Pete Shelley & Louie Shelley: Ever Fallen in Love: The Lost Buzzcocks Tapes

  • Peter Hough posted
  • Reviews

Pete Shelley & Louie Shelley

Ever Fallen in Love: The Lost Buzzcocks Tapes - Cassell

The late Pete Shelley was an engaging and sharp conversationalist with an elephantine recall and wide-ranging interests. It’s no surprise that this collection of transcribed on-the-record chats with Louie Shelley (no relation) charts, in considerable detail and with plenty of diversions, the course of how he came to write the songs that some would say marked the golden era of his career. Best known, of course, as co-founder of Buzzcocks, Pete was a prolific and gifted songwriter and while this book documents the singles and albums from the band’s United Artists years, it also shows that songs have a life and backstory of their own, often from well before the time in which they came to the public’s attention.

Louie Shelley is a perceptive interviewer, teasing out detail from Pete in the course of their conversations that she knows fans will want to hear. She has also put Pete’s work in context, bookending the conversations with both the roots and legacy of his canon. The tone is light and conversational, with Pete’s prodigious capacity for explaining the highlight and detail of his process giving a unique insight into his mind and heart.

All in all, a relaxed and surprisingly intimate account of a key era, with Pete also offering insights into Steve Diggle‘s contributions. If you want chapter and verse on whom Pete was writing about, and why, this is not going to scratch that itch. On the contrary, Pete goes to some lengths to explain that he was usually more of a lovelorn everyman, distilling his feelings from different times and circumstances into universal and timeless lyrics. Pete was a punk who didn’t like the label and didn’t like pigeonholes. He was possibly the most relatable of his contemporaries. Also evident is his joy and craftmanship in the construction of his songs. His musicality grew out of his own diverse tastes yet was never laboured or derivative. His pleasure in the construction of a song, in combining lyric, sentiment and melody, is abundantly evident. A poignant read, perfectly executed.

Sales through the Buzzcocks‘ Secret Public fan shop benefit the Pete Shelley Memorial Campaign.