Obits — December 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Pete Shelley, co-founder, songwriter and guitarist for the Buzzcocks, 1955-2018

Pete Shelley, the co-founder, guitarist and brilliant songwriter behind genre-shaping U.K. punk act Buzzcocks, as well as an accomplished solo artist in his own right, has died, the band announced Thursday via its social media accounts. He was 63.

The BBC reports that Shelley died of a suspected heart attack in Estonia, where he was living.

Born Peter Campbell McNeish, Shelley co-founded the Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto after the two met in college, and the band debuted opening for the Sex Pistols in Manchester, England, in 1976. The following year, the Buzzcocks released their debut EP, Spiral Scratch, before Devoto left.

In the wake of Devoto’s departure, Shelley claimed the role of lead singer and songwriter, penning classic singles including “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” and “What Do I Get.” The band released three albums in its original run: Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites in 1978, and A Different Kind of Tension in 1979. Those were followed by peerless 1979 singles compilation Singles Going Steady — and the band’s split in 1981.

Shelley would go on to spend much of the ’80s as a solo artist, scoring a major hit with his synth-driven single “Homosapien,” and finding lesser chart success with “Telephone Operator.” He released several solo albums throughout the decade.

The Buzzcocks reformed — though without Devoto — in 1989, and released albums, and toured throughout the ’90s and 2000s. Shelley finally would reunite onstage with Devoto in Manchester in 2012, when the departed co-founder rejoined the Buzzcocks for the first time in 33 years. The band’s most recent album, The Way, was released in 2014.

Below, we’ve rounded up some reactions to Shelley’s death, and some of his best music.



















  1. Thanks for the music, Pete. RIP

  2. Very sad news.

  3. Saddened. Thanks Pete. Wearing a Buzzcocks tour T-shirt today in your honour. Thank you for the music you gave to us all. Condolences to friends and family

  4. Ah jeez….that’s just awful news :(

  5. Kevin Richards

    Great band great front man great lyricist, what a terrible loss to the industry I’ve been listening to the buzzcocks from the early days, still do now, so damn young to pass too, R.I.P. Pete and thanks for leaving so much joy and happiness in your tunes.

  6. Way too young.
    What a loss.

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