Pete Shelley

It goes without saying that Pete Shelley is a songwriting genius. His lyrics about unrequited love, sexuality and masturbation gave him and Buzzcocks a unique voice and over the course of a few years at the end of the 70s and into the 80s they wrote some of the definitive songs of the period. Some of their songs are among the finest of all late 20th century pop culture- Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have Fallen In Love With) obviously but also Boredom, Why Can’t I Touch It?, Harmony In My Head, Everybody’s Happy nowadays, What Do I Get?, Moving Away From The Pulsebeat, Autonomy… the list goes on and on. His death on Thursday at the age of 63 is a massive loss and the outpouring of tributes across the internet over the last couple of days shows how deeply people have been affected by Buzzcocks and Pete’s songs.

I was once in the car with mother-in-law and Singles Going Steady was in the tape player. She couldn’t believe that someone would write a song called Oh Shit never mind record it. We were out of the car before this one came on…

Orgasm Addict

And this 1981 solo single is a work of brilliance too, forward thinking and progressive musically and lyrically, funny and brave- ‘homo superior/in my interior’- and still sounds great on a dancefloor today.

Homosapien

>It’s For You

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Sticking with Manchester in the 80s this is former Buzzcock Pete Shelley with his 1983 ‘hit’ (number 66 with a bullet) Telephone Operator. Post Buzzcocks he dumped the breakneck guitars for a more electronic sound, with guitars. In this creepy little song Pete expresses desire for the person at the switchboard- ‘telephone operator, you’re my aural stimulator, phone you up an hour later, you’re all I’m thinking of’.

Telephone Operator.mp3#1#1

Pete Shelley ‘Homosapien’

I don’t know how many people watched Buzzcocks on Top Of The Pops, and thought ‘that Pete Shelley, he’s a bit camp’, or ever wondered if Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t Have Fallen In Love With) was not sung by a man to woman, but by a man to a man, but surely when this fantastic single was released in 1981 the penny must have dropped on punks and post-punks everywhere. ‘I’m a cruiser, you’re a loser’… ‘Homo-superior, in my interior’ and so on. Brave stuff for the early 80s I’m guessing. Great song. This one’s for RM.

Homosapien (Dance Version) [A].mp3