“Orgasm Addict”

BUZZCOCKS – “Orgasm Addict” / “What Ever Happened To?” (United Artists UP 36316) November 1977

Buzzcocks “Orgasm Addict” – I sympathise with lyricist Howard Devoto’s decision to leave this group because no-one could hear his words. he wrote this song, and the words are inaudible beyond the title refrain, which, considering its inanity, may or may not be a good thing.

Whatever, the Buzzcocks seem to have arrived on United Artists, who seem to think they did something right when they put The stranglers in T.W. studios with martin Rushent and hope to repeat the formula here.

Not great, not much more than mediocre, but compulsive and frantic enough. (NME, 12/11/77)

After their appearance on The Clash’s ‘White Riot’ tour, Buzzcocks were courted by all the majors. Andrew Lauder’s United Artists imprint won out. sessions began in late July 1977 at Indigo studios in Manchester, though the spumatic single version of ‘Orgasm Addict’ wasn’t nailed until September, when Martin Rushent recorded the band at T.W. Studios, Fulham.

The song – a joyous paean to masterbation written in the summer of ’76 – was primarily Pete Shelley’s, though Howard Devoto penned most of the verses, the “woman who put the robins on the Christmas cake” referring to a job he’d had at a bakery.

Its wonderfully smutty subject matter made it a brave but commercially suicidal release; its opening couplet “You tried it only once and found it alright for kicks,
Now you’ve found out that it’s a habit that sticks.”
is simply genius. (Mojo)

Sorry, we’re completely unshockable by now and that’s about the only thing this single could have going for it. As a song it stinks, it has only one line to hold up the entire effort.

The singer sounds less like he’s having an orgasm and more like he has a bad attack of asthma. (Record Mirror, 05/11/77)

Leave a Reply