13 Incredible Bands Similar To Buzzcocks

Since 1976, Buzzcocks showed the world what real punk rock music was with their raw energy and rebellious spirit, along with albums like Love Bites and Another Music in a Different Kitchen.

Their distinct sound carved a niche in music history that fans continue to love, so it’s no surprise that their influence has sparked a wave of bands echoing their style.

In this article, let’s dive into the vibrant world of punk rock to discover 13 incredible bands like Buzzcocks. If you’re ready for a punk rock journey, keep reading!

Buzzcocks by tatu43 (CC BY 2.0)

1. The Clash

Emerging from the streets of London in 1976, The Clash quickly established themselves as a powerhouse in the original wave of British punk rock. As one of the key players in this groundbreaking movement, their unique style and sound captivated audiences worldwide.

Known for their powerful lyrics that addressed political issues such as unemployment and racial inequality, The Clash stood apart from other bands at the time.

Their distinct rebellious spirit resonated within songs like “London Calling,”
“Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” which earned them mainstream success while remaining true to their punk roots.

2. Sex Pistols

Up next is a band considered one of the most influential in punk rock history: The Sex Pistols. Formed in London in 1975, their journey has been on and off, but their impact on the music industry is undeniable.

Heavily stylized in their image and music, media-savvy, and ambitious in their use of lyrics, the Sex Pistols became leaders of a new teenage movement at the time: punk. Their first single, “Anarchy in the U.K.,” served as both a call to arms and a state-of-the-nation address.

The Sex Pistols had a direct influence on punk rock bands such as the Buzzcocks, The Clash, Chelsea, and many more. They represented a break from the past, introducing a new way of performing rock and roll.

3. Ramones

One of the pioneers of American punk rock is The Ramones. This New York City band redefined music with their simple yet captivating three-chord songs, catchy tunes, and energized live performances.

Formed in 1974, the band created a stylistic prototype for punk rock with elements of aesthetic, violence, and pent-up energy that transformed rock music both sonically and ideologically.

Their debut album, Ramones, made it to numerous lists celebrating iconic punk records such as Rolling Stones40 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time (at #1).

In recognition of their significant contribution to music, the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

4. The Jam

Comprised of talented musicians Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, and Rick Buckler, The Jam began making waves in the British music scene in 1972.

In an era defined by iconic bands such as Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols at the forefront of the British punk movement, The Jam’s sound resonated with fans who appreciated their melodic hooks and thought-provoking lyrics inspired by real-life experiences.

Between 1977 and 1982, The Jam released an impressive array of music, including four #1 hits: “Going Underground,” “Start!” “Town Called Malice” and “Beat Surrender.”

Despite their success, they disbanded in 1982. The decision was led by frontman Paul Weller, who wanted to explore new musical directions, leading him to form the Style Council.

5. The Stranglers

Our next band, The Stranglers, emerged in the mid-1970s via the punk rock scene. Along with Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols, they were part of the British punk rock movement and were originally called Guildford Stranglers.

Over their career, they released 18 albums and an impressive 41 singles, many of which landed in the top 10 of the UK Singles chart. Their biggest hit was the 1982 single “Golden Brown.”

Now in their fourth decade, The Stranglers’ music has matured from crude, surly proto-punk to beautifully crafted pop songwriting. They are still going strong and active in creating music, with their latest release in 2021, an album called Dark Matters.

6. Joy Division

Up next, Joy Division was a band that emerged from the Manchester music scene in 1976. The band shared similarities with The Buzzcocks in terms of their music style.

The band’s discography includes two critically acclaimed albums: Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980). Despite the brevity of their career, Joy Division has exerted a wide-reaching influence and remains a touchstone for numerous rock bands.

Tragically, vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Ian Curtis committed suicide in May 1980, just before the band was due to embark on their first American tour. Following his death, the remaining members continued as New Order, achieving critical and commercial success.

7. The Damned

English band The Damned is one of the earliest and most influential punk rock bands, considered one of the founding members of British punk in 1976. Along with Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, and The Jam, they formed an essential part of the punk subculture that emerged during this time.

Their album Damned Damned Damned, released in 1977, is often cited as one of the best punk albums ever recorded. It remains a classic with its fast-paced guitar riffs, propulsive drumming, and snarling vocals by frontman Dave Vanian.

