Homosapien too
December 6, 2018 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Pete Shelley, front man for The Buzzcocks has died today of a heart attack. You want words? Honestly, I don't really have much to say. Follow the links, listen to the music. Youngs, form your own opinions, olds, do what you do. As for me, him and his band formed an important background of much of my misspent youth. If you've got more and better links please add them otherwise... . posted by evilDoug (106 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
One of the first openly queer punks. A bisexual icon. Gone.

A . seems insufficient.

*cranks up Singles Going Steady*
posted by SansPoint at 1:42 PM on December 6 [13 favorites]


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posted by alamedarchy at 1:44 PM on December 6


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posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:46 PM on December 6


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posted by carter at 1:47 PM on December 6


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posted by valdesm at 1:47 PM on December 6


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posted by oneswellfoop at 1:50 PM on December 6


oh shit.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:50 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by cmfletcher at 1:51 PM on December 6


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posted by Dysk at 1:51 PM on December 6


Oh Shit! What a loss.

I remember when we used to sing Orgasm Addict as a kid, "Sneaking in the back door, with dirty magazines; Your mum asking questions about the stains on your jeans."
posted by NailsTheCat at 1:51 PM on December 6 [7 favorites]


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posted by NailsTheCat at 1:52 PM on December 6


Dammit.

I've been playing ESP a ton recently, love that song.
posted by N-stoff at 1:54 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by q*ben at 1:59 PM on December 6


I saw them a couple of summers ago and was impressed by how much energy and enthusiasm you could tell Shelley still had for playing his music.

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posted by The Card Cheat at 2:07 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:08 PM on December 6


Awww, dammit.

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posted by Thorzdad at 2:11 PM on December 6


Dammit.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:12 PM on December 6


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posted by Pliskie at 2:13 PM on December 6


Oh nooo, I am another queer punk-adjacent person who he meant a lot to, and this hurts.
posted by ITheCosmos at 2:13 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Ever fallen in love with music you shouldn't have fallen in love with?

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posted by East14thTaco at 2:13 PM on December 6 [18 favorites]


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posted by praemunire at 2:13 PM on December 6


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posted by SonInLawOfSam at 2:13 PM on December 6


The Buzzcocks put on a damn fine show.

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posted by sjswitzer at 2:15 PM on December 6


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They came through town a few years ago, and while some bands can seem a little less than impressed with a small club in a mid-size city in the middle of nowhere in a big country, Pete looked and acted like a guy who knew his job was to be a rock and roll singer, and who knew how fortunate that made him -- and by extension, us in the audience.

Ever fallen in love live 40 years ago | (Still sounding great 33 years later.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:16 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


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Pete wrote and sang the catchiest punk songs ever.

Fun personal fact; back in the day when when we had to clean up band names around our parents, we always used to refer to his band as the Buzzdudes. In my head, I still call them that -- and was just listening to some of their songs a few weeks ago, for what I thought was no reason except idly missing the past.

I Believe.

Fuck.
posted by vers at 2:16 PM on December 6 [11 favorites]


Fuck, indeed.
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posted by Sophie1 at 2:19 PM on December 6


Rest in Punk, Pete.

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posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:20 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


No no no no no no no no no no.

Yet another regret: could've seen them live and didn't. Fuck. God I love the Buzzcocks. The soundtrack of my teens.

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posted by cooker girl at 2:22 PM on December 6


something's gone wrong again...

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posted by JoeZydeco at 2:23 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by gwint at 2:23 PM on December 6


And... I just did something I almost never do and started reading the YouTube comments on the video I posted -- and this one made me cry.

Notice it fades out at the end. I like to think the song is endless. If you could keep turning up the volume at the end, it would just keep on going forever.


And it was posted six years ago.
posted by vers at 2:26 PM on December 6 [15 favorites]


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posted by pompomtom at 2:29 PM on December 6


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posted by bopadoo at 2:33 PM on December 6


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posted by w0mbat at 2:34 PM on December 6


'I've fallen from favour while tryin' to savour experience
I'm seein' things clearly but it has quite nearly blown my mind
It's the aim of existence to offer resistance to the flow of time
Everything is and that is why it is, will be the line'

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posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:35 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 2:37 PM on December 6


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posted by misteraitch at 2:39 PM on December 6


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posted by trillian at 2:40 PM on December 6


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posted by Joey Michaels at 2:44 PM on December 6


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Just reminded myself that as well as the genius of Buzzcocks and his solo stuff he was an occasional contributor to The Invisible Girls, John Cooper Clark's backing band.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:45 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Crucial. Absolutely crucial.

Caught The Buzzcocks couple of years ago, and I did not feel for an instant that they were phoning it in.
posted by rodlymight at 2:53 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Sad.
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posted by Capybara at 2:59 PM on December 6


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posted by lazaruslong at 3:02 PM on December 6


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posted by jason_steakums at 3:05 PM on December 6


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I'm glad I caught the Buzzcocks 10+ years ago, even though I think I had the flu. They sure did (and do) capture the frustration I feel when just trying to connect with another human.
posted by alex_skazat at 3:09 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by luckynerd at 3:14 PM on December 6


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posted by droplet at 3:21 PM on December 6


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posted by jabo at 3:24 PM on December 6


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posted by hap_hazard at 3:35 PM on December 6


Damnit.

