Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks dead at 63

Pete Shelley, lead singer of influential punk band the Buzzcocks, has died aged 63.

BBC News reports the guitarist died of a suspected heart attack.

Shelley formed the Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto, and took over the lead singer/songwriter role when Devoto left in 1977 to form Magazine.

The Buzzcocks fused raw punk energy with pop melodies, making their mark with hits including 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)' and 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays' and influencing a wide array of bands, including Green Day and Nirvana.

"There's been lots of quite famous bands who've said, 'If it wasn't for you,' which is good in a way," Shelley told Reuters in 2010.

Shelley also released a few solo records, including 1981's foray into electronic music, Homosapien. The title track was banned for its explicit reference to gay sex.

The Buzzcocks.
The Buzzcocks. Photo credit: Getty

Shelley was bisexual, and before his death had been living in Estonia with his wife.

He was one of the organisers of an infamous 1976 Sex Pistols concert in Manchester - the crowd only numbered a few dozen, but included young punk fans that would go on to form Joy Division, New Order, the Smiths and the Fall.

After splitting in the early 1980s the Buzzcocks reformed in 1989, and have been touring and releasing records to this day.

Famous fans paid their respects on Twitter.

"Pete Shelley was an amazing songwriter," said Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl.

"Part of my youth dies with him," wrote author Neil Gaiman.

"The first album I ever owned was Love Bites By Buzzcocks," said Charlatans singer Tim Burgess.

"A superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk," said Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.