Social Media Awash With Tributes for Pete Shelley

The iconic Buzzcocks frontman was 63 when he died today of an apparent heart attack

Pete Shelley in video for his solo single “Homosapien”

The news regarding the sudden death of iconic Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley at age 63 hit fast and hard upon the official statement released on the band’s socials earlier this evening.

“It’s with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks,” read the statement taken off the group’s Facebook page. “Pete’s music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world.”

Expect some deeper and more intimate commentary into the career of this highly influential and brave soul whose songs were just as instrumental in getting a generation of young hands on guitars, bass guitars and drumsticks as The Ramones in the coming days here at the RNRG. But in the immediacy of this tragic bulletin of Shelley’s passing from a suspected massive heart attack, we selected some of the most heartfelt and insightful messages posted on Twitter and Facebook by some of The Buzzcocks’ most famous acolytes in punk, pop, rock, hardcore and Hollywood all expressing sorrow over losing a true giant in the world of anti-authority maximum rock ‘n’ roll.

Godspeed, Pete. Our deepest condolences to Steve Diggle, Howard Devoto and the many others in Mr. Shelley’s universe of family, friends, collaborators and fellow fans. On a personal note, a special thank you from me to Pearl Jam for bringing the Buzzcocks on the road with you in 2003 and giving me the opportunity to see them live.

Here is but a fraction of the beautiful eulogies out there on social media toasting the life and legacy of Pete Shelley.



Mary Lou Lord:

“Love”……lots and lots of songs about “Love”.
Is there anything else that truly matters? In the end, it’s all that remains and matters, really. R.i.p Pete Shelley.


Lou Barlow:

I sat next to Pete Shelley for the duration (2-3 hrs?) of the Mojo magazine awards a few years back and it was one of th best -getting drunk with a stranger- moments I’ve ever had.. his asides and comments on the assembled group of rock stars around us in his heavy (and ofter indecipherable) Mancunian accent was as hilarious as u can imagine.. the fact that he was one of the greatest songwriters of all time (his raw, sexual, emotionally vulnerable lyrics were a huge influence on me) was initially too much take but I had no choice but to relax, share the free flowing wine and let it happen (and never let on how much his music meant to me.. that would have blown the vibe) ..the two funniest things I remember were: #1 when the Zombies rose to accept an award he said ‘who are they?’ and commented that the way they stood in line, facing forward in profile silhouette, resembled an LP cover (it did).. and #2 at the end of the night he insisted that he had met my mother, when I assured him that was not in any way possible, he wouldn’t take my word for it until we stumbled out to the sidewalk (right into Joe Elliott from Def Leppard who was v nice and not at all bothered when I spat out ‘hey, yer the guy from Def Leppard!!’) .. it finally became clear that Pete thought I was Kevin Shields.. anyway, Pete Shelley seemed t b living the life that a lot of those Manchester punk/post punk genius guys did/do .. prob partying till the end, not giving a shit in the most glorious way.. he spoke the immortal words ‘no Moët no show-ay’ after all (in reference to his rider requirement).. the Buzzcocks recorded many of my favorite songs that only get better and more miraculous sounding with age.. their first recordings invented hardcore and the sophistication of the songwriting puts them shoulder t shoulder w the Beatles etc. and Pete Shelley was a good hang, condolences t all his friends and loved ones..


Glen Matlock:

I am totally shocked and saddened to just hear of the untimely death of Pete Shelley. A superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk and even a one off within that. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.


Kris Needs:

Just heard the tragic news about Pete Shelley. I was lucky to see the Buzzcocks countless times, from the Roxy in early 77 thru the White Riot tour and then headlining as one of the era’s great bands. Many memories of Pete; when he turned up at The Clash’s Harlesden gig proudly wearing his Mondrian shirt, watching him overdub his vocal on Love Bites at Olympic studio, then 34 years later at Brixton Academy when I MC’d the Buzzcocks Back To Front show at Brixton Academy and he was so proud. He was a lovely man, a quietly hilarious pin-sharp poet who dared to sing love songs at a time when you didn’t and now he’s gone at an age when he really shouldn’t have. X


The Adicts:

Absolutely heartbroken and saddened by the news of Pete Shelley passing today. One of the true punk iconic songwriters that heavily influenced the Adicts and paved the way for so many. He had a beautiful voice and heart. Thank you Pete! Rest In Peace Friend.


UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 01: Photo of BUZZCOCKS and Pete SHELLEY and John MAHER and Steve DIGGLE and Steve GARVEY; Posed group portrait -L-R John Maher, Pete Shelley, Steve Garvey and Steve Diggle, (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)


Steve Wynn:

There is no love in this world anymore. Not words to live by. But we’ve all been there. When I was 20 I was obsessed with the “bummer albums”. Big Star 3rd. Plastic Ono Band. Tonight’s The Night. And most certainly A Different Kind of Tension. That one dug deep and left its mark like all the best music should do. RIP Pete Shelley. Way too young.


Ken Stringfellow:

Goodnight Pete. Your music did so much for me. Thank you.


Amy Rigby:

“Life’s an illusion, love is the dream, but I don’t know what it is…everyone’s saying things to me – but I know it’s okay okay” – that breakdown was euphoria & always smoked out the tourists on the Tier 3 & Mudd Club dancefloors… Buzzcocks & Pete Shelley forever!


Harley Flanagan:

Sad news
I saw these guys more times then I can remember when I was a kid, great shows at Irving plaza, and opening for the Clash,They were a great band and he was a great guy always real nice to fans, I still have all my autographed 45’s. he will be missed

Pete Shelley
Rest In Peace


Captain Sensible:

I’m truly shocked to hear about the passing of our very good mate Pete Shelley… an absolutely lovely bloke who it was always a total pleasure to gig with – which we did.. a lot! And as I’m firmly of the ‘celebrate the life’ persuasion in moments like these I may take this opportunity to listen to some of those wonderful Buzzcocks hits to remind myself what an incredible tunesmith Pete was. Those melodies have to be about the catchiest in all of punk dontcha think?

The Buzzers and Damned toured Japan together… getting on for 20 years ago now it must be… where, apart from doing the shows we all discovered the joys of karaoke. Thankfully there’s no video of me and Pete performing Dancing Queen together – the pic will have to suffice (thank gawd!).

And punk festivals certainly won’t be the same any more without Pete.. I can’t think of any other bands that quaff champers in their dressing room. With the Buzzcocks it was always “no Moët… no show-ey” – “no Chandon.. no band on”. Fabulous, eh!!!

We’ll miss you Pete – love from the Damned, X


Pete Shelley “Homosapien” single cover


Duran Duran:

During the 1970s, Buzzcocks released an extraordinary stream of perfect songs – the products of the mind and emotions of Pete Shelley, the singer/songwriter and guitarist.

We are very very sad to hear of his death. He was a brave iconoclast who wrote songs that could rage and yet be joyful, that could be both positive and cynical, all in a two minute blast of energy that was built to blow your face off. He was a true legend.


Jon Langford, The Mekons:

Spent many silly fun packed hours with Peter down the years. When Marc Riley asked him to sing a song on the ‘Til Things Are Brighter Johnny Cash tribute we made back in the 80s He came up with this title treasure I’d never heard before and made it his own. Love you mate, thanks for all the tunes…


Juliette Lewis:

Heart goes out to you all. I love love love all things @buzzcocks #PeteShelley ‘s one of a kind singing and melodies!! I loved hearing his passion and wailing!Noone like him.


Ted Leo:

Ah, christ. He wrote some of my favorites, and was a constant musical presence for most of my life.


Duff McKagan:

Rest In Peace Pete Shelley . As a lifelong @Buzzcocks fan…I so appreciate the musical influence Pete. Condolences to your family….


“Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” by The Buzzcocks


Peter Hook:

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. X


Mike Mills:

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. R.I.P., Pete. #Buzzcocks


Edgar Wright:

This compilation of Buzzcocks singles is one of my favourite albums. It’s 48 minutes of pure punk bliss. You couldn’t ask for a finer run of 45’s. Please give it a spin right now and remember the huge talent in music that was singer and writer Pete Shelley. He will be missed.


Tracey Thorn:

Oh God but I loved Buzzcocks. And Pete Shelley was an amazing songwriter. “But after all life’s only death’s recompense.” RIP


Tim Burgess:

Farewell Pete Shelley. The first album I ever owned was Love Bites By Buzzcocks. This is my favourite song by them…


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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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