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Boy About Town Number 34: What Do I Get?


Chapter by Chapter excerpts from Boy About Town: A Memoir, published in paperback by Windmill Books, August 14.

‘What do I Get?’ was the Buzzcocks’ take on the Ramones’ chainsaw guitar sound, yet it was as much pop as punk anthem. It embraced the subject of love even as the singer, Pete Shelley, complained at not getting any. It had a fabulous hook for the verse, a magical chorus (or a twice-repeated middle eight, depending how you viewed these things), and a guitar solo that, like ‘Police and Thieves’, was simplicity itself. It then provided a fresh vocal refrain for the finale, one that ended on a harmony, an extended ‘ooooh’ at the end of the word ‘you’ that would have made Abba shimmer with pride. That harmony faded into the distance just five seconds short of three minutes, which, for those who understood the importance of such things, rendered ‘What Do I Get?’ the perfect pop song.

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