One of the main names in British punk rock, Buzzcocks was formed in 1976 in Manchester after friends Pete Shelley (vocals/guitar) and Howard Devoto (vocals) attended a Sex Pistols concert. In 1977, the group released their first record, the Spiral Scratch EP, which was the first punk record released independently (without record label support). Spiral Scratch was also the third release by a British punk band. Previously, only the singles New Rose (The Damned) and Anarchy in the U.K. (Sex Pistols) had been released. After this release, Howard Devoto left the band and Shelley became the lead singer.

With Pete Shelley (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Steve Diggle (guitar, vocals), Steve Garvey (bass) and John Maher (drums), Buzzcocks released the albums Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978), Love Bites (1978) and A Different Kind of Tension (1979).

The band disbanded in 1981. However, it returned in 1989. From that time on, the group went through several reformulations, but always counting on Shelley and Diggle in its formation. Between 1990 and 1991, drummer Mike Joyce (ex-Smiths) figured as a member of the band.

Other albums released by the Buzzcocks were Trade Test Transmissions (1993), All Set (1996), Modern (1999), Buzzcocks (2003), Flat-Pack Philosophy (2006) and The Way (2014).

Pete Shelley passed away on December 6, 2018, aged 63. Steve Diggle continued with the group, which in 2022 released Sonics in the Soul, their tenth studio album.