Burke Shelley, founder, leader and bassist of the Welsh rock trio Budgie, died at the age of 71. His daughter Ela Shelley announced the news, saying she died in her sleep in a Cardiff hospital, with no cause of death being specified.
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!
Burke Shelley’s quirky voice
Fueled by Shelley’s remarkable high-pitched voice, the band combined blues with a galloping heavy rock sound alongside bandmates like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and helped pioneer heavy metal that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. though they were also given to quieter moments of pristine beauty.
His most famous song, Breadfan, from 1973’s Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, combined both moods into one song; Metallica covered it frequently at live shows, with a version included on their Garage Inc. compilation. Soundgarden, Van Halen, Megadeth and Iron Maiden would also cover Budgie songs.
Budgie was also known for humorous and vivid song titles like You’re the Greatest Thing Since Milk Powder and In the Grip of a Tyrefitter’s Hand, and equally amazing album covers, with fantastic views by Roger Dean (aka. his sleeves for Yes and others).
The band saw their success wane a bit in the late ’70s when their lineup, which always included Shelley, changed frequently, but they had a second wave of fame in the early’ 80s when the new wave of British heavy metal they helped. to inspire came true.
As we have mentioned in AmericanPost.News, the albums Nightflight and Deliver Us from Evil brought them back to the UK charts and supported Ozzy Osbourne’s debut solo tour of Europe in 1980.
Shelley suffered from a number of health conditions
Their career waned again in the mid-1980s and the band only toured occasionally for the next two decades, but re-formed to record a final album, You’re All Living in Cuckooland, in 2006.
Shelley suffered from a number of health conditions in her later life. In addition to having Stickler syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, an emergency heart operation in 2010 damaged his singing voice and his right leg was injured during surgery.
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