Remember 1977? I do! Manchester was a hotbed of bottled musical fervour. There was a distinct atmosphere of excitement in the air as bands rose and died. Punk took over and shook the rafters, the oldies looked shocked and who knew where it was all going to end?
And at this time, inspired by the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks flared on the radar, initially through a John Peel session on Radio 1, soon followed by their first 4-track EP. Howard Devoto left to form Magazine (whom I saw at the Hop Farm early in July), leaving Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle to blast a furrow in the music biz. They did so through a more melodic route than the Pistols and other true punk bands, but stayed true to their principles and kept a distinctive voice with songs like Ever Fallen In Love, Promises and What Do I Get?
More than that, they achieved a legendary status in their own right. The following courtesy of Wikipedia:
TV show title
Buzzcocks’ name was combined with the title of the Sex Pistols’ album Never Mind the Bollocks to create the title of the long-running UK comedy panel game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Diggle claimed in his autobiography that he and Shelley had only granted the BBC use of their name under the impression that it would be a one-off, probably unsuccessful pilot, and that they are now mildly disgruntled that the name is more readily associated in Britain with the TV series than with their band. Shelley himself appeared on the programme in 2000, where host Mark Lamarr introduced Shelley by saying without the Buzzcocks “there’d be no Smiths or Radiohead, and this show would be called Never Mind Joan Armatrading!”
And as Manchester bands go, their endurance is impressive. As with Devoto, Shelley and co are still performing in 2011, and avoiding the obvious pitfalls of sounding like their own tribute band and more particularly a pale mockery of themselves. At Greenwich, supporting the Pogues, the Buzzcocks launched into a version of Boredom, followed rapidly by Fast Cars. Thereafter, for over an hour the pace never slackened – no pointless and pompous spiel, just jagged music from the rocky end of Britpop.