Pete Shelley

I was really so very sad to hear this morning that Pete Shelley has died at the age of just sixty-three years old. I must have gone to at least half a dozen Buzzcocks' gigs in the late 1970s and they were always good value for money. They were slick entertainers as well as being rebels and Pete Shelley led them from the front, constantly at full charge. You felt knackered after a Buzzcocks' show even if you had only been sitting at the back.

The Buzzcocks were every bit as important in the punk rock movement as The Sex Pistols or The Clash. For a start, Pete Shelley invented that genre of the new wave that seamlessly merged the chaotic sounds of punk with the traditional structures of classic pop songs. Secondly, they gave the world the "Spiral Scratch" e.p., the first truly independent record of the punk era. Only "Anarchy in the U.K." can challenge "Spiral Scratch" for the title of the most influential British punk record of all time; the legendary guitar solo in the song "Boredom" (two notes repeated 66 times, ending with a single modulated seventh) is seminal, a massive two fingers up to the pomposity of progressive rock.

Today I so much want to go back, but I can't. None of us can. So I grieve, for Pete and for my young self. But I will not go gentle into that good night, once a punk, always a punk. Fuck the lot of them!

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