Damn. Another one bites the dust. Yesterday, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks died from a heart attack. He was 63 years old.
For those that don't regularly read BRP, I am a huge Buzzcocks fan. I've seen them live a number of times, own a bunch of their music, and have talked them up to friends and family on many occasions. Pete Shelley (along with bandmate Steve Diggle) wrote most of their songs. He was the king of the 3 minute pop-punk masterpiece. Don't believe me? Put on Singles Going Steady. It's a damn hit parade with one great song after another. Check these out and tell me I'm wrong:
Pete Shelley also had a pretty good solo career - I've previously linked to Homosapien which was a staple back in my early years. I'll miss him and his music.
Occasionally, someone will ask me the question of "what's the best live show you've ever seen?" That's an impossible question to answer. But one of the most memorable was in the late 80s at the original 9:30 Club in DC. For those who saw a show at that space, they will remember how small it was and how close the fans got to the stage. Anyway, the Buzzcocks came to town, and I got a big group to go. We got right up front and waited for the band to take the stage.
It was one of the best shows ever. They played non-stop punk-pop staples that had the place going nuts. And they played it at VOLUME. That was before I started wearing earplugs to shows, and my ears rang for three days after the show. I seriously thought that I would never get my normal hearing back. But it did come back, and about two years later, I went to see them again at the 9:30 Club. That show wasn't as good (hard to top), but it was still great and it still made my ears ring for 3 days.
To this day, I can't hear I Believe without picturing the entire club chanting "There is no love in this world anymore!" over and over.
I did see that the Buzzcocks played Coachella or one of those big festivals a few years back, and blew the crowd away. It didn't surprise me. The later shows I saw, where Pete had aged a lot and was carrying around a few too many extra pounds, still had tremendous energy and, of course, those great songs. And the Buzzcocks influenced a ton of bands - let's hope that trend continues.
I'll miss Pete Shelley. A lot. Along with Joe Strummer of the Clash, this loss is huge to me in a very personal way. The songs by the Buzzcocks and the Clash are the music of my life. I'll keep playing them, but it will be with a sense of loss going forward. Rest in peace, my man.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.