Burke Shelley of Budgie

Burke Shelley (Budgie) has died at 71

John Burke Shelley – best known as the former lead vocalist and bassist of Welsh hard rock and heavy metal band Budgie – has sadly passed away at the age of 71. Shelley, who suffered from Stickler syndrome, and on two occasions had an aortic aneurysm, died in his sleep at the Heath Hospital on January 10th, 2022.

Burke’s daughter Ela broke the heartbreaking news on social media on Monday (January 10th), she wrote: “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.

Born in Tiger Bay (now known as Cardiff Bay) in Cardiff, Wales, Shelley formed Budgie in 1967 under the name Hills Contemporary Grass, but following a slew of shows in 1968, the band changed their name to Budgie and continued to record their first demo. Budgie’s original recording lineup was rounded out by guitarist/vocalist Tony Bourge, and drummer Ray Phillips. With Shelley being the only constant member, the band were active from 1967–1987, 1995–1996 and 1999–2010, and recorded 11 studio albums, with their last being 2006’s ‘You’re All Living in Cuckooland.’ The band’s final lineup in 2010 consisted of Shelley on vocals and bass, Craig Goldy on guitars, and Steve Williams on drums, percussions and backing vocals.

Following the news of Shelley’s death, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich reached out via social media to pay his respects, “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’.” Shelley and his work with Budgie not only influenced Metallica, but also the likes of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Van Halen, Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and many more.

RIP, Shelley. See a few more tributes below.


















References > Budgie, Burke Shelley
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