Buzzcocks – What Do I Get

These guys blended punk and pop about as well as anyone. Once again I had a friend with their import records in the eighties. That was the only way I could hear them.

This was their first top 40 hit in the UK and it peaked at #37 way back in 1977. The B-side was a song called “Oh Shit.” I wish they would have hit in America but their name probably didn’t help them over here.

They chose the name Buzzcocks after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning friend. They were formed in 1976 by Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto after seeing the Sex Pistols. They were able to blend punk’s spirit and sound with pop.

They were invited by Nirvana to open select dates on the grunge outfit’s last ever European tour, in early 1994. Steve Diggle told about a  memory he has of Kurt Cobain: “Doing two grams of coke is one of my famous stories with him.” They also opened up for Pearl Jam in 2003.

They released 3 albums 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 from a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour.

Steve Diggle: “Of course we partied and did drugs and had good times with the girls. Who wouldn’t? Certain things about being in a band and traveling about, people invite you to parties and clubs. Initially, it wasn’t supposed to be like that. But I realized you can’t break America, America breaks you.”

 Jane Wiedlin: 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.”

Billy Joe Armstrong: “Buzzcocks pretty much invented a style that would influence multiple generations of lonesome hearts and weirdos”

What Do I Get

I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?
I only want a friend who will stay to the end, what do I get?

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I’m in distress, I need a caress, what do I get?
I’m not on the make, I just need a break, what do I get?

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I only get sleepless nights
Alone here in my half-empty bed
For you things, seem to turn out right
I wish they’d only happen to me instead

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

Ah

I only get sleepless nights
Alone here in my half-empty bed
For you, things seem to turn out right
I wish they’d only happen to me instead

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?
I only want a friend who will love to the end, what do I get?

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

Well, let me tell you now
(What do I get?)
(What do I get?) No love
(What do I get?) No sleep at nights
(What do I get?) Nothing that’s nice
(What do I get?) Nothing at all, at all, at all, at all
At all, at all, at all ’cause I don’t get you

Buzzcocks – Why Can’t I Touch It

This song is tight and very likable right off the bat. The band was punk but with a pop sensibility…a great combination.

The song didn’t appear on a studio album….it was the B side to Everybody’s Happy Nowadays. The single peaked at #29 in the UK in 1979. This is too good to be a B side…the song has been included on movie soundtracks and The Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series video game. It also was featured on  Entourage in 2009.

The Buzzcocks formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.  They chose the name Buzzcocks after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning friend.

Why Can’t I Touch It was written by Steve Diggle, Steve Garvey, John Maher, and Pete Shelley.

Why Can’t I Touch It

Well, it seems so real I can see it
And it seems so real I can feel it
And it seems so real I can taste it
And it seems so real I can hear it

So why can’t I touch it?
So why can’t I touch it?

But then it looks so real I can see it
And it feels so real I can feel it
And it tastes so real I can taste it
And it sounds so real I can hear it

So why can’t I touch it?
So why can’t I touch it?

Then it looks so real I can feel it
And it feels so real I can taste it
And it tastes so real I can hear it
And it sounds so real I can see it

So why can’t I touch it?
So why can’t I touch it?

Now, it is so real I can see it
And it is so real I can feel it
And it is so real I can hear it
And it is so real I can be it

So why can’t I touch it?
So why can’t I touch it?

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