THE SEX Pistols and The Clash may get all the glory, The Damned will always have released the first British punk album, but Manchester's Buzzcocks might just have cast a larger, and more longer lasting influence on music.
The term 'indie music', indeed the entire independent ethos- releasing music on an independent label with the concerns being artistically, not comercially driven - stem from actions taken by the Buzzcocks in 1977. After seeing the Sex Pistols play Manchester, the band - Pete Shelly, Steve Diggle, Howard Devoto, and John Maher - recorded their debut EP Spiral Scratch, and released it on their own New Hormones label.
This move was inspirational for many contemporary and later musicians, as it demonstrated how bands did not need large record companies to get their music out to the public; it also inspired others around Britain to start independent labels in the 1980s, leading to the creation of indie music in its guises as both artistic approach and distribution/publishing model - things taken for granted by musicians and music fans today.
It was also the nascent Buzzcocks who encouraged the Sex Pistols to play that Manchester show, organising the gig for them. That show, in late 1976, was vital in helping to spread punk beyond London and bring the new style of music to wider attention. Among those at that concert were future members of Joy Division and The Smiths.
The Buzzcocks were not just culturally influential, but throughout the late 1970s wrote some of the era's finest punk singles, songs that brimmed with clever melodies and catchy choruses, and in their sound, feel, and style, paved the way for the melodic, pop, side of later indie music.
Their most famous song is the now classic, 'Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've )', written by Shelly, while 'I Don't Mind', 'What Do I Get?', and 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays', also penned by Shelly, being also highly regarded. Their songs have been covered by Katy Goodman, Nouvelle Vague, Carter USM, and Therapy?, while Kurt Cobain was also an admirer of the band.
The band initially called it a day in the early 1980s, but reformed in the 1990s. The current line-up features original members Pete Shelly and Steve Diggle, along with bassist Chris Remington and drummer Danny Farrant.
The Buzzcocks 40th Anniversary Tour comes to Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday November 3 at 8pm. Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.