Harmony in My Head

Song Review by

Bassist turned guitarist, Steve Diggle gets his first and only self-penned Buzzcocks A-side single in the summer of 1979 just prior to release of the band's third studio album, A Different Kind of Tension. Along with the hypnotic Pete Shelley B-side, "Something's Gone Wrong Again," the record would reach number 32 on the U.K. singles chart. At first listen, the most immediately striking thing about "Harmony in My Head" is the drastic contrast of Steve Diggle's vocal style to that of the group's usual lead singer and main songwriter, Pete Shelley. Where Shelley has a high, childlike yowl, Steve Diggle embodies the polar opposite, employing a low throat-shredding growl. The track powers forward on a firm beat bolstered by tight buzzing guitars, ornamented with scaling riffs and a siren like a two-note hook that was also popular with fellow punk rockers the Clash. Diggle attacks his vocal with vehemence, his throaty words so harshly intoned that the lyrics struggle for comprehension, issued with a restless bark, "Whenever I been down about the things I do/I listen to the high street and the sound in the cue/I go out for a walk, you say it's always my mood/Don't let it get you down, I'm walking the tune." The vocal and overall mood lighten considerably in the chorus as Daggle and Shelley serenely harmonize the title line as if attempting to sooth the beast with beautiful music, before Diggle launches back into several partially decipherable verses. The band displays considerable power on "Harmony in My Head," even showing a touch of old-school hard rock influences coming into play, with crunching, dampened guitars building tension in the bridge. This is something Diggle would experiment with further on the Buzzcocks' next album, specifically "Sitting Round at Home" -- a track that would sit comfortably on most any ZZ Top record.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
A Different Kind of Tension 1979 Nettwerk America / Nettwerk 0:00
Singles Going Steady 1979 I.R.S. Records / Capitol 3:07
No Image 1987 Weird System 3:05
Product 1989 EMI 3:09
Operators Manual 1991 I.R.S. Records 3:07
No Image 1992 I.R.S. Records 0:00
5 Album Set 1994 Parlophone / Warner Music 3:17
The BBC Sessions 1998 EMI Music Distribution 2:56
I Don't Mind the Buzzcocks 1999 EMI Music Distribution 3:08
Ever Fallen in Love?: Buzzcocks Finest [EMI Gold] 2002 EMI Music Distribution 3:08
Finest: Ever Fallen In Love 2003 EMI Digital / Parlophone 3:08
Inventory 2003 Capitol / EMI Records / EMI 3:09
The Complete Singles Anthology 2004 EMI Music Distribution 3:07
Gary Crowley's Punk Rock Juke Box 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:06
A Different Compilation 2011 Cooking Vinyl 3:05