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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Pete Shelley


17 April 1955 – 6 December 2018

The death of Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley from a suspected heart attack at the age of 63 brought an outpouring of grief and affection. It reflected the importance of a man whose musical career encompassed booking the Sex Pistols to play in Manchester in 1976, gigs crucial to punk’s spread and the city’s musical renaissance; releasing an EP, Spiral Scratch, That helped invent the idea of DIY indie; and most of all his penning of a series of lovelorn guitarbuzz singles, including Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).

Many of the stories shared revealed just how much fun he was – as when a musician friend told me about lending Shelley his band’s gear for an impromptu performance at a benefit gig. Suffice to say, he hadn’t expected Shelley to play naked.

Other tributes focused on a man who took songs, inevitably addressed to ‘you’ rather than a specific gender, of sexual ambiguity and queerness into the 1970s mainstream – a quintessentially punk thing to do by one of the people whose work defined punk.

In their early career, Buzzcocks burnt brightly and then split, but left behind a series of albums and singles That have had an enduring influence. It was because of these records being re-released That Long Live Vinyl called Pete Shelley at home in Estonia on Friday 23 November to discuss the years from 1977-81. At Pete’s end, I could hear his dogs barking. With a print deadline looming, I wrote the feature based on both the interview with Pete and a conversation with his longtime musical collaborator, Steve Diggle.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, The Supremes… over 180 No.1 singles worldwide… In issue 23 of Long Live Vinyl we celebrate 60 years of the world’s most famous record label as Gareth Murphy tells the inside story of Motown. We also round up the 40 essential Motown 45s that every collector should own. Elsewhere this issue, we pay tribute to Pete Shelley in one of the Buzzcocks frontman’s final interviews; Steve Mason tells us about his “world class” new album and we find out why The Cure’s Robert Smith has tipped The Twilight Sad as one of the best new bands on the planet. We also take an in-depth look at the album that lifted Lou Reed out of obscurity – 1972 masterpiece Transformer, meet the artistic geniuses behind The Designers Republic, visit Union Music and go cratedigging in Glasgow. If all that’s not enough, check out our newly expanded reviews section, where you’ll find the widest range of new albums, reissues and hardware anywhere!