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posted by soundguy99 at 3:40 PM on December 6


Oh shit.

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posted by pxe2000 at 3:44 PM on December 6


So saddened to hear of his passing. The Buzzcocks were what a "pop punk" band should be, if one is forced to limit their music appreciation to such an unwieldy taxonomy, anyway. I'll never tire of their songs.

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posted by nightrecordings at 3:53 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


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posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 3:58 PM on December 6


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posted by litlnemo at 4:00 PM on December 6


/>The Buzzcocks were what a "pop punk" band should be, if one is forced to limit their music appreciation to such an unwieldy taxonomy

Here are some great pop punk bands currently working:

Bad Cop/Bad Cop
Toys That Kill
Maksed Intruder
Sincere Engineer
Dillinger Four
The Menzingers
Off With Their Heads
Teenage Bottlerocket

... And more!
posted by East14thTaco at 4:06 PM on December 6


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Until the razor cuts’
posted by rongorongo at 4:34 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by 4ster at 4:37 PM on December 6


When I was 15 there was no internet.
Finding independent music was hard- you actively had to hunt for it- and subscribe to international music magazines like NME that were 3 months out of date by the time they arrived in the mail.
One source of new material was a TV network, SBS, which used to air sporadic UK arts programs late on a Friday night.

During semester most Friday nights I spent at home, studying, and at about midnight on comes some random BBC program, I think it was the Southbank Show.

The ennui soaked thin legged chap walking louchely past gritty London architecture with experimental camerawork starts yabbering about bands who should have been bigger than they were, and introduces some clip for a song he calls 'What Do I Get' by a band I had not heard of call the 'Buzzcocks'.

The hairs came up on my arms, and my mouth went dry- in that instant I knew I had found something real and true and blisteringly good.

Vale Pete Shelley
posted by Plutocratte at 4:42 PM on December 6 [13 favorites]


I was never a Buzzcocks fan, but ...

In 1987 he followed the album with a new song, "Do Anything", for the film Some Kind of Wonderful.

... I'm a hell of a John Hughes fan, and played the hell out of this soundtrack.

Fair winds and following seas, Pete.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:47 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


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posted by readery at 4:49 PM on December 6




It's really hard to overstate just how much Homosapien still rules. That three minutes and change of loud and proud gay synthpop from 1981 is punker than just about anything.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:09 PM on December 6 [11 favorites]


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posted by talking leaf at 6:05 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:11 PM on December 6


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posted by pernoctalian at 6:17 PM on December 6


I was lucky enough to see them last summer at the Burger Boogaloo here in Oakland and they were so good. Sharp, tight, loud – it was a great performance.

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posted by Lexica at 6:24 PM on December 6


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posted by the sobsister at 6:49 PM on December 6


So sorry to hear.

Due to a protracted rural assignment, missed out on the Buzz and Wire until it was all over & I oneday stumbled on Rhino's kick-az DIY The Modern World - UK Punk II collection.

Ere's a fine memorial track, You're On Your Own (1986 US Dance #10).
posted by Twang at 7:24 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


what do we get?

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posted by mwhybark at 7:28 PM on December 6


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posted by drnick at 8:18 PM on December 6


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posted by murphy slaw at 8:23 PM on December 6


Something's Gone Wrong Again, indeed.

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posted by bendy at 8:27 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


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I was at the irving plaza concert that had the bomb scare .I couldn't make it out what Shelley was saying when he reported the car, but apparently the owner did and still refused to leave.
posted by brujita at 8:33 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by goshling at 9:35 PM on December 6


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posted by pt68 at 10:05 PM on December 6


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posted by Lyme Drop at 10:15 PM on December 6


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posted by interrupt at 10:58 PM on December 6


I actually think the first time I heard them was a cover version of "Ever Fallen in Love", but I'm not totally sure -- they were just sort of always there and their music still sounds fresh to me. This is sad news.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:05 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER: I remember when we used to sing Orgasm Addict


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Rest in powerful pop, Pete Shelley.
posted by philip-random at 11:29 PM on December 6


Beautiful, emotive heart felt music could come out of punk!? Who Knew?

It's hard to overstate how influential Shelley was in so many ways.

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posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:32 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


I bought Singles Going Steady in 1998, twenty years ago. It was already then well established as a classic, and I listened to it a ton. It seemed like a relic of a bygone era to my 17 year old self, ancient. It was 19 years old as a collection. It was only later that I got to know the rest of Buzzcocks’ catalog, pretty much all of it holds up.

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posted by Kattullus at 11:51 PM on December 6


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posted by ZipRibbons at 11:54 PM on December 6


He also co-wrote Magazine's The Light Pours Out of Me and Shot by Both Sides with ex-Buzzcock Howard Devoto, two utter stonkers of a tune.

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posted by myopicman at 12:10 AM on December 7 [4 favorites]


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posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:27 AM on December 7


Buzzcocks were one of the great singles bands of the 1970s, no question, but their legacy goes way beyond that.

