Pete Shelley, lead singer of influential 70s punk band Buzzcocks, has died aged 63 of a suspected heart attack. The band are best known for their hit, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).
Born Peter Campbell McNeish in Leigh, near Wigan, Shelley formed Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto while studying in Bolton. Impressed by the Sex Pistols’ high-energy performances, they brought the band to Manchester.
The Manchester gigs inspired a generation of bands from the city and Buzzcocks went on to support the Pistols on their 1976 Anarchy tour. The band’s debut EP, Spiral Scratch – which they raised cash to record – is credited with being the first independently-funded punk record.
The record proved hugely popular and Buzzcocks’ stock rose even as Devoto quit the group, leaving Shelley to take over lead vocals. The band was signed by United Artists Records, releasing debut album Another Music in a Different Kitchen in 1977 and coming to the attention of TV audiences on Top of the Pops a year later.
Buzzcocks performed and recorded prolifically and by 1979 had racked up enough singles for a collection to be released in the US. The band toured the US and Canada but, despite impressing critics, were met by underwhelming record sales. Finding himself in dispute with EMI, which bought out Buzzcocks’ label, Shelley broke up the band.
Shelley pursued a solo career, introducing more experimental electronic music into his repertoire, and had a club hit with Homosapien. But by the end of the 80s, Buzzcocks had reformed. They went on to win over a new generation of fans when joining Nirvana on the grunge act’s final tour in 1994.
The band had released its final LP, The Way, in 2014. Through various line-up changes, Shelley continued to perform with Buzzcocks and is pictured below at Sounds of the City, at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl, in July.