Burke Shelley

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Burke Shelley
Burke Shelley.JPG
Background information
Birth name John Burke Shelley
Born (1947-04-10) 10 April 1947 (age 69)
Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Bass, vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Years active 1967–present
Associated acts Budgie
Notable instruments
Fender Precision Bass

Burke Shelley (born John Burke Shelley, 10 April 1947) is a British bass guitarist and vocalist of the Welsh rock group Budgie.

Early life[edit]

Shelley was born in Tiger Bay, (now known as Cardiff Bay) Cardiff. In 1982, Shelley was reported to be a born-again Christian.[1]

Music career[edit]

Shelley is often compared to Rush bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee,[2] as they both share the position of bassist/vocalist in power trio bands, both have high pitched distinctive voices, and during the mid to late 1970s they bore a striking resemblance to one other, with long straight hair and huge glasses. Like Lee, Shelley possessed a high tenor vocal range.[3]

Shelley's singing voice on earlier Budgie recordings (e.g. the song "Parents" on the 1973 album Never Turn Your Back on a Friend) sometimes bears a marked resemblance, in timbre and style, to that of Shirley Bassey,[citation needed] who also grew up in Tiger Bay. He has said that the resemblance was deliberate since he admires Bassey's work. In recent years, notably on Budgie's 2006 album, You're All Living In Cuckooland, Shelley's voice has become much deeper.[citation needed]

Budgie's November 2010 tour of Eastern Europe had to be cancelled as Shelley was hospitalised on 9 November in Wejherowo, Poland, with a 6 cm aortic aneurysm. After surgery, he returned to Britain for recovery, but no decision about the future of the band has been made.[4] Shelley has said that following the operation he finds it hard to simultaneously sing and play bass guitar for long periods. Nevertheless, he continues to play bass (with occasional backing vocal duties) in rock and pop covers bands based in South Wales.


  1. ^ Allmusic.com
  2. ^ "Biography of Budgie". Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Burke Shelley". Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  4. ^ Shelley, Burke. "Latest update 20 November". Budgie.uk. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.