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Pete Shelley, lead singer of the Buzzcocks, dies at 63

Shelley was "a superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk," said Glen Matlock, formerly of the Sex Pistols.
Pete Shelley and The Buzzcocks on stage in 1990.Mick Hutson / Redferns

Pete Shelley, lead singer of the English punk rock band Buzzcocks, died Thursday, according to his management team. He was 63.

"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," his team said in a statement. "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."

The band was formed in England in 1976 by Shelley and former Buzzcocks singer Howard Devoto.

Devoto left the band in 1977 to form the group Magazine. Current Buzzcocks members include Steve Diggle, Danny Farrant and Chris Remmington.

According to its website, they were scheduled to perform in the Netherlands on Dec. 14 with other tour dates scheduled throughout June and August.

The group's first two albums, "Another Music In A Different Kitchen" and "Love Bites," are also being re-issued for their 40th anniversary and are expected to be released in January, the website states.

Glen Matlock, formerly of the Sex Pistols said on Twitter he was shocked by news of Shelley's death, calling him "a superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk."

Jon Wurster, best known as the drummer for the groups Superchunk and the Mountain Goats, recalled a favorite memory he had with Buzzcocks.

"One of the highlights of my life is getting to sit in w/the Buzzcocks in ‘91. I was in the opening band and Mike Joyce didn’t make it to soundcheck. We did 'I Don’t Mind' & 'Ever Fallen in Love.' Pete was very nice and I was impressed that he soundchecked in his stage clothes," he posted on Twitter.

Other musicians also took to the site to express their condolences.

Shelley, whose birth name was Peter Campbell McNeish, also had a successful solo career, releasing his debut single “Homosapien” in 1981. According to Variety, the song was banned by the BBC because it referenced gay sex.

He went on to release "Witness the Change," "I Just Wanna Touch," "Love Me Love My Dog" and others.