Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady Review

Released 1979.  

BBC Review

...this captures the group at their fleeting best...

Daryl Easlea 2007

If ever a group needed a greatest hits collection, it was Buzzcocks. One of the most interesting acts to emerge from Manchester's fertile punk scene in the mid 70s, the group knocked out an immaculate run of highly charged, deeply confessional pop singles. At a time when hatred was prescribed as a universal topic, leader Pete Shelley's kitchen sink writing ruminated on love and openly paraded the personal.

After their stunning Spiral Scratch EP, original leader Howard Devoto departed in 1977, leaving Shelley with Lieutenant Steve Diggle to create these brief pop masterpieces. By the time the group had reached “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't’ve)” in September 1978, the formula was complete and the band became chart regulars. Released quickly after their third studio album, A Different Kind Of Tension, in 1979, Singles Going Steady collected their first eight United Artists singles, A-sides on the first side, with B-sides on the reverse. From the hits “Love You More”, “Promises”, “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” to the bleak “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” and the repetitive, mantra-like “Why Can’t I Touch It”, this captures the group at their fleeting best, as essential to the late 70s as the Sex Pistols or the Clash.

It was difficult to emulate the quality control established by this album, and during rehearsals for their fourth album, Buzzcocks split up. Although they were to reform in the late 80s and continue to the present day, they would never match this quality again. One of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time, Singles Going Steady is a towering achievement; an affectionate tribute to the smartness and sensibility of writing to order to fill a three-minute pop single.

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