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12 Dec 2018 9:10
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  •   Home > News > International

    Pete Shelley, Buzzcocks lead singer, dies aged 63

    The voice behind punk rock classic Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) and 1980s new wave hit Homosapien has died of a suspected heart attack, his management confirms.

    Buzzcocks lead singer and songwriter Pete Shelley, whose work was integral to the birth of punk rock and influenced later generations of alternative artists, has died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 63.

    The band's Twitter account confirmed the news in a post describing Shelley as "one of the UK's most influential and prolific songwriters".

    "Pete's music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades, and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world," it said.

    The singer's management told the BBC Shelley died in Estonia, where he had been living.

    Shelley co-founded Buzzcocks in 1976 with singer-songwriter Howard Devoto, who later left the band to leave Shelley as its vocalist and songwriter.

    The band, which recorded nine studio albums from 1978 to 2014, was best known for its late 70s punk classic Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've), as well as the singles Orgasm Addict and What Do I Get?

    Buzzcocks emerged from the late-1970s punk scene in the UK alongside contemporaries the Sex Pistols.

    In an interview with Double Jay's Chris Winter in the 1970s, Shelley talked about the trend in that scene — documented in films like 24 Hour Party People — of the audience throwing objects and spitting on the bands during their sets.

    "People thought if we go along and see it, then we have to throw things as well," he said.

    "Everyone was taken the wrong way around … a few bands started up expecting people to throw things and even encouraging them.

    "It got a bit out of hand for a while."

    But where the Sex Pistols had an angry, political edge, Buzzcocks were cheekier, with polished three-minute songs about teenage romance like 16 Again that featured strong melodies and harmonies.

    It was an approach that would influence many indie rock bands through later decades, including Hüsker Dü and Nirvana.

    Shelley achieved Australian chart success as a solo artist in 1981 when his new wave, synth-pop solo single Homosapien reached number four on the Australian charts.

    The song was banned by the BBC for its references to gay sex.

    REM's Mike Mills, Everything but the Girl's Tracey Thorn and Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake acknowledged Shelley's influence and importance to generations of artists:


    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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