1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

The Buzzcocks, Founders of Pop Punk


Photo (c) Heather McDonald


Manchester England, 1975

Original Lineup:

Pete Shelley - guitar
Howard Devoto - vocals
Steve Diggle - bass
John Maher - drums

Current Lineup:

Pete Shelley - guitar, vocals
Steve Diggle - guitar, vocals
Tony Barber - bass
Danny Farrant - drums

Founding Pop Punk:

The first punk bands to come out of Manchester, Buzzcocks formed in early 1975 after witnessing a Sex Pistols performance in London. Shelley and Devoto brought the Pistols to come play in Manchester, in June 1976. Buzzcocks intended to open for the Pistols, but couldn’t finalize a lineup in time. They did eventually open for the Pistols, when they returned to Manchester a month later.

Their style was fast and frantic, yet they have maintained a bit of pop influence as well. It's these pop overtones that lead them to be a primary influence of today's pop punk bands, most notably Green Day.

Founding the DIY Movement:

At the end of 1976, the group joined the Sex Pistols on their Anarchy Tour. After the tour was completed, the band recorded their debut EP, Spiral Scratch. Released on New Hormones, the band's own label, it was the first do-it-yourself, independently released record of the punk era. Shortly after the release of the EP, Devoto quit the group and eventually went on to form Magazine.

Perfecting The Pop Punk Sound:

Following Devoto's departure, Pete Shelley assumed the role as lead vocalist, Steve Diggle moved to guitar, and Garth Smith became the band's bassist. This solidified the Buzzcocks' sound. In August of 1977, they had signed with United Artists Records.

The Shelley/Diggle lineup heralded the golden era for the Buzzcocks. Although other members would come and go, Shelley and Diggle produced some of the Buzzcocks' biggest hits in this era, including their most well-known tracks, "What Do I Get?" and "Ever Fallen In Love?"

Buzzcocks Today:

After a breakup in 1981, the Buzzcocks pursued various solo projects, only to reform in 1989. The latest incarnation is still going strong, recording albums and touring. Their latest album, flat-pack philosophy, was released in March of 2006, and the band toured extensively supporting it, going on to launch another subsequent 30th anniversary tour.

Essential Album:

Singles Going Steady

Like any band with a long history and a pop sensibility, the best way to grasp the hooks of the Buzzcocks is through their singles compilations. Singles Going Steady, released in 1979, captures much of the Buzzcocks' classic sound, including such favorites as "Orgasm Addict", "What Do I Get", and "Ever Fallen In Love?" It's a great starting point to get a feel for the Buzzcocks' sound.


Another Music in a Different Kitchen
Love Bites (1978)
A Different Kind of Tension (1979)
Singles Going Steady (1979)
Trade Test Transmissions (1993)
All Set (1996)
Modern (1999)
Time's Up (2000)
Buzzcocks (2003)
flat-pack philosophy (2006)
  1. About.com
  2. Entertainment
  3. Punk Music
  4. Artists A-H
  5. Buzzcocks
  6. The Buzzcocks, Pop Punk Pioneers

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.