggett describes the song as a "deservedly well-known masterpiece."[13] 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?'"[10]

Writing for Pitchfork, Jason Heller called the song "the peak...of the Buzzcocks' legacy", and said that "It’s a tribute not only to the notion that punk can be a thoughtful expression of naked feeling, but to Buzzcocks’ idiosyncratic embrace of the finer points of classic pop songcraft."[11]

Cover versions[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[33]
Buzzcocks version
Gold 400,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Hart, Mickey; Bresnick, Paul (2004). Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004: The Year's Finest Writing on Rock, Hip-hop, Jazz, Pop, Country, and More. Da Capo Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-3068-1380-1. 1978: Buzzcocks: "Ever Fallen in Love."
    Opting to leave the state-smashing to the Sex Pistols and the Clash, the Buzzcocks instead discovered how effective punk rock was for gnashing out your personal problems.
  2. ^ "100 Best Songs of the 1970s". NME. Retrieved 16 July 2013. one of the most thrilling and anarchic singles in all of punk rock.
  3. ^ Gavan, David (21 October 2009). "Pete Shelley Interview: The Fate & The Fury of the Buzzcocks". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 July 2013. Best known for their 1978 pop punk classic, 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)', frontman Pete Shelley maintains that Buzzcocks were always more than a mere chart band.
  4. ^ "Treble's Top 100 Punk Albums". Treble. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2019. from the raw sexual frustration of 'Orgasm Addict' on up to the power pop perfection of 'Ever Fallen in Love'...
  5. ^ Ross, Graeme (7 June 2018). "Playlist: 10 best new wave singles of 1978". The Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Pope, Iain (7 December 2018). "Buzzcocks punk anthem inspired by night in at Edinburgh guesthouse". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  7. ^ Lynskey, Dorian; Simpson, Dave (24 February 2006). "Twelve artists talk about making one of their classic tracks". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  8. ^ Freitas, Mark (1996) [First published in P.C. Casualties circa 1992]. "Buzzcocks: The Queer Punk Interview". Outpunk. No. 6. p. 51.
  9. ^ Youngs, Ian (7 December 2018). "Pete Shelley: The story of Buzzcocks' pansexual punk anthem Ever Fallen in Love". BBC News Online. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Deming, Mark. "Ever Fallen in Love? – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  11. ^ a b Heller, Jason (6 January 2019). "Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady". Pitchfork. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  13. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  14. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Original Soundtrack – Something Wild". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  15. ^ Greene, Jo-Ann. "Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw & the Cooked". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Charts.nz – Amanda Billing – Ever Fallen In Love?". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
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  21. ^ Phares, Heather. "Nouvelle Vague – Bande à Part". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
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  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 15, 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Fine Young Cannibals – Ever Fallen In Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
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  32. ^ a b "Fine Young Cannibals – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  33. ^ "British single certifications – Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 April 2021.

External links[edit]