Spiral Scratch, the band's debut EP, was the first disc of the UK's punk era to be released by the band itself, with no help from any outside record label. They borrowed £500 from friends and family to make the record and released it in a first run of only 1,000 copies. That was a pretty novel idea at the time and it became a hugely important part of punk's whole DIY ethos.

The initiative not only showed other fledgling bands that they could just go ahead and put out a record for themselves, but also helped to inspire dozens of tiny, mouthy independent labels to launch in the UK. Without those new labels, much of the most interesting music of the following decade could have gone unheard - and without Spiral Scratch we may never have had those labels either.

It was also Buzzcocks who organised the Sex Pistols' legendary Manchester gig at the city's Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976, which is worth reading about here. That was the gig which inspired various folks in its small audience to form The Smiths, The Fall and Joy Division - so you could argue we've got Shelley & co to thank for all those bands too.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:57 AM on December 7 [18 favorites]


At the time, Spiral Scratch was a bigger deal for me than Anarchy in the UK. Still is.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 1:08 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


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posted by rednikki at 1:35 AM on December 7


Spiral Scratch is just so good as well. Boredom especially is one of my favourite punk songs.
posted by Dysk at 2:44 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]


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posted by heatvision at 3:13 AM on December 7



posted by Gelatin at 4:47 AM on December 7


On top of all his amazing songs were a few that were utterly perfect. It's kind of astounding that he got the formula down at the very beginning and it still remains the model by which everything else falls short.
posted by whuppy at 6:19 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


"Sandie wears an awful lot of silk
says she's a friend of Mr Acker Bilk
she's going out of my mind
wants to live on milk

They're all these friends of mine ..."

After listening to "Friends of Mine" the first dozen times or so I was like "Who the fuck is Acker Bilk?" and so I went and looked and that was one of my entrances into the whole Herb Alpert/Sérgio Mendes/lounge/exotica scene.

("Aria," one of Bilk's last hits, charted that summer of 1976. It dropped off the charts about a month before Spiral Scratch was recorded.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Oh the cartoonish mohawk stereotype images put in my head in 1980 or so when I first heard a song called Orgasm Addict! By a band called the Buzzcocks!

And oh, the joy as I discovered all their stuff from "I Believe" to "Ever Fallen in Love" ad infinitum.

And now in 2018 I'm weepy listening to the achingly tender "You Say You Don't Love Me."
posted by whuppy at 7:13 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by Cash4Lead at 7:21 AM on December 7


I spent a lot of college time rambling around with Singles Going Steady playing on the Walkman... That album always has made me feel less alone in being a solitary nerd.

Saw the Buzzcocks on their 40th anniversary tour and am now very glad I did. RIP Pete.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:24 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]




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posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:31 PM on December 7


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posted by camyram at 5:00 PM on December 7


There Is Some Love In This World After All.
posted by artdrectr at 5:11 PM on December 7 [2 favorites]


Can't really say anymore about the Buzzcocks that hasn't been said out there. Catchiest damn band ever.

And "Homosapien" is the rockingest dance song ever. That keyboard hook, that T-Rex-y style rhythm.

RIP Pete. You are well-loved.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 12:28 AM on December 8 [3 favorites]


Far too young.

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posted by dbiedny at 12:31 PM on December 8


fearfulsymmetry: Pete Shelley on making Buzzcocks' masterpiece Ever Fallen in Love

It made me exuberantly happy to learn that Shelley went on to have a seven year relationship with the guy that "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" was written about (also that the inspiration was dialogue from Guys & Dolls, that made me smile too).
posted by Kattullus at 3:29 PM on December 8


It made me exuberantly happy to learn that Shelley went on to have a seven year relationship with the guy that "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" was written about.

Me too. But imagine knowing that you were the person who that particular song had been written about - the one everybody was singing
- and knowing that nobody else did
- and knowing that everybody would assume the writer had written it about an ex
- but knowing that it was in-fact about you.
posted by rongorongo at 1:02 AM on December 9 [2 favorites]


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posted by Gotanda at 2:33 AM on December 9


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posted by silentbicycle at 4:16 AM on December 9


Revisiting Pete Shelley’s Groundbreaking Multimedia Album Project ‘XL•1’ (Martin Schneider, Dangerous Minds)
On the cover of Shelley’s first proper solo album, 1981’s Homosapien, a dandified version of the artist perches awkwardly in an extremely 1980s sort of “office” that featured (among other objects) a pyramid, a phrenologist’s skull, and, significantly, a Commodore Pet, which was one of the first personal computers sold directly to consumers, in the late 1970s. Wittingly or no, that Pet would signal a bold direction Shelley would take on his 1983 follow-up, XL•1, which featured a suite of “videos” to accompany each of the album’s songs that consisted entirely of computer graphics. The program was programmed by Joey Headen for the ZX Spectrum, a home computer of that moment that served as the approximate British equivalent to the Commodore 64 in the United States. (Remember: If you’re not pronouncing it “Zeddex Spectrum,” you’re not saying it right.)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:26 AM on December 11


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