Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What Is Legal Is Just What's Real

Magazine : Shot By Both Sides

On January 20, 1978, Magazine released their hard charging debut single, "Shot By Both Sides".  A UK#41 hit, the song was written with Pete Shelley when Howard DeVoto was still with The Buzzcocks. The song shares a guitar riff with The Buzzcocks' "Lipstick". The song appeared in year end Top 10 lists in NME, Sounds, Mirror and in John Peel's "Festive Fifity". DeVoto told John Robb, author of Punk Rock, that the song was inspired by a political argument DeVoto had with a girlfriend.

Pete showed me ‘Shot By Both Sides’ at Lower Broughton Road - the chords and guitar line that gave it the basic feel. ‘Lipstick’ was Pete’s version of it later on in the Buzzcocks - whether he had all lyrics at the time, I don’t know. I’m sure he had the vocal melody. I was given the guitar and played the chords whilst he played the lead line. I really liked it and he said, ‘You can have that.’ It was definitely mine to take away and do something with - all I kept was the guitar phrase. I wrote the rest of the song round that. I was slightly miffed when the Buzzcocks did ‘Lipstick’. [laughs] Pete’s version is much more melodic. He tucked that guitar riff more behind the song than I did.

I felt a lot about that song when we recorded it. I know when I recorded the vocals it felt like one of the biggest moments of my life. I almost wanted to keep the bit of carpet I was stood on! Lyrically, political commitment was something I struggled with for many years - I always had the tendency to try and argue the other case, and I guess I was trying to sing about what that felt like. Feeling that, you don’t have a lot of certainty about anything. It’s not always an easy place to be.

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