Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rocktober Deep Cut Artist #12: The Buzzcocks

For the criteria for bands and artists to be considered "deep cut artists," click here.

Band or artist:  The Buzzcocks
Where from:  England
Years active:  1976-1981, 1989-present
Number of studio albums:  9
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100:  N/A
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200:  N/A

The Buzzcocks are an influential British punk band that rose to fame in the UK in the late '70s, with 6 Top 40 hits on the UK pop charts between 1978 and 1979.  The band formed in 1976, as Britain's nascent punk movement was taking flight.  In tune with punk's DIY ethos, the band was one of the first punk bands to create its own independent record label, on which they put out their first EP, before being signed by United Artists in 1977.  Between 1978 and 1979, the Buzzcocks put out three studio albums on UA, Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978), Love Bites (1978), and A Different Kind of Tension (1979).

In the U.S., however, the first album released was a compilation of non-album singles (with a couple album track sprinkled in) called Singles Going Steady in 1979, right around the time A Different Kind of Tension was released in the UK.  Singles Going Steady became an underground hit in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the band then broke up soon thereafter, so any momentum they may have been able to build in the States was quashed.  Even though the band had broken up, young musicians (both here and in the UK) took notice of the Buzzcocks.

The band reunited in 1989 and began putting out more albums beginning in 1993 (and put out their most recent studio album in 2014).  In 1994, Nirvana used the Buzzcocks as their opening band on Nirvana's final tour.  Likewise, Pearl Jam brought the band along as an opener in 2003.

I have Singles Going Steady, and it really is a great compilation of punk and pop punk songs.  The Buzzcocks had kind of a tongue-in-cheek attitude on a lot of their songs, but their songs are all good and, unlike some of their punk contemporaries, usually pretty catchy.  I can hear the Buzzcocks' influence in the Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, The Libertines, and The Strokes, among other more modern bands.

The song I'm choosing is "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," which rose to #29 on the UK pop charts in 1979.  Here is a video of the band playing the song on Top of the Pops in 1979 (and clearly lip synching).

No comments: