Classic Rock Wiki

"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 twelve hit on the UK Singles Chart and was included on the album Love Bites.



  • 1 Background and writing
  • 2 Music and lyrics
  • 3 Critical reception
  • 4 Cover versions
  • 5 Chart performance
    • 5.1 Buzzcocks version
    • 5.2 Fine Young Cannibals version
    • 5.3 Amanda Billing version
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Background and writing[edit][]

Sometime during November 1977, the band watched the musical Guys and Dolls in the TV lounge of a guesthouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the dialogue "Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have" from the film which inspired the song. The following day Shelley wrote the lyrics of the song, in a van outside a post office, with the music following soon after.[5]

Music and lyrics[edit][]

The music and lyrics, as well as the singing, belong to Pete Shelley.[4] 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), which "give [the song] a distinctly downbeat, edgy feel."[4] The minor chords and the D-major-to-B-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 adouble 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."[4]

Critical reception[edit][]

Critic Ned Raggett describes the song as a "deservedly well-known masterpiece."[6] 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?'"[4]

Cover versions[edit][]

  • A cover of the song was released as a charity tribute single to the late DJ John Peel on 21 November 2005. It featured artists including Roger Daltrey (The Who), The Datsuns, The Futureheads, David Gilmour(Pink Floyd), Peter Hook (New Order, Joy Division), Elton John, El Presidente, Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Pete Shelley and the Soledad Brothers. The single was supported by Peel's son, Tom Ravenscroft, and proceeds went to Amnesty International.
  • UK band Fine Young Cannibals had a no. 9 UK hit with a downbeat cover version, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1986 film Something Wild, which was later included on the band's album The Raw & the Cooked.[7]
  • The band Thursday did a cover of this song in 2005, featured on the soundtrack of Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.[8]
  • A cover by Pete Yorn appeared on the Shrek 2 soundtrack in 2004.[9]
  • Thea Gilmore performs a slow, acoustic version as the first track on her 2004 album "Loft Music".[10]
  • Punk rock band Billy Talent on the single Red Flag, in 2006.[11]
  • Nouvelle Vague did a cover on their 2006 album Bande à Part.[12] In 2012, this cover was used for a commercial for the Kia Cee'd car for British TV. The band is seen rehearsing in the vehicle en route to a concert.
  • A cover by the pop-rock band the Stiff Dylans appeared in the film and on the soundtrack album of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging in 2008.
  • Punk rock bands Social Unrest, Anti-Flag[13] and Banner Pilot all released covers of this song.
  • The indie rock band Noisettes released a cover version to celebrate Dr. Martens's 50th Anniversary, in April 2010.
  • Kim Wilde covered the song for her 2011 album Snapshots and it was released as a single on 24 February 2012. The b-side is an exclusive cover of "Spirit in the Sky".
  • Canadian punk rock band Pup performed a version of the song in July 2014 for The A.V. Club '​s A.V. Undercover series.[14]
  • In 2011, a cover was made by the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street for their winter season, with a jazzy feel, sung by Amanda Billing, who plays Sarah Potts. It fit with the storyline of her character being pregnant with her ex-husband TK Samuels' child and him having moved on with his fiancee.

Chart performance[edit][]

Buzzcocks version[edit][]

Chart (1978) Peak


Ireland (IRMA)[15] 14
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 12

Fine Young Cannibals version[edit][]

Chart (1986–1987) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report)[17] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[18] 28
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[19] 26
Germany (Media Control Charts)[20] 19
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[21] 35
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 34
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 23
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[24] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[25] 9
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play1 [26] 11
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales1 [26] 32


Amanda Billing version[edit][]

Chart (2011) Peak


New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[27] 24