Singer with in­flu­en­tial punk band Buz­zcocks

Chicago Sun-Times - - OBITUARIES -

LON­DON — Pete Shel­ley, the singer­song­writer and co-founder of the punk band Buz­zcocks, has died at age 63.

On Thurs­day, the band con­firmed “with great sad­ness” his death and called him “one of the U.K.’s most in­flu­en­tial and pro­lific song­writ­ers” in a tweet. It did not elab­o­rate on the de­tails of Mr. Shel­ley’s death but said that more in­for­ma­tion would be re­leased later.

Buz­zcocks were part of the punk rev­o­lu­tion that be­gan in Eng­land in the mid-1970s and also fea­tured such groups as the Sex Pis­tols and the Clash. Like their con­tem­po­raries, Buz­zcocks scorned what they con­sid­ered the pre­ten­sions and bloated style of main­stream groups and turned out brief, stripped-down songs, per­formed at manic speed.

Their sin­gles in­cluded “Ever Fallen in Love (With Some­one You Shouldn’t’ve),” the ex­plicit “Or­gasm Ad­dict” and “What Do I Get?” Their en­ergy and in­ten­sity were wor­thy of punk, but they also had a melodic streak, with the song “Ev­ery­body’s Happy Nowa­days” sound­ing at times like a punk ver­sion of the Beach Boys.

On Thurs­day, Mike Mills of R.E.M. tweeted: “Damn. Pete Shel­ley gone. The Buz­zcocks were and are a fa­vorite of mine, and I was for­tu­nate to be able to hang with Pete a few times and tell him so.”

Mr. Shel­ley, whose real name was Peter Camp­bell McNeish, was born in the English town of Leigh in 1955. He founded Buz­zcocks with Howard Devoto af­ter they met at what is now the Univer­sity of Bolton. The band de­buted in 1976 in Manch­ester, open­ing for the Sex Pis­tols. Devoto left in 1977, and Mr. Shel­ley took over as lead singer.

Buz­zcocks broke up in the early 1980s but reunited in the late ’80s and con­tin­ued to per­form and record over the past three decades.

Trib­utes poured in from around the mu­sic world.

Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKa­gan tweeted: “As a life­long @Buz­zcocks fan . . . I so ap­pre­ci­ate the mu­si­cal in­flu­ence Pete. Con­do­lences to your fam­ily.”

Peter Hook, the bassist and co-founder of Joy Divi­sion and New Or­der, tweeted: “Pete Shel­ley — a true gent! He helped us so much at the start of our ca­reer out of a sheer love for all things punk. With­out Pete & the Buz­zcocks I would prob­a­bly still be work­ing at the Docks. RIP mate.”


Pete Shel­ley, co-founder of Buz­zcocks, per­forms in May in Mex­ico City.

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