Pete Shelley’s standing as a rock ‘n’ roll great was assured long ago, thanks to a cannon of perfect pop-fuelled punk. But even so, a bit like a musical Doctor Who, he had an uncanny ability to, throughout history, repeatedly find himself at the heart of some of the medium’s most seismic happenings.

Formed in Bolton in north west Manchester in 1976, his band The Buzzcocks were responsible for hosting The Sex Pistols’ appearance at Manchester’s Lesser Trade Free Hall on June 4, 1976. It’s a show regularly cited as the spark that ignited the vastly influential independent music scene in Manchester. Morrissey was there. Mark E Smith too. Future Factory records founders Tony Wilson and Martin Hannet. A nascent version of Joy Division. Mick Hucknall of Simply Red (though then making a punkier racket in The Frantic Elevators). And documenting/mythologizing the whole thing, NME’s Paul Morley. The Buzzcocks had been scheduled to play, but fell apart before the date of the show.

It was after reading a review of the Pistols in NMEthat Shelley and co-founder Howard Devoto (who would leave the band before their first EP was released to form the excellent Magazine) travelled to London to see music’s most infamous group the February prior. Six week’s after the Lesser Trade Free Hall gig, Sex Pistols returned to Manchester and Buzzcocks – their line-up issues fixed – actually managed to play in support.