Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley dies, aged 63

6 December 2018, 21:59 | Updated: 7 December 2018, 13:29

Pete Shelley in 1981
Pete Shelley in 1981. Picture: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Liam Fray of Courteeners has led the tributes to the Buzzcocks frontman, who has died of a suspected heart attack.

Pete Shelley, lead singer of punk band Buzzcocks, has died at the age of 63, his brother has said.

Shelley formed the group with original singer Howard Devoto in 1976, and released one of the first independent punk singles, the Spiral Scratch EP, the following year.

Pete Shelley performing with Buzzcocks in 2016
Pete Shelley performing with Buzzcocks in 2016. Picture: Lorne Thomson/Redferns/Getty Images

Following Devoto's depature after a few months, Shelley became frontman and the band achieved commercial success with hits including Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've), What Do I Get? and Everybody's Happy Nowadays. After a hiatus of 14 years, the band returned in 1993 with an album Trade Test Transmissions and continued to release albums up until 2014's The Way.

Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks in 1978
Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks in 1978. Picture: Chris Gabrin/Redferns/Getty Images

His brother, Gary John McNeish, posted on Facebook: "This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, is tell you my brother Pete Shelley had a heart attack this morning and passed away."

Fans and friends are paying tribute to the late singer on social media. New Order's Bernard Sumner said: "I always thought he was a great songwriter and the Buzzcocks both helped and inspired us in the early days of Joy Division. The first punk record I ever bought was ‘Spiral Scratch’ Boredom was the track on it that summed up how every bummed out adolescent felt in early 1977."

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray recalled the time Buzzocks performed in Manchester in 2009:

Charlatans singer Tim Burgess tweeted: "Farewell Pete Shelley. The first album I ever owned was Love Bites By Buzzcocks."

Glen Matlock, whose band the Sex Pistols were invited by Buzzcocks to play Manchester in the summer of 1976, tweeted that Shelley was "a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk".

Buzzcocks in 1977
Buzzcocks in 1977. Picture: Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

Radio X presenter and comedian Elis James and former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills also paid tribute: