Pete Shelley, Buzzcocks Lead Singer, Dies at 63

He died of a heart attack at his home in Estonia on Thursday

Pete Shelley Buzzcocks
Karl Walter/Getty Images

Pete Shelley, the lead singer for British post-punk band the Buzzcocks, has died at the age of 63, TheWrap has confirmed. The BBC first reported that Shelley died at his home in Estonia on Thursday.

Formed in Manchester in 1976 by Shelley and Howard Devoto, the Buzzcocks are best known for their signature song, “Ever Fallen in Love.” Devoto left the band in 1977 and Shelley became the band’s chief singer and songwriter. A fictionalized version of the band appeared in 2002’s “24 Hour Party People,” a film that chronicled the Manchester music scene from the late ’70s through the early 1990s.

The Buzzcocks came of age with fellow British punk and post-punk bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols and fellow Mancunians, Joy Division. “Ever Fallen in Love” was ranked the Track of the Year by NME in 1978. The song has been covered by a variety of artists, including Fine Young Cannibals, Pete Yorn and Nouvelle Vague.

Born Peter Campbell McNeish in Lancashire on April 17, 1955, Shelley’s impact on the English music scene has been long felt. The band’s high-octane sound incorporated punk and rich melodies. In addition to his work with the Buzzcocks, Shelley also had a prolonged solo career in the 1980s after the Buzzcocks broke up in 1981 due to a dispute with their then-label, Virgin.

Recently, the Buzzcocks celebrated their 40th anniversary, and are reissuing their first two albums, “Another Music in a Different Kitchen” and “Love Bites.” The albums are slated to be released on Jan. 25, 2019 on Domino Records.

The band had tour dates scheduled through August 2019 at the time of Shelley’s death.

“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,” a tweet from the Buzzcocks official account reads. “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. A more detailed statement will follow.”