Buzzcocks – Harmony In My Head

Happy Monday everyone! Everything that I’ve heard by them is loud, catchy, aggressive, and with a power pop hook. I listened to the Buzzcocks in the 80s with some friends that owned some imports. I hoped they would break in America but never did.

The Buzzcocks crossed pop with punk. The Go-Go’s have said they were a huge influence. Jane Wiedlin said: “our favorite band, the band that we always tried to emulate was the Buzzcocks, who had that great pop song done in a punky style.”

Grunge bands admired the Buzzcocks also. Pearl Jam  invited the band to open US shows for them in 2003, including the Buzzcocks’ first ever appearance at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Nirvana invited them to open dates on their last ever European tour, in early 1994.

Steve Diggle wrote this song and did the lead vocals on it. He said the “harmony” in the song is the sound of the crowd when they played.

To get the right sound for the song, Diggle smoked 20 cigarettes to get the gruff sound of the vocals. The song peaked at #32 in the UK charts in 1979. The song was just released as a single not an album.

They released 3 albums, 6 non-album singles, and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death of a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour with Diggle.

Steve Diggle: “I was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is a heavy book but it had a lot of cinematic imagery – so ‘Harmony’ wasn’t a linear story like pop songs are. The Arndale Centre had just been built and it gave me a real sense of alienation. I wanted to walk down the street and hear the percolation of the crowds – that was the ‘harmony.’ Life was never going to be sweet and nice and it’s not always doom and gloom. The ‘Harmony In My Head’ was the sound of the crowd. That’s how real life is.”

From Songfacts

When Buzzcocks played their first concert, Steve Diggle was their bassist, but founding frontman Howard Devoto’s departure prompted the band to reshuffle, with Pete Shelley becoming lead vocalist/guitarist and Diggle moving from bass to guitar and co-vocalist.

Diggle also had a few early co-writing credits and contributed chords and choruses to “Promises” shortly after Pete Shelley’s “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).” “Harmony In My Head,” which reached #32 in the UK, is probably Diggle’s best known song.

 Engineer Alan Winstanley recalled to Uncut: “‘Harmony’ is interesting as it’s the only one Steve Diggle sings – it doesn’t have that Pete Shelley sweetness – but when he comes in on the chorus it really changes it. Then off Steve goes again with his growly voice.”

Released as a standalone single on July 13, 1979, the song spent six weeks on the UK singles chart, peaking at #32.

Harmony In My Head

Whenever I’m in doubt about things I do
I listen to the high street wailing sounds in a queue
Go out for my walking sailing social news
Don’t let it get me down I’m long in the tooth

When I’m out in the open clattering shoppers around
Neon signs that take your eyes to town
Your thoughts are chosen your world is advertising now
And extravagance matters to worshipers of the pound

But it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

The tortured faces expression out aloud
And life’s little ironies seem so obvious now
Your cashed in cheques have placed the payments down
And there’s a line of buses all wait to take you out

But it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a

It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

Whenever I’m in doubt about things I do
I listen to the high street wailing sounds in a queue
I go out for my walking sailing social news
Don’t let it get me down I’m long in the tooth

‘Cause it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

In my head, in my head

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Buzzcocks – Harmony In My Head”

  1. Can never figure out why some bands cross over easily – into the US from the UK- and some never gain any traction. America missed out in this case with The Buzzcocks.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Speaking of names- calling yourself the Sex Pistols back then- wasn’t going to get you airplay either in the US… Off topic- sorry about your Dodgers- who are you rooting for in the series? I know you have no love for either team. ..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea…that is true about the Pistols.
        Ahhh…Hans with a full rested Max and a full rested Walker I really thought they had a good chance…Saturday morning when I heard about Max…I knew it would be an uphill battle. The Braves will get their hat handed to them. You talk about hating both…I really do. Probably the Astros is who I’ll go for…I already placed a 5 dollar bet with the owner against the Braves.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. you going to watch or sit it out? I probably mentioned before- when the braves and yankees played in the series- i did something i thought i’d never do- pulled for the Yankees!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. a bit rougher sound than what little else I’ve heard by them… pretty good. Like you say, they just didn’t translate over here at all (funny, I was just mentioning that sort of thing today in my blog on Cliff Richard) . I think most of us know the name Buzzcocks as well as Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley, but not the music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know the Grunge artists liked them that much…and I didn’t really connect the Go Go’s either.
      I think their name done them in over here.

      Like

      1. He is doing really well. I may have told you this already but he shot some of a short film that a Hallmark actor is producing.
        He brought a camera home and it’s one of the cameras they used on the Marvel films…he was over the moon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess so!…that’s great! Yes you told me he had a Hallmark project in the works…or that he had worked on a Hallmark project before. I have no doubt he was thrilled to get his hands on that camera. That’s really cool!…Terrible about the cinematographer that was working with Alec Baldwin…freak accident.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Bailey and I talked about that yesterday. I was thinking how did he shoot her? Why was she involved?Then it came to me… She was probably filming him shooting straight ahead is my guess. I haven’t read a lot about it.
        I’m not a huge fan of Baldwin but my heart goes out to him. She had kids and a husband… just terrible.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No…I’m not a big fan either, but I really liked him in 30 Rock and Glengarry Glen Ross and a few other things…he’s a good actor, but he’s a little off putting as a person, at least what I know about him. But yeah…it’s a terrible tragedy for everyone involved, especially her husband and children. Just awful.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The next one I will do is Why Can’t I Touch It.? Almost did it for today…love the bass in that one. They are so damn likable.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a day late and playing catch up again, but I’m glad this one didn’t get away from me. I’ve heard of the Buzzcocks but I don’t know that I ever actually heard their music. I would have enjoyed this back then.

    Liked by 1 person

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