Budgie frontman Burke Shelley dies at 71
Burke Shelley, founder and frontman of pioneering hard rock/proto-metal band Budgie, has died at age 71. His daughter Ela Shelley broke the news, writing, "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my father, John Burke Shelley. He passed away this evening in his sleep at Heath Hospital in Cardiff, his birth town. He was 71 years old. Please respect the family during this time. With love, His four children: Ela, Osian, Dimitri and Nathaniel." No cause of death has been given at this time.
The Guardian published an obituary, which reads in part:
Born John Burke Shelley in Cardiff in 1950, Shelley formed Budgie in 1967 with guitarist Tony Bourge and drummer Ray Phillips. They released their debut album in 1971, and by 1974 they had reached the UK Top 30 with their fourth album In for the Kill!
Powered by Shelley’s remarkable, high-pitched singing voice, the band married blues to a galloping heavy rock sound alongside peers such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and helped to pioneer the heavy metal that flourished in the 70s and 80s – though they were also given to quieter moments of pristine beauty. Their most celebrated song Breadfan, from 1973’s Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, combined both moods in one song – it was frequently covered by Metallica in live shows, with a version included on their compilation Garage Inc. Soundgarden, Van Halen, Megadeth and Iron Maiden would also go on to cover Budgie songs.
Read more here.
In an Instagram story, Metallica's Lars Ulrich wrote, "Thank you Burke for everything you did for heavy music and much next level appreciation for co-writing and creating two songs that Metallica were honored to record over the years, 'Breadfan' and 'Crash Course In Brain Surgery.'"
Motorhead's Phil Campbell posted a tribute as well:
Rest in peace, Burke.