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Buzzcocks – Spiral Scratch EP

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jan 30th, 2018. Artwork published in
January 1977
Cover photography by Richard Boon
Source: John Keogh. License: CC BY-NC.

Cover photography by Richard Boon

Released on 29 January 1977, Spiral Scratch was the debut EP by Manchester band Buzzcocks, and the first punk record to be self-released. From Wikipedia:

Simon Reynolds, in his book Rip It Up and Start Again, states that some consider Spiral Scratch to be a more important record than the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.”, because whereas the Sex Pistols’ single showed that anyone could be in a rock band (a novel idea at the time), Spiral Scratch proved that anyone could release a record, without needing an established record label, of which there were very few in 1977.

Unlike the Sex Pistols’ artwork with the ostentatious DIY ransom note style, the Buzzcocks’ cover typography is remarkably straightforward, featuring two mainstays of corporate visual communication of the 1970s, Eurostile and Univers, arranged tidily. The all-lowercase spelling is about the only trait that can regarded as non-standard. The revolution is in the means of production and distribution, not in the form.

Buzzcocks – Spiral Scratch EP 2
Source: Klaus Hiltscher. License: All Rights Reserved.


  • Eurostile
  • Univers



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1 Comment on “Buzzcocks – Spiral Scratch EP”

  1. Somebody’s just 'liked’ my latest contribution who has made a contribution themselves under Eurostyle, which mae me think, “haven’t I spotted The Buzzcocks’ 'Spiral Scratch’ somewhere in the Eurostyle category?” and I had.

    Thanks for this contribution, Florian, which brings back memories of my older brother having this record. Yes, it is a classic sleeve and a memorable one. I think I might take issue with that description of 'Punk’, though. I have The Buzzcocks more down as 'New Wave’.

    Incidentally, I went to see The Buzzcocks at the Assembly Rooms in Derby in October 1979 – one of the first gigs I’d have attended in my life, aged just eighteen at the time – with a support act that would, tragically, attain higher profile on the death of its lead singer, Ian Curtis, Joy Division.

    Oh and finally, it’s superb to be able to date the release of 'Spiral Scratch’ to Valérie Čižmárová's 25th Birthday. I think I’ll remember that date for ever now!

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