Over the years, the band’s lineup has changed multiple times, but The Damned continues to tour and release new music to this day while still maintaining its roots in punk rock culture.

8. The Undertones

Hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland, The Undertones was founded in 1975 and is often cited as one of Ireland’s best punk bands.

The Undertones drew influence from several notable era bands, including the Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, and Stiff Little Fingers.

Their debut single, “Teenage Kicks,” is considered a classic in the punk genre. This song, along with others like “Here Comes the Summer” and “You’ve Got My Number,” distinguished the band for their catchy tunes about teenage love and summertime.

In 1983, lead singer Feargal Sharkey left the band to pursue a solo career, which led to the band’s dissolution. However, The Undertones reformed in 1999, with Paul McLoone replacing Sharkey as the lead vocalist. Since then, they have performed continued to tours across various countries.

9. The Fall

British post-punk band The Fall has been around since the late 1970s and is often mentioned alongside the Buzzcocks as an influential punk rock band. The legendary band was formed in Manchester by singer Mark E. Smith.

One of their standout tracks was “Eat Y’Self Fitter,” which marked the beginning of what fans call the Brix Era, a period of relative commercial success and accessibility for The Fall throughout the Eighties. Despite this, the song is far from your typical pop tune.

Over their career, The Fall released 33 well-received albums, and they continued a sense of intensity and unpredictability that made them stand out until Smith’s passing at the age of 60 in January 2018.

10. Siouxsie And The Banshees

Among the most influential bands to emerge from the punk scene in Britain during the late 1970s was Siouxsie and the Banshees. Formed by lead vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bassist Steven Severin, their music became instrumental in shaping the sound that became known as gothic rock.

Throughout their career, they released several critically acclaimed hits, but they had their US breakthrough with the song “Peek-a-Boo,” which topped the Billboard Alternative Airplay Chart. Another notable hit is “Kiss Them for Me.”

The band’s line-up underwent several changes over their career but remained consistently led by Sioux and Severin until its dissolution in 1996. One notable member was John McGeoch, who had quit Buzzcocks to join the band as a guitarist.

11. Wire

Like The Buzzcocks, Wire is a British post-punk band that formed in London in 1976. They were part of the punk rock movement in the mid-70s and are known for their alternative, counterculture sound.

As pioneers of DIY ethics and underground culture, Wire was highly influential on later alternative bands like Sonic Youth and R.E.M. Many of their songs dealt with themes of nonconformity and subculture, which audiences seeking something different from mainstream pop music could relate to.

From their debut album, Pink Flag, in 1977, to their more recent albums, Silver/Lead, Mind Hive, and 10:20, Wire has consistently pushed the boundaries of rock music.

12. Stiff Little Fingers

Punk rock band Stiff Little Fingers, from Belfast, formed in 1977. They are often compared to bands like Buzzcocks, The Damned, and The Undertones due to similarities in their sound.

Stiff Little Fingers’ music reflects a rebellious spirit of youth culture against government repression during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the early ’80s.

Debuting with Inflammable Material in 1979, Stiff Little Fingers went on to release nice studio, seven compilation, and 18 live albums throughout their career.

Though they disbanded in 1982, Stiff Little Fingers came together again in 1987 and has since continued touring and releasing music for fans to enjoy.

13. X-Ray Spex

Formed in 1976, English punk rock band X-Ray Spex shared a lot of similarities with other bands like Buzzcocks, Siouxsie, and the Banshees. The band was known for their distinct sound, which often featured saxophone accompaniments, setting them apart from many other punk bands of the time.

The band’s debut single, “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” is widely regarded as a classic punk anthem. Their first album, Germfree Adolescents, released in 1978, is considered a definitive album of the punk movement.

Fronted by Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex is remembered for influencing generations of future Riot Grrrls and Afro punks. Today, their legacy is still being celebrated.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Buzzcocks

Exploring bands similar to Buzzcocks is a thrilling journey through the vibrant tapestry of punk and alternative music.

These bands, each with a distinctive sound and rebellious spirit, are a testament to the lasting impact and influence of the Buzzcocks’ musical legacy.

We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we did putting it together for you. But who have we left off? Let us know so we can add them here for you!

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Written by Dan Farrant
Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.