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Pete Shelley, the bisexual frontman of Buzzcocks, has died aged 63

The singer said he used gender-neutral pronouns in his music because his attention could be on both genders

2018-12-07

Words: Steve Brown

The lead singer of Buzzcocks Pete Shelley has died at the age of 63.

The English singer – who cofounded the punk rock band in 1976 with Howard Devoto – is best known for the songs ‘Ever Fallen in Love’, ‘Orgasm Addict’, ‘Harmony in My Head’, ‘Fast Cars’ and ‘Why Can’t I Touch It’.

In a short statement on Twitter, the band confirmed the news of Shelley’s death – which is suspected to be caused by a heart attack.

They wrote: “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.

“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.”

Throughout his five-decade music career, Shelley alluded to his sexuality and the hit song ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ was reportedly inspired by a man named Frank who lived with Devoto for seven years.

Shelley’s first solo single ‘Homosapien’ was also banned by the BBC for its ‘explicit reference to gay sex’.

In an interview with Pitchfork, Shelley revealed he often used gender-neutral pronouns in his lyrics “because the object of my attention could be either [gender].

“I can always say this one is about you, even if I wrote it about someone else.”