Budgie – in concert for BBC Radio 1 – November 11, 1972 – In Concert Series – BBC Radio –
Budgie in concert. Recorded by BBC Radio 1 on November 11, 1972. With the sad news today (again) of the passing of Budgie frontman, founder and bassist extraordinaire Burke Shelley, I was reminded not only how influential the band had been all through the 70s and 80s, cutting across a wide range of bands, but probably one of the most criminally neglected bands in Rock history.
I lay much of the blame on the band’s label, MCA (Universal now) for simply not knowing quite what to do about a band that epitomized the hard-rock (Head-banging) scene in the UK and the rest of Europe in the 1970s.
I ran one of their later concerts a few years ago and made mention of the fact that Budgie, like Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie and a whole host of similar bands around at the time were classified as Hard Rock, Head-Bangers or Sweat Bands – Heavy Metal didn’t exist. And Burke Shelley would be the first to distance himself from the flood of hair and Spandex Heavy Metal bands that flooded the scene in the 1980s. Budgie were straight-forward and honest. They were loud and they played riffs and Burke Shelley had a voice that rivaled Slade’s Noddy Holder for sheer voltage and ear-piercing velocity. They were often compared to Rush as Shelley and Rush’s Geddy Lee bore striking resemblances to each other, physically as well as musically. As well as being Power-trios.
But it’s not to say Budgie were complete unknowns in the U.S. – imports and word-of-mouth from other bands got people interested and curious. And if memory serves, they did do a short U.S. tour and did a gig at The Whiskey early in 1976. They lived up to their reputation.
They have been enormous influences on bands, particularly Metallica who did a cover version of their hit Breadfan in 1987. So their legacy continues. One thing though – Budgie were much better sounding in the studio than they were in a live setting, and it most likely had something to do with who was mixing the soundboard for these live shows. This performance doesn’t capture the full dynamic intensity their studio endeavors do. So, this is one instance I would say; grab the albums and crank those up, but get your feet wet with this concert.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Burke. You rocked with the best of them and you made it all magic.
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