- 20 Jul 22
As part of our 45th Birthday special – in which we celebrate the 45s that shaped our world – some familiar musical faces select their favourite single since the launch of Hot Press in 1977...
Therapy?'s Andy Cairns:
I was 12 approaching 13, and had just started to get curious about punk music, as there were a lot of punks around Belfast city centre. I was eager to check out the music made by the bands painted on their leather jackets.
This also coincided with a neighbour giving me a guitar left behind by a deceased relative, on which an older lad had taught me some rudimentary chords. The Sex Pistols and Clash seemed exciting and abrasive, but also very unrelatable. The coloured hair, defiant poses and strange accents were just as alien to me as watching Bowie and T.Rex on Top Of The Pops.
These people were from another planet, I was from a housing estate in Co. Antrim. When I first heard the Buzzcocks song, I was eating breakfast before school and my mother had the radio on. I froze, and at the end, took down the name of the song and band. It was energy and melancholy, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. It made me feel simultaneously happy and sad.
I went to my local record shop (Bert McCormack, Ballyclare) with pocket money and picked it up. Bert let me know that the album the single was from was being released on 22nd September, my birthday. I was skint, so on the walk home I stopped at McMahon’s Newsagents and signed up for a weekend job as a paperboy.
I played the single nonstop and tried to play along, but it didn’t sound right. My local six-string mentor then showed me minor chords. Sad chords. This is what got me into songwriting. Changing a note on a chord could make the bottom fall out of your world.
Seeing them on TOTP was another revelation: they looked like guys that could be in sixth year at my school. This was now my band. I’ve never got tired of hearing the song: I have the cover design from the 7” picture sleeve – a take on the Marcel Duchamp Fluttering Heart adapted by Malcom Garrett – tattooed on my upper right arm. I was truly bereft when main songwriter Pete Shelley died on 6th December 2018.
Long live Buzzcocks.
Read the full 'The Track That Changed My Life' feature in the special 45th Birthday issue of Hot Press – out now: