They are regarded as an important influence on the Manchester music scene, the independent record label movement, punk rock, power pop, pop punk and indie rock. They achieved commercial success with singles that fused pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy. These singles were collected on Singles Going Steady, described by critic Ned Raggettas a "punk masterpiece". The widely covered "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" remains one of their best-known songs.
The name "Buzzcocks" was chosen by Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley after reading the headline "it's the buzz, cocks!" in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The "buzz" is the excitement of playing on stage; "cock" is Manchester slang meaning "mate" (as in friend/buddy). They thought it captured the excitement of the Sex Pistolsand nascent punk scene.