As mentioned last week, the release of the third LP was always going to be crucial in terms of what happened next for Buzzcocks.
But before then, the Spiral Scratch EP was given a re-release and climbed into the Top 40 in August 1979. A few weeks later a new 45 was released to precede the new LP. It was a single now regarded with the benefit of hindsight as one of their finest but which on release was a total flop.
This must have been hard to take. A single containing everything that had brought the band to the fore wasn’t playlisted by Radio 1, which in those days was basically a death sentence.
Unperturbed, the band announced a major UK tour to promote the new LP which they called A Different Kind Of Tension which, although it could be thought of as a swipe at their critics, was in fact the name of one of the new songs.
It was 1979 that I started going to gigs and I got myself a ticket for Buzzcocks at the Glasgow Apollo – looking it up now I can see the gig was on Friday 5 October. I got along early, as has always been my practice, to catch the support act. This lot had been getting a great deal of coverage in the music press.
It was Joy Division.
The intensity and power of their set, which to be honest wasn’t universally enjoyed as there were a lot of slow songs which wasn’t quite what the audience were there for. But their front man really made a huge impression. The fact that Pete Shelley took to the stage a short while later and opened with the words ‘excuse me while I put out my ciggy’ instead of blasting into a great hit from days of old showed that he knew the game was up and new bands were about to become the media darlings.
The album did hit the top 30 but no other single was lifted from it and released in the UK.
mp3 : Buzzcocks – You Say You Don’t Love Me
mp3 : Buzzcocks – Reason D’Etre
Decent enough old-fashioned b-side too.