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Howard Devoto (born Howard Trafford, 15 March 1952,Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England) is an English rock and roll singer-songwriter, who began his career as the frontman for the punk band Buzzcocks, but then left to form Magazine, one of the first post-punk bands. After Magazine, he went solo and, later, formed indie band Luxuria.


He was brought up in Moortown, Leeds,Nuneaton, Warwickshire and Yorkshire, and attended Leeds Grammar School, where he met and befriended future Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon. In 1972, he went to Bolton Institute of Technology (now the University of Bolton) to study psychology, and, later, humanities. During these college years, he met his future bandmates Pete Shelley and Ben Mandelson.


Inspired by the Sex Pistols, Devoto co-formed Buzzcocks with singer/guitarist Pete Shelley in 1975. He left Buzzcocks in February 1977 after only one record (the Spiral Scratch EP) and a small number of performances.


Devoto afterwards formed the influential, genre-defying Magazine in 1977.They released several critically acclaimed ground-breaking albums, which met with only moderate commercial success, as well as minor hits such as "Shot By Both Sides" and "A Song From Under the Floorboards". Magazine reformed for five dates in February 2009 and continue to record and play live.

Solo years:

After Magazine split in 1981 Devoto spent two years putting together a solo album with former Magazine keyboard player Dave Formula. Though reviews of Jerky Versions of the Dream was mixed, the single "Rainy Season" was consistently picked as a stand-out track.Jerky Versions of the Dream, which reached #57 in the UK Albums Chart in August 1983, was reissued in 2007 by Virgin/EMI, featuring several tracks of bonus material.


A collaboration (three songs) with Bernard Szajner on the Brute Reason LP was released on Island Records in 1983. This was followed by a rendering of Big Star's "Holocaust" for the loose collective This Mortal Coil. The album It'll End in Tears contained contributions from many of the 4AD label's best artists, Devoto's presence being somewhat atypical.

In 1997, Devoto wrote the lyrics to the Mansun track, 'Everyone Must Win', which appeared on the 'Closed For Business' EP. A year later, he collaborated again with the band, writing lyrics for and singing on 'Railings', a B-side for 'Being A Girl'.


One of his next projects was a 1988 collaboration with Liverpool multi-instrumentalist Noko. As Luxuria they released two albums and a music video for the single "Redneck".

Life after popular music:

For most of the 1990s, Devoto was little involved in music, earning his living by working for a photo agency.

In 2001, Devoto teamed up for the first time in twenty-five years with Buzzcocks Pete Shelley and released the much-anticipated Buzzkunst under the name ShelleyDevoto. Reviews were mixed.

In 2002, Devoto had a small part in the movie 24 Hour Party People, a film about Manchester's Factory Records. In his brief cameo appearance, Devoto appears as a janitor cleaning a men's toilet while actor Martin Hancock portrays Devoto having a tryst with the wife of promoter/journalist Tony Wilson. The real-life Devoto breaks the fourth wall by addressing the camera and stating in deadpan, "I definitely don't remember this happening".

In February 2009 Magazine reformed, with former Luxuria partner Noko replacing John McGeoch on guitar.

On 9 July 2009, Devoto was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton for his contribution to music.

Reunion with Buzzcocks:

In November 2011 it was announced he will be returning to the stage with the Buzzcocks for two special shows as part of the Buzzcocks "Back to Front" tour on the 25th and 26th of May 2012. These will take place at the O2 Apollo in Manchester and the O2 Academy in Brixton

Tributes, references and cover songs

A number of bands continue to be influenced by his work. Momus recorded the tribute song "The Most Important Man Alive" for the Bungalow Records compilation Suite 98 in 1988. Devoto has collaborated with the Chester band Mansun, appearing on their EP Being A Girl (Part One), and writing a song for the band's earlier EP Closed For Business. Mansun have also covered "Shot By Both Sides" live. Both Ministry and Peter Murphy have covered Magazine's "The Light Pours Out of Me", whilst Morrissey has covered Magazine's "A Song From Under The Floorboards". Radiohead and Jarvis Cocker have both covered "Shot By Both Sides".