Pete Shelley, the English singer, songwriter, and guitarist has died at the age of 63. He was best known as the lead singer of the punk rock band Buzzcocks.
The BBC reported Shelley died on Thursday (6 December) in Estonia of a suspected heart attack.
On Twitter, the band confirmed the news, writing that Shelley’s news ‘inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist’.
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.
— Buzzcocks (@Buzzcocks) December 6, 2018
Shelley was born in Leigh, England, which is a town in the greater Manchester area.
He formed Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto in the 1970s, after the pair met at the University of Bolton in 1975. They saw the Sex Pistols together in High Wycombe, and subsequently debuted their band a year later, opening for the Sex Pistols.
The band released its first EP in 1977. That same year, Devoto left the band, putting Shelley in position to become lead vocalist and the main songwriter.
It was during this time Shelley wrote one of the band’s biggest songs, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).
Four years later, in 1981, the band went on hiatus due to disagreements with the record label, and Shelley started releasing solo music.
In 1989, the band reunited.
Shelley and his queer anthems
While Ever Fall in Love is inspired by the same line in the musicals Guys and Dolls, Shelley reportedly revealed it’s about a man named Frank whom he lived with for seven years.
He began alluding more to his bisexuality, which had been present before in songs.
The same year the band went on hiatus, Shelley released his first solo single from his album of the same name, Homosapien. The BBC ended up banning the song for its ‘explicit reference to gay sex’.
Some of the lyrics in the song include: ‘homo superior / in my interior’.
People took to Twitter to remember the singer as a queer icon.