A1, B1: recorded at T.W. Studios, Fulham; mixed at Advision, London A2, B2, A3, B3, A5, B5, A6, B6: recorded and mixed at Olympic Studios, Barnes A4, B4: recorded at EMI Abbey Road Studios, London; mixed at Advision, London A7, B7: recorded and mixed at Strawberry Studios, Stockport A8, B8: recorded at Eden Studios, London; mixed at Marquee Studios, London
Despite being comparatively incisive and influential, Pete Shelley and his cohorts failed to produce a cohesive artistic statement on the same level of "London Calling" or "Never Mind the Bollocks", both of which are still held in high regard as landmark albums in British music history. It certainly didn't help matters that Shelley was perceived to have effectively jumped on the punk bandwagon as a fan of the music, not a connection to its ethos. After all, his beginnings were far rosier than any of his peers and he did not take an anti-establishment stance, which may have contributed to many questioning his validity as a punk, especially when he rejected the inept, sneering and loutish personal image and performance style of the movement's pioneering frontman Johnny Rotten. Clearly, Shelley was a genuine musician and not at all politically-minded. He commenced his career playing guitar in heavy metal bands before enrolling at Bolton Institute of Technology, joining an electronic music society and befriending fellow Velvet Underground and Stooges enthusiast Howard Devoto. For a time, the two, augmented by a drummer, primitively covered proto-punk songs before attending an early Sex Pistols show. It was an inspirational experience that prompted them to form the Buzzcocks with the explicit intention of transposing the punk scene down in London all the way up to Manchester. Only after recruiting a permanent rhythm section, playing a smattering of gigs and opening for the Sex Pistols did they eventually realize their ambition, and soon enough, Manchester became Britain's second punk rock capital. And then Devoto abruptly departed, enabling Shelley to take the band in a wickedly humorous, infinitely more melodic, pop-oriented direction, though still playing with the full-throttle energy of punk.
Regretfully, the Buzzcocks would not accomplish a widely-acknowledged punk masterpiece until assembling a compilation of singles and their associated B-sides. "Singles Going Steady", released in 1979, coincided with the band's first American tour and was designed to generate sales. And by gathering together individual A-sides and B-sides, only two of which were duplicates, Buzzcocks inadvertently effected an incredibly influential template that rendered the singles collection more of an expertly compiled essential item than a supplementary cash-grab. "Singles Going Steady" is far too valuable to be considered a mere compendium of 7''s enhanced by the additional presence of some lesser-heard gems. For all intents and purposes, it is an album in its own right, and a classic one at that. In its original 16-track configuration, "Singles Going Steady" is populated with enduring unadulterated punk anthems - "Ever Fallen in Love," "What Do I Get?" "Autonomy," "Promises," - slightly more serious and cynical numbers - "Harmony in My Head," "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," "Why Can't I Touch It?," - and apparent jokey throwaways - "Orgasm Addict," "Oh Shit!," "Noise Annoys". In other words, career highlights one and all. As far as punk-centric singles collection go, Buzzcocks' unintended seminal (and most consistent) album may just be of principal rank, cogently and concisely showcasing the band's speciality: melding elements of new wave, pop and krautrock onto the hard-edged, fast-paced punk rock structure.
I Have this on HMV import - this is a top quality pressing very bright and clean sound with minimal surface noise even after all these years! The only criticism I have is some of the tracks sound a bit thin and lacking in bass and mid range IMHO