The world of punk and music in general is in shock at news of the death of BUZZCOCKS founder Pete Shelley.

The singer/guitarist died suddenly of a suspected heart attack on Thursday in Estonia where he was living.

Formed in 1976, the band fused punk speed and energy with seemingly effortless pop melodicism and astute lyrics spotlighting the swings and roundabouts of everyday life and relationships. In doing so they wielded a huge influence across punk worldwide, particularly in the US, over bands from Husker Du and Nirvana to Green Day and Blink 182.

Inspired by a review of the SEX PISTOLS in the NME, Shelley and Buzzcocks singer Howard Devoto travelled south from their home in Bolton to see the band, later arranging for them to play their seminal gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. Buzzcocks would go on to support the Pistols at their second Manchester gig before heading back to London to play the legendary 100 Club punk festival in September.

Releasing the four-track Spiral Scratch EP in January ’77, when Devoto left the band to form Magazine, Shelley moved to vocals, with the band signing to United Artists and releasing the single ‘Orgasm Addict’ in November of that year. This heralded an impressive run of chart success, with no fewer than seven Top 4o singles – including the No.12 hit ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ – and two Top 20 albums, Another Music In A Different Kitchen and Love Bites. Their singles would be collected in 1979 on the essential compilation Singles Going Steady.

After the band split in 1981, Shelley launched a solo career with the single ‘Homospaien’ and began to embrace electronic sounds, inspired by his love of Krautrock.

Buzzcocks returned in 1989, playing a showstopping comeback performance at the following year’s Reading Festival and releasing a new album Trade Test Transmissions in ’93. The band had continued to tour and record periodically since them, playing major shows worldwide, often to much larger audiences, such is the esteem with which they are held in the punk community. They released their most recent album The Way in 2014.

Remember him this way…

Buzzcocks on Facebook.

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  • Kevin Dobbs on

    Another legend gone but what a lasting impression pete made, god bless Mr Shelly and condolences to your family and close friends.

  • sharon jones on

    it was the soundtrack to my childhood very sad news saw them 4 times always brilliant live band and such a lovely person pete and digle

    RIP pete always in my heart


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