Sixteen Again

Author: Paul Hanley

Sixteen Again

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Tags: Signed Copy, Manchester Music

How Pete Shelley & Buzzcocks Changed Manchester Music (and me)

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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Record Collector

Meld a Buzzcocks biogrpahy with social history of the musical and artistic growth of Manchester brought about by punk and you get this hugely readable and bitingly humorous tome.

Jon Savage, Mojo

Excellent oral history of Manchester’s premier punk band. A teenage Buzzcocks fan, Hanley takes the story through to the late-80s reunions and beyond with interviews from all the major players and a sharp eye for punk historiography: his evaluation of sources is excellent, necessary in such a myth-encrusted topic. Hanley approvingly quotes Pete Shelley’s description of punk: ‘an attitude which was born out of ideas’. These ideas enabled Buzzcocks to surround themselves with talented conceptualists like Linder Sterling, Malcolm Garrett and Richard Boon – and in doing so to establish Manchester as a creative cultural environment for the non-privileged. Their unsung achievement was to subvert punk machismo with a softer masculinity: as Shelley states here, ‘Your sexuality is a moveable feast, isn’t it? And so is gender.’


As a former drummer with The Fall, Hanley is well placed to write about one of the most significant Manchester bands. The beauty of Sixteen Again is the way it renders an adult view of Pete Shelley's genius with teenage enthusiasm. The biographical details of Shelley's life are present; so is the purity of Hanley's passion.

David Quantick

A much-needed story of why Pete Shelley is the lasting punk and post-punk talent and how Buzzcocks really are so much, much more than a great singles compilation. My rock book of 2024, already.

Malcolm Garrett

It’s brilliant – warm, affectionate and as disarmingly honest as Pete himself.

Geb Babey, Louder Than War

Great book about a unique artist told by probably one of the best people for the job… by far, the best account of Buzzcocks and their heart, soul and writer of their best-loved songs.

Stephen Pastel, The Pastels

The book that Buzzcocks deserve, that Pete Shelley deserves. What a treasure trove of a book. Essential, totally essential.


Sixteen Again is an ideal read for those looking to gain insight into the early Manchester music scene through many of its major players. As Buzzcocks also happen to be my favourite band, I appreciate Hanley’s equal love for the band and its impact on the punk and post-punk world. I was happy to explore Manchester together with the author through entertaining and interesting conversations and observations, which made me appreciate Buzzcocks even more.

The mix of original tones and the expert commentary make the book extremely easy to read; I more or less devoured it. Great book: idolization where necessary, criticism where appropriate. With a lot of detailed specialist knowledge and always from the perspective of the working class.

Paul Hanley

Paul Hanley is the author of Leave The Capital: A History of Manchester Music in 13 Recordings, Have A Bleedin Guess: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour and Sixteen Again: How Pete Shelley & Buzzcocks Changed Manchester Music (and me).  One half of the famed Hanley Brothers rhythm section, he was the drummer in The Fall from 1980-85 and currently plays with HOUSE Of ALL. Alongside his brother Steve, he hosts the popular podcast series about The Fall, Oh! Brother.

Paul’s blog:

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