Burke Shelley


January 23, 2022

John Burke Shelley (born April 10, 1950 in Cardiff, died January 10, 2022 therein) - Welsh rock musician, bassist and vocalist of the band Budgie.

Curriculum vitae

Youthful years

He was born on April 10, 1950 in Cardiff, Wales. As his mother claims, Shelley's family has Polish roots. Their family lived in Szczecin. He attended the Cefn Oun Junior School in nearby Llauishen. Then Cathays Boys High School. Since childhood, he had problems with his eyesight, just like his father, which meant that throughout his youth and middle age he had to wear large prescription glasses with thick lenses. Later, they became the hallmark of Burke's future band - Budgie. In 1964 he started playing guitar and writing songs with his friends. His idols are The Beatles and Love Sculpture. In Cardiff, 1967, Burke began to perform with his band, in the first months under the name Budgie Droppings ("Beans Parrots"), shortened soon at the request of the priest, who made it possible for young musicians to rehearse in the parish common room. Apparently, the band's name was taken from a television series. This story, however, was denied by Burke Shelley himself in an interview for the Tylko Rock magazine in 2004. Reportedly, the group was originally called Six Ton Budgie.

Music activity

At the end of 1967, he founded the band Budgie. He once said that Budgie would last as long as he could hold the guitar in his hands or stand on stage. Burke's voice was compared to that of Rush's Geddy Lee, though Shelley sang harder. In the early 1970s, Burke was a follower of Buddhism - he cooked special healthy food and traveled around Asia in search of himself, but eventually returned to the Christian faith. Initially, he was heavily influenced by the hippie revolution, which can be seen in acoustic Budgie recordings, but with time his playing in the band became heavier, and his style was closer to that of heavy metal. His repertoire also includes sentimental blues compositions. At the beginning of the 1980s, he enriched the group's sound with pop, funk and even soft rock elements. At that time, his songs began to carry Christian content with them. In 1988 he founded the Superclarkes group. They perform frequently at the Royal Oak club in Cardiff which has become their home club. Titch Gwilym played the guitar, Dave Watkins played the drums. At Loco Studios in Cardiff, they recorded an EP that was released on the market. On November 10, 2010, he was to play a concert in Poland with the band Budgie, and then perform in the Czech Republic. However, the tour was canceled because a doctor diagnosed him with an aneurysm. The Welshman underwent an operation at night in a specialist hospital in Wejherowo. The musician, however, quickly recovered, for which - on the pages of his website - he thanked his fans and God ("thanks to God the Father and Jesus Christ my savior and the Holy Spirit"). He died on January 10, 2022, at the age of 71, at Heath Hospital in Cardiff.

Musical legacy

Budgie was not a band known all over the world, but it has many fans among Poles and Americans. Every year, their tours called "Poland Tour" were held, where the greatest rock fans of the 1960s hosted. In the 1980s, it became one of the most important precursors of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Although throughout its existence it has not gained much popularity outside the British Isles and Poland, it is considered by critics as one of the most influential groups in the history of heavy music, compared in this respect to such bands as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. The band went through a lot of hard times, including the fall of the line-up in the late 1980s. However, they reactivated in 1999 and continue to play. Music critics of lo

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