Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks has died

Pete Shelley had a solo LP called XL-1

Pete Shelley

The lead singer/songwriter of Buzzcocks, Pete Shelley, has died, apparently of a heart attack, at the age of 63. Yeesh.

Back in my FantaCo days, c. 1978, I remember listening to Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) on Q-104, WQBK-FM, quite often. I loved, among other things, the double contraction. Someday, maybe we’ll have a conversation about how much on target that title was in my life.

My neighbor Don Levy wrote on Facebook: “Buzzcocks were there at the beginning of punk, and one of the bands (along with The Sex Pistols and The Clash) to receive a fair amount of commercial success. What set them apart from their contemporaries was that they were less concerned with Thatcherism/consumerism/urban violence and more preoccupied with personal relationships.”

Don notes that both Buzzcocks’ first single, Orgasm Addict (1978) and Shelley’s first solo single, Homosapien (1981) were both banned by the BBC, the latter, at least, for “explicit reference to gay sex.”

Arthur, now a half a world away, had a sudden recollection about Homosapien. “Around that time, I remember seeing guys in Chicago wearing white t-shirts with the word ‘Homosapien’ and no other printing. I was sure they were kinsmen, and, at the time, it seemed like they were giving a knowing wink to anyone who knew the song.”

Totally new to me, though, was something Chuck Miller linked to: “Pete Shelley had “a solo LP called XL-1 that got lots of play on my college radio station WHCL. I should note that XL-1 had a feature that allowed one to somehow load the LP into a Sinclair computer and produce a digital music video that ran synchronously with the LP. Thankfully, somebody synched up an old XL-1 copy to a Sinclair … HERE IT IS.” This is, to use the erudite lingo of the record reviewer, REALLY COOL. The lyrics pop up as well as interesting graphics.

Read some tributes from fellow musicians and from Rolling Stone.