When Howard Devoto left the Buzzcocks in 1977 to found Magazine, it left full control of the creative direction the band in the hands of Pete Shelley. The Buzzcocks’ first full album, recorded without any Devoto involvement, was Love Bites, released on September 22, 1978. A couple of months later, on November 14, 1978, the Buzzcocks took to The Old Grey Whistle Test to play two of its standout tracks.
The appearance of the Buzzcocks on The Old Grey Whistle Test was something of an innovation for the show. Annie Nightingale, shown in this clip presenting the band, had already created history by becoming the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1; in 1978 Nightingale became a new presenter on the program, and she was responsible for steering the show away from the country, blues, and prog that had been its bread and butter and for integrating underground music, including punk, into the show’s rotation.
Not that the Buzzcocks were the first band with any punk/underground cred to appear on the show; they weren’t—preceding them in the calendar year of 1978 were Talking Heads, XTC, the Vibrators, Television, the aforementioned Magazine, and the Ramones; less than a month later X-Ray Spex would appear on the show.
The top-charting single off of Love Bites was, of course, “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t've),” but they don’t play that one on The Old Grey Whistle Test, opting instead to play the excellent “Sixteen Again” and “Nothing Left.”
“That’s all that’s on the menu and life’s a la carte, I don’t know…....”
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, Buzzcocks and Magazine in vintage punk doc ‘B’dum B’dum’ from 1978