30. The Buzzcocks – What Do I Get

I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?

I was a London kid and Punk felt like a London phenomenon. The Clash, The Damned and The Sex Pistols all came out of London. Then out of the North came The Buzzcocks with What Do I Get? They sounded unlike other Punk bands – they had fun with their songs and they wrote pretty melodies but they sang them at breakneck speed. Their music was more tuneful and less of the “noise” that my parents’ generation complained about.

This song amazes me. I used to think of it as part of a nostalgia kick but now I see my little kids love it too, so whatever it has going for it crosses the generations. The opening line plays and they run to the computer to watch the clip, even though it just shows four young guys playing in a white studio. They sing along to it, “What do I get? Whoa, oh oh, What do I get?” and keep singing it to themselves through the evening. In the last week it has become the number one kid song in the house.

Part of the attraction of the song is that you feel it could be you. Like most of the punk bands, they aren’t great musicians. The song is simple enough. The singing is nothing great. They even look like four dorks who can’t dance and don’t dress well. It might be that my kids are responding to this. These could be four teenagers who live down the road, playing in their garage. However, that would be missing the main point – Pete Shelley wrote fantastic songs. Like these:

Listen to them all! But this is my favourite.


From Singles Going Steady, their greatest hits album:



Next: 29. Fishbone – Sunless Saturday

Previous: 31. Kate Bush – Sat in your Lap


1 Response to “30. The Buzzcocks – What Do I Get”

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