Singer Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks Dies

Ah, bollocks – Pete Shelley is gone. An apparent heart attack at only 63 years old. If you were to compile a list of the absolute most influential punk bands from the genre’s late-’70s birthing period, 1) it’s a pretty select group and 2) it’d be slanted towards the UK side of the pond. The Clash are definitely on there, as are the one-record-and-done Sex Pistols. Buzzcocks belong there too, as through their founder Shelley they combined slam-dance bangers with a real songwriter’s sensibility that arguably predated melodic emo by decades. If it’s been awhile, find a little over an hour in your DAY-TIMER and relisten to their masterstroke compilation Singles Going Steady.

Shelley also set a template for generations of rockstars that followed him by having a successful solo career (“Homosapien” and “Telephone Operator” being among his well-known compositions) while Buzzcocks experienced a bit of a hiatus. They would ultimately reform under Shelley’s guidance and enjoy a near 30-year second run that included six additional studio albums in addition to concerts right up until August 25th of this year. The last-ever song Buzzcocks performed live was “Harmony In My Head”; Mr. Shelley’s family can take solace in the fact that HIS harmonies will remain in a lot of people’s consciousnesses for a very, very long time. #RIP

Photos of Pete Shelley at Lee’s Palace in Toronto courtesy of Viliam Hrubovcak and Jolie Fejer

Gilles LeBlanc

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.

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