R.I.P. Dead or Alive’s Pete Burns: “You Spin Me Round” singer was, in his own words, a “freak unique”

By on October 24, 2016

We’ve just learned that 80s dance pop icon Pete Burns of Dead or Alive has died, age 57, from a heart attack.

The enigmatic singer — seen in this “Night Flight”Take Off to Androgyny,” which originally aired on April 13, 1984, singing “I’d Do Anything” — had a #1 hit in 1985 with “You Spin Me Round,” and later had a solo career and made occasional appearances on UK television programs.

Watch the “Take Off to Androgyny” episode now on Night Flight Plus.

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Burns later rose to further celebrity status in the British media following his appearance on “Celebrity Big Brother 2006,” also known as “Celebrity Big Brother 4,” in which he finished in fifth place.

He appeared on further television reality shows, including some presenting work, appearing on “Big Brothers Big Mouth” for a week in August 2007.

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Here’s more from the Guardian UK’s website today:

“Singer Pete Burns, who founded pop group Dead Or Alive, has died aged 57 after a cardiac arrest.

Burns rose to fame in the 1980s with the band’s hit song “You Spin Me Round.” He also appeared on “Big Brother” in 2006, coming fifth in the final.

A joint statement released by his partner, Michael Simpson, his ex-wife, Lynn, and his manager, Steve Coy, read:

“All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star. He was a true visionary, a beautiful, talented soul and will be missed by all those who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories he has left us with.”

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Born in Cheshire, Burns became famous for his androgynous style. He admitted to having more than 300 cosmetic operations, mainly on his face, and in 2006 almost died on the table during surgery on his nose.

He married Lynn, a hairdresser, in 1978 but the pair separated in 2006 and Burns married Simpson soon after.

His solo career never reached the mainstream success of Dead Or Alive. His last single, “Never Marry An Icon,” was released in 2010.

Burns — born Peter Jozzeppi Burns on August 5, 1959, in Bebington, Wirral, England (sources actually differ on this) — wrote about his troubled childhood (which included his mother’s alcoholism and attempts at suicide) in his autobiography, Freak Unique: My Autobiography, published in 2006.

Burns’ music career began as he worked in a record shop called Probe Records in Liverpool, which became a meeting-place for local musicians.

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Burns first performed as a member of the short-lived Mystery Girls, and then Nightmares in Wax, a proto-Goth group that formed in Liverpool in 1979.

Nightmares in Wax released a 12″ single, “Black Leather”, and a 7″ single, “Birth of a Nation”, each containing the same three songs, but never produced an album.

In 1980, after replacing several members, Burns changed their name to Dead or Alive.

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The band had a minor hit in 1984 with a cover version of “That’s the Way (I Like It)”, the band had a number one hit in 1985 with “You Spin Me Round,” going on to becoming an international hit, including making the US Top 20.

R.I.P. Pete Burns.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.