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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Pete Shelley of the U.K. punk band Buzzcocks has passed away. In my book Buzzcocks remain one of the most engaging of the original crop of punk bands who took the 1970s by storm. That run of recordings from Spiral Scratch to A Different Kind of Tension has aged better than just about any other rock music from that era (or any other) that I’ve managed to hear. It’s still some of the music I reach for most these days, having liked it since high school when I first overheard my older sibling playing Operator’s Manual in his room and then had to get some of their recordings myself. The early Buzzcocks should be lauded for their unstoppable rhythm section — John Maher is one of the grooviest rock drummers ever, and those catchy basslines are a joy to hear. But it’s Pete Shelley’s soaring vocals and the charging dual-guitar attack of him and Steve Diggle that seal the deal, making that spate of early recordings (as well as many beyond them) a treasure trove of hooks and riffs and enticing vibes worth returning to again and again. What more can I say? The band’s music means so much I have trouble conveying its value. Ultimately words fail and one should just put the records on and lose herself in them. Shelley was musically active for several decades, in Buzzcocks as well as a solo artist and collaborator. He’s gone but has left behind quite a legacy and influence. R.I.P., Pete.

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