Sunday, October 30, 2016

PETE BURNS (1959 - 2016)

I had been out of the country for the last couple of weeks and was saddened to learn on my return the passing of Pete Burns, the outrageous lead vocalist of the dance-pop group, Dead or Alive, at the age of fifty-seven from sudden cardiac arrest on October 23rd.

The appearance of the British singer had been heavily altered since the days of the group's worldwide smash, "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" back in 1985. He began with a simple nose procedure before claiming to have had about three hundred cosmetic surgeries which gave him a more feminine look with over-sized lips and a sculpted face. There were several major complications and Burns wound up spending his life savings on many reconstructive surgeries, particularly on his lips.

Since he was a child, Burns always had a unique and theatrical nature. He dropped out of school at fourteen after being called to the headmaster's office for arriving with flaming red hair, no eyebrows and an earring.

Burns went on to work at a Liverpool record store and was not exactly a model employee as he gave customers a hard time if he didn't like their selections. During this period, he met some musicians and joined several early goth bands before forming what would become Dead or Alive in 1980. By the time of their 1984 debut album, "Sophisticated Boom Boom", the group had evolved in to a synthpop outfit. The first single, a cover of KC & the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)", became a minor success in Britain.

After their first hit, Dead or Alive had several other songs reach the charts throughout the rest of the '80's like "Lover Come Back To Me", "My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor)", "Something In My House" and "Brand New Lover".

With the '90's and '00's, Dead or Alive had a sporadic musical output and what was released failed to find much of an audience. Burns later turned to reality television to make ends meet and appeared on the UK versions of "Celebrity Big Brother" and "Celebrity Wife Swap". He is survived by an ex-wife, Lynne Corlett and a husband, Michael Simpson.

To honor this dynamic musical personality, here are a few videos featuring my favorites songs that spotlighted Pete Burns and his time with Dead or Alive:


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