Paul Hanley Sixteen Again: How Pete Shelley & Buzzcocks Changed Manchester Music (and me)

Route Publishing
1st March 2024

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Format Info

Book - Signed Standard Hardback

Most punk groups were gloriously 1-D – over-exposed polaroids abandoned in a 1976/77 micro-moment. Buzzcocks were different – they were the vanguard of a different type of music that led out of one thing and into another. At their core was a casual genius front-person, Pete Shelley, who connected so many things together while effortlessly writing some of the very best 20th century pop music. Sixteen Again is the book that Buzzcocks deserve, that Pete Shelley deserves. Paul Hanley writes from a first-wave fan’s perspective but with the advantage of time and research evidencing a group and person which was absolutely pivotal to a new Manchester music, and a new city too. I have to say, Buzzcocks were pivotal to Glasgow too – we didn’t have any world-class punk groups so in a way they were our group too – everything that came after them, that was good, was a bit in love with them – Orange Juice, Strawberry Switchblade, The Jesus & Mary Chain. Paul Hanley’s book, like Buzzcocks, like Pete Shelley, is not weighed down in its own importance but is a blizzard of document and colour – how did Pete Shelley meet Howard Devoto; why was Richard Boon so important; why was Martin Rushent a better producer for Buzzcocks than Martin Hannett; how the fuck did Garth end up in the group; how did Malcolm Garrett make sleeves that looked exactly like the music sounded – and of course, what was The Fall / MES line on Buzzcocks. Paul Hanley knows that, he was The Fall’s drummer, one of. What a treasure trove of a book. Essential, totally essential.

SP / 2024


Sixteen Again combines biography, interview, critique and social history to fully explain Buzzcocks’ unique and enduring appeal. It examines why Pete Shelley’s influence was as central to Manchester’s renaissance as it was to Manchester music. The book also explores the unique relationship between a young fan and his favourite group during their most successful phase – and why that intense interdependence can never last forever.

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