Buzzcocks: 10 Of The Best

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Tales of boredom, thwarted love and mid-life confusion from Manchester’s finest.

Boredom

This timeless punk statement from the band’s self-released 1977 debut EP _Spiral Scratch _features a two-note guitar solo and gloriously sarcastic lyrics of youthful disdain. It was produced by future Factory Records studio legend Martin Hannett.

Orgasm Addict

Banned by the BBC, the first major-label Buzzcocks single is a vintage blast of Shelley/Devoto provocation about the joys of wanking. The striking sleeve was designed by visual artist, Manchester muse and future Ludus singer Linder Sterling.

What Do I Get?

From 1977, the first in a glorious run of chart hits. Shelley’s infectious buzzsaw plea for _‘a lover like any other’ _allegedly reflected his unrequited feelings for Sterling, who was dating Howard Devoto at the time.

Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

Taken from second album_ Love Bites_, the band’s highest-charting and much-covered punk-pop classic sounds like another heartbroken Shelley confessional, but was actually inspired by a line in the Hollywood musical Guys And Dolls.

Everybody’s Happy Nowadays

This instantly infectious shot of amphetamine bubblegum angst rewinds Buzzcocks to their sarcastic punk-pop roots, as a sulky Shelley protests:_ ‘Life’s an illusion, love is a dream.’_

Why Can’t I Touch It?

Slower and heavier than most early Buzzcocks material, this brawny, six-minute beast from 1979 reflected Diggle’s more experimental, prog-leaning tastes. Eddie Vedder has covered the song live many times.

Harmony In My Head

Written and sung by Diggle, the most adventurous of the band’s Top 40 hits is a skull-pounding modernist montage of fragmentary street scenes inspired by James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness literary style, all wrapped in a fantastic swooping chorus.

Between Heaven And Hell

From 2006’s underrated eighth album Flat-Pack Philosophy. Diggle wrote and sings this portrait of midlife confusion: ‘Everything you thought you knew is different from before.’

It’s Not You

From the band’s latest album_ The Way_. Shelley revisits the signature lovesick speed-pop style of his early Buzzcocks singles, but with the emotional wallop of middle-aged despair, plus some gnarly, Nirvana-ish bass guitar action.

People Are Strange Machines

Diggle’s stand-out contribution to the new album is a muscular mix of combustible garage-rock riffs with snarly, syncopated, new wave-ish vocals. Blammo!