Budgie singer and bassist Burke Shelley, 71 years old
John Burke Shelley, bassist and singer of Welsh heavy metal band Budgie, is believed to have died aged 71.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, John Burke Shelley,” the rocker’s daughter, Ela, posted on Facebook. “He passed away in his sleep tonight at Heath Hospital in Cardiff, his hometown. He was 71 years old. Please respect the family during this time.
Shelley co-founded Budgie in 1967, originally under the name Hills Contemporary Grass. The name change would come the following year as the group struggled to consolidate its lineup and musical style. Budgie released their self-titled debut album in 1971. They released nine more LPs over the next decade, developing a passionate following.
Along the way, Budgie also gained fans among his fellow rockers. The group opened for Ozzy Osbourne during his European dates Ozz Blizzard toured in 1980. Meanwhile, Metallica covered two songs from Budgie: “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” appeared on 1987’s Revisited garage days, and “Breadfan” was the B-side of “Havester of Sorrow” in 1988.
“Thank you, Burke, for all you’ve done for heavy music,” Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich wrote on Instagram, “and a lot of next-level appreciation for co-writing and creating two songs that Metallica has had the honor of recording over the years. “
Shelley was the only musician to appear on every Budgie outing and was instrumental in the band’s distinctive sound. With a high vocal range and excellent bass playing skills, the musician was regularly compared to Rush’s Geddy Lee.
Budgie was largely inactive after 1987, meeting only for occasional shows as its members focused on other activities. In 2006, the group released their last album, You all live in cuckoo country. The group continued to tour until 2010. Setlist.fm states that their last performance was on November 5 of the same year in the Netherlands.
It was around this time that Shelley was diagnosed with a six-centimeter aortic aneurysm, a dangerous and potentially fatal swelling of the main artery that supplies blood to the body. The surgery was successful around this time, but the problem resurfaced in 2020.
“Doctors informed me that I had another critical aneurysm, even higher in the aorta this time,” the bassist told Wales Online, before revealing that he had refused further surgery. “They said they really needed it to operate on her right away, but I told them no.
Shelley’s decision arose out of concern that the proceedings would leave him in a wheelchair. “[I] I want to live the life I have left and not be paralyzed, ”he said. decides to take me and, in the meantime, I will continue to do what I want to do. It’s that simple.”
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