Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Buzzcocks
Singles Going Steady

Released 1979 on United Artists/Liberty and also I.R.S.
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 17/12/2000ce

One of the most surprising “Heroes of Punk” (if there even is such a category) is Pete Shelley. He’s as Punk as John
Lydon/Rotten, The Clash, The Ramones, Patti Smith, The M.C.5, The Stooges, any skinheaded, “Oi!” yellin’ yob and any other Punk artist you can think of. He’s as Punk as you giving your evil boss the middle finger and quitting your day job to pursue your heart’s desire. I know many people who rate this “Singles Collection” (uh-oh the dreaded “Greatest Hits” package word again) higher than any Punk disc ever made. And what are the most pressing dilemmas Mr. Shelley and Co. find themselves in on Singles Going Steady? Is it a political melodrama railing against the perpetual injustices of the world
(ala The Clash)? Is it a long ride into the heart o' darkness
(ala Joy Division)?

Well no it’s Pete complaining about his love life actually. The Buzzcocks are one of the most beloved Punk acts ever and Singles Going Steady makes their case the best. The ‘Cocks rush rock is one of the most powerful, downright crushing sounds in music I’ve ever heard in my life. And during most of the time on Steady, Pete just wants, yearns, begs and pleads to be loved by the girlfriends in his life while his fellow Buzzcocks howl behind him. Incredible, mature, funny and sympathetic at the same time.

“What Do I Get?”, “Promises”, “Ever Fallen In Love?”, “Oh Shit!”, “Just Lust”, “Lipstick” are classic lover’s angst rock nobody has been able to match before, during or since their recordings. They occassionaly detour into experiments like “Why Can’t I Touch It?”
(basically their take on Can’s “Yoo Doo Right”) but this
rollercoaster ride through Pete’s diary is one of the best
musical thrills I think anybody can have. I.R.S. released an official "Best Of" for The Buzzcocks called Operator's Manual but it'll never replace the magic of this disc